I’m A Selfish Mom(abetic)…

… because I have to be.

My goddaughter’s mother once mentioned to me in passing that, “With kids, you can never think about you first. You know, if you are hungry when you get home, first you have to feed them and make sure they are taken care of. You have to come second.”

Now, the logical side of my brain knew that I was talking to a very healthy woman with a normal pancreas, one who COULD wait to eat without fear of passing out. But the emotional side of my brain, my heart to be exact, cried.

I WANT to be the selfless mom. I want to ALWAYS put Lily first. I want to get her food first, to engage in activities the minute we walk in the door regardless of my blood sugar level when I am lucky enough to be home with her from work, to spend the entire day outside never thinking about mealtimes and just following our stomachs, and to jump in the pool on a whim without disentangling an insulin pump first while she cries that the other kids are already in the water. But it’s not possible. For any of the above to happen, my body would have to take the responsibility of managing my insulin, and that is not going to happen.

My husband always, always, always jumps in when it’s my turn to take care of our child but a low or high blood sugar or equipment malfunction rears it’s nasty head. And I love him all the more for that, for being the perfect, supportive partner. But I still wish that I didn’t need the rescuing. I want to be the selfless mom, the one who doesn’t need the unplanned help.

I know what I have to do, I know what makes the most, logical sense: I should make the most of the moments I can enjoy (like the messy baking session in the photo above), and count my blessings that the times I need to focus on me when I was planning to focus on her are fewer than the times that things go as planned. This also gives me motivation to be a good diabetic–I know that if I work with my doctors to stay in the best control possible, I can be the mom I want to be more of the time than not. And I can be around a lot longer to support my daughter in all the ways she will need me as she grows.

And you know what, I think I have to deal with the fact that to make all of this happen, sometimes I HAVE to be selfish. I have to stop playing with playdough to test my blood sugar, and I have to leave the water park because my infusion set gets dislodged, and I sometimes have to guzzle a juice box (or two) as my screaming toddler demands one herself and I didn’t bring enough for both of us.

I hope, from the emotional side of my brain, and my heart to be exact, that when she is older she will appreciate that I was selfish and she will understand that because of this she still has me, a healthy me, with her to guide her through life.

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To One Touch, or To Contour?

I have faithfully used a One Touch meter my entire diabetic life (25 years to be exact). I started with the clunky one in the picture above, which I’ve kept the way other people might keep cassette players–valuing their sentiment and nostalgia, never really expecting to ever use it again. This first meter of mine has the hard plastic case the size of two cell phones and test stips the size of a finger, and I had waited a grueling 25 whole seconds for each test result. I carried around an entire backpack for my diabetes supplies as a 10 year old, and no wonder: this meter itself would take up at least a quarter of it.

As years went by, my One Touch meters wore out and I purchased or was given the latest model; always smaller, always shinier, always faster. It wasn’t until I had an issue last month with my insurance company that I ever even thought about using a different meter brand. Insurance had  “forgotten” to tell me that I now had a limit on my allotted strips, unless I had the proper paperwork submitted from my doctor. Of course, this paperwork took the insurance company approximately two weeks to process, two weeks I didn’t have in actual strips.

So, what could I do? Well, first, PANIC. Then, think more logically. I grabbed the free Contour meter (with free contour strips) which had come as a bonus to my most recent pump upgrade.

And I loved it. It gave me the option to record whether I was testing before or after a meal, to add notes, and to charge it every night instead of worrying whether the crazy small, rare, and expensive replacement watch batteries in my purse would still work if my meter needed changing.

But this was hard. CHANGE is hard. It felt weird to use a different meter and TRUST it after 25 years of the same meter, the same way it had felt wrong and unnatural to rely on an insulin pump when I switched after 10 years of injections. I think only a diabetic can understand this. My meter, my pump…they are more than equipment. They are loyal friends who have SAVED me, many, many, many times.

So, I couldn’t just get rid of an old friend. Instead, I retired him. I have him sitting safely in my closet in case I need a backup. But, for now, he is resting, while his newer, more technologically savvy replacement takes care of me for at least a little while.