By: Katherine Marple
I’ve been type 1 diabetic for 15 years. It hasn’t been easy and I’m still grasping to keep my feet on the ground medically. Every time I think I’ve got this disease figured out, something new gets thrown at me and I stumble over and over again. From insulin resistance to pump failures to carbohydrate/insulin sensitivity changes to exercise regimens to health insurance issues to medical bill payments to a seemingly innocent cut on the sole of my foot, etc., I’m getting worn out.
My first daughter is nearly two years old. She is a bundle of energy whom I’m hoping to continue to nurture as intelligent, creative and kind. My second daughter is five months already and is sweet, strong, and very demanding. I’m running a household on one major income, while finding time to write books and grow as a young woman myself, in addition to balancing this ever changing diabetes demand.
My health suffered during both pregnancies to the point of developing severe pre-eclampsia and polyhydramnios, and needing emergency C-sections because we were in danger of losing everything. My blood pressure is still trying to rebound from the last pregnancy and I’m struggling to find a balance in exercising and caring for my family.
But, I’m faltering.
Some days, everything falls into place nicely and I feel I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. The kids are happy and healthy, my husband is strong and supportive, and life is exactly as it should be. That is until I do a glucose test and realize that I’ve forgotten to take a shot in all the chaos, or that my sensitivities have adjusted slightly and I’m needing to do corrections in either direction.
The still fading pregnancy hormones, healing from major surgeries, and even stress affect my glucose levels. It’s like controlling a constantly rolling ball down a steep mountain. If I focus on my health first, then my relationship with my kids suffer as they have to take a back seat, which I hate to do to them. But, if I don’t put my health first, then my ability to be their mother suffers and I’m putting at risk our future together.
I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do for my health: counting carbs, measuring insulin, tracking glucose readings, adjusting dosages, exercising regularly, managing my weight, monitoring and soothing my extremities, taking time to decompress, and trying to stay emotionally fit. But even though I’m doing all of these things, my A1c is climbing. Am I ever doing enough?
Some days, I feel as though every responsibility and dream I hold in the air is raining down on me. I find myself reaching for the calm surface or just treading water until the storms pass. I’m exhausted by all the juggling. Diabetes has always been a back-burner worry that sits and stares me down. But, even though things haven’t dramatically changed medically, becoming a mother has made my health concerns all that more real. I want to be there for every part of their lives, but I’m struggling just to get from day to day.
I knew being a mother of two children under the age of two was going to be challenging. But, I neglected to take into account how difficult it was going to be to manage my rebellious adolescent disease at the same time. I become anxious and feel guilty every time my glucose isn’t in range. Every time my blood reads high, I’m not only taking immediate time from my kids, but I’m also tearing apart pieces of their future with me.
I want to be the best that I can be. I’m fighting to keep everything I’ve risked my life for. I’m begging my body to hold on and to submit to my willpower. I’m asking my guilty conscience to give me a little slack while I adjust to this new groove of my life. I’m pleading with the medical community to find me some solace and to cure this disease once and for all.
We deserve to have mere chance take us when it’s time. I’m doing the best that I can do. I know that’s all I can really ask of myself. I will forever keep trying to be better.