Monday, April 12, 2010

Children With Diabetes Worry When You Worry

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” Ambrose Redmoon

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it

Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

FYI: It's both "ironical" and telling that my friend Bennett (and parent D blogger over at YDMV) wrote about the same article and subject matter today- and much more articulate than my attempt. Checkout what he has to say HERE.

There was an article in my Google Alerts last night with the title: Children's Diabetes Control Poorer When Parents Worry," based on a Norwegian diabetes study. It hit home and I tweeted a link to it. As a grown up (though some would argue that fact) former child with diabetes, I agree. Stress- whether it's our own or others, can cause numbers to go crazy.

Children with diabetes hear the fear in their parents voice and see it in their parents eyes when their numbers head north or south. Knowing that our disease hurts our parents is something we carry with us into adulthood. Trust me on that- I know from which I speak.

As children we mimic our parents behaviors- both good and bad and carry those behaviors (and fears) into our adult life.

For years I felt the guilty for being diabetic child number 3, child number 6. I watched my parents reactions regarding high and low blood sugars, I saw how they stressed about our health and would hold their breath at Dr's appointments. I started to fib about my numbers in the 6th grade, because I was worried about my parents- not my numbers. I wanted to be the good and perfect and stress free child to my harried parents. Looking back, I think the worry absolutely affected my numbers.

I understand parents fears - even though I'm not a parent. Your children are your world and to see them suffer in anyway is heart wrenching. And your children (especially children with diabetes) are highly intuitive and not only want to please, but want to alleviate your suffering as well.
As a child, I had no idea what my parents went through, but as an adult who has the benefit of the DOC, I have a much better understanding and am incredibly grateful to my parents.
They past along some fears, but past on to me so many strengths.

As an adult with many strengths, I still have to talk myself down from the fear that a "challenging" number, or series of numbers for that matter. Because like parents of children with diabetes, people with diabetes worry too.

If you can find a way to get all "Robert Lewis Stevenson" (see above quote) on your fears- your children will follow your lead.

I havea few mantras regarding diabetes & blood sugars, and some contain a few four letter words including one that rhymes quite nicely with truck.

A couple that really help me and aren't terribly salty in nature:

One number at a time.
Just like shit (or poop for the kiddies), blood sugars happen.

And.....Diabetes happens.


Meri said...

I am so with you on this one Kelly! I often get comments on how laid back I am, (by those who don't really know me anyway :) and the reason is...if I'm not laid back about it all, I would be a hot mess. The only detriment is when I speak to new teachers..."Yes, I am laid back and calm about the whole diabetes thing...but listen up...what I am telling you is important! If I let it all get to me, I'd be in a nice mental institution about 20 miles away in Napa."

But being a mom, I also wonder if I'm not worried enough. I have my moments. It is all balance. But calm in scary situations, like a bad low is so important. Great post!

Penny said...

Wonderful post Kelly. I so appreciate your point of view and your thoughts. It helps me to understand G and what she goes through. I try very hard to be laid back and not worried about the 'numbers game.' It's hard sometimes. I tell myself 'It's only a number and it just tells me what we need to do.' I try to tell that to G too, so she realizes the number is just a basis for knowing what to do next.

Thank you for always sharing what it was like as a child with T1 and what impact your parents had on you and your care. They raised a wonderful daughter :0)

Cara said...

I still try to protect my parents from my diabetes. I hate to let my parents see me in a weak moment (from a low or high blood sugar) because I know they worry. I even contemplated not telling my mom about my last eye appointment because I know how much she worries about me. :(
And, yes, that can totally change you blood sugars. Plus, when your a kid, I think a lot of parents gauge how well they are parenting by how well their child's a1c or blood sugar is. And that's not fair to the parents or the kids.

connie said...

Thank you so much for writing about this Kelly! I have two young daughters who are 2 years old and 4 years old...they both have type 1 diabetes and I am always worried about what kind of fears or emotions that I may be projecting on them. I try REALLY hard not to show my fear or frustration when I see a number that scares me, I know in the beginning I didn't do the greatest job at it but I am learning.

My girls where diagnosed 11 months apart and it was devestating to me, I love to read your blog because I feel like I am getting a glimpse of what their life is like, I will never know what diabetes is like for them. I need to hear the good stories once in awhile, I also need to hear the bad, I think it helps me to be a better parent to my girls because I have alittle more perspective on what it is like to live WITH diabetes...the good and the bad parts.

Thank you for sharing that with us parents.