Living with a chronic illness is exhausting to say the least. There are days you are full of energy and feel like you could run a marathon and then there are others where you are ready to go back to bed before you even wake up to start your day.
I know others mean well when they try to empathize with your situation and your life. But unfortunately, unless you live the life of having a chronic illness like diabetes day in and day out, you really, truly have absolutely NO idea what it is like. And guess what, that’s okay. Because at the end of the day I don’t want you to know what it’s like, what we want is someone to just be there to be our friend, family member or just that kind listening ear.
An Impossible Mountain to Climb
Each day when you wake up, what is the first thought that pops into your head? Maybe it’s what should I make for breakfast this morning? Or what should I wear today? Do you want to know what the first thin to pop into my head when I open my eyes in the morning? “I hope my kids are still alive” …. Try waking up each and every day wondering if your children made it through the night.
I feel like sometimes me going to be is a game of chance, I’m not really sure what I am going to wake up to. There are times I tip toe into my children’s room and stand in the doorway to first make sure they are breathing. If I am having a particularly hard time making them up that morning, my heart drops just a little bit because part of me wonders what is going on.
Each day, we start with a list of things that must be completed before we leave the house and start our day. Of course this list is something that isn’t necessarily written down because we have it memorized, it’s our life now you see. The kids need their blood sugar tested, insulin must be given with their breakfast, and we have to make sure each of them have the supplies they need for school. Of course there are the other necessary steps like getting dressed, brushing your hair and teeth that must be completed as well. It always seems like an impossible mountain to climb, but somehow each and every day we get it done, and everyone is ready to go off to school.
Be Still My Heart
It’s difficult for all parents at some point or another to drop their kids off at school and leave them for the entire day. But try dropping your child, who has a chronic illness, that must be monitored frequently, because if they go too high or too low, unfortunate things can occur, off at school for the ENTIRE day. It’s a tough adjustment. I’m not going to lie; it takes some getting used to.
When it’s gym day, you tend to worry a bit more because you don’t know if they will drop low because of the increased activity, or if playing outside at recess will cause them to go low. It takes a lot to trust someone with your child, all parents know this to be true. But to trust someone with your child that requires a bit more attention than others, takes even more.
The Silence of the Night
Bedtime is always a wonderful time for parents, because it’s that brief period where their children all look like sleeping angels and for the first time all day it’s quiet. But bedtime for a parent of child with diabetes is a bit different. Yes, we enjoy the silence from time to time, but that same silence can cause anxiety and unneeded stress for us as well. Because when we put our children down to sleep at night, we do not know if we will see them again, awake in the morning. Night time is always the toughest time for parents of children with diabetes. We cannot monitor their blood sugar all night long. And we are not awake to recognize any signs that they may be experiencing a high or low blood sugar.
While we know we need to take care of ourselves and get sleep, sometimes we feel guilty for doing so. There have been many times when I have woken up in a panic because I did not hear my alarm that I set to test my son or daughter. I rushed to their room with fear that something had happened in my absence, especially if they were high or low previously. That panic, the feeling of your heart racing from fear is not something I would want to see my worst enemy experience.
We Still Soldier On
The reason I explain the parts of parenting a child or children with diabetes like this is to show you exactly what it feels like to live with a child with a chronic illness like diabetes. This article was written to expose the raw, honest, truth.
This all may seem overwhelming, sad, and unfortunate but we do not let diabetes dictate how we live our lives, yes these things and experiences above happen more than we’d like them to, but we still manage somehow to gather up our strength and soldier on to fight the battle another day.