Fear and Lows in Leesburg, VA
The challenge of managing diabetes and motherhood
By Deanna Glick
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
November 2006 — So here I am changing my insulin pump cartridge, testing my blood sugar, eating lunch and writing this column while listening to the low buzz of the baby monitor on my desk. This comes after having ordered a fresh shipment of pump supplies, changing my 16-month-old daughter's diaper and tip-toeing down the squeaky hardwood floor of the hall hoping she snoozes for at least an hour. Such is the life of a mom with diabetes. Multi-tasking times ten. The naps seem to be even more precious when you can't forgo taking care of yourself while taking on parenthood.
But the physical juggling act is not the most daunting part of balancing parenthood and the chronic illness I've been managing since I was a junior in college. It's the fear and questions that have drifted in and out of the corners of my mind since before my baby was conceived. What if there are complications during pregnancy? What if my blood sugar drops to a level that renders me unconscious while I'm alone with my child? What about when she's older and the fear and apprehension she might feel as a result of my illness? Is it even fair to have a child who will undoubtedly worry about my welfare when she's old enough to understand what it means to have diabetes and what is required to live with the disease?
Obviously, I decided that I was capable of being a mother despite diabetes. And I have enough confidence to know that my daughter will do just fine despite any worry she might have about me. I've also lived long enough with the disease to know the good things that come of it: knowledge, compassion, patience. Maybe my daughter's experience having a mother with diabetes will mean good things for her as well.
Right now, she's not really seeing it that way. She's too young to understand why mommy was not sharing her favorite cereal bar with her the yesterday at the pool. Onlookers must have thought I was a cruel pig of a mother as I chomped away while she wailed and reached for me from her stroller. But what's a mommy to do when her blood sugar is 45?
Today, I chuckle at the experience. After all, many moms have told me the most important qualification for the job is a sense of humor. I suppose mine has become a bit healthier with each of my diabetic debacles.
But managing diabetes is no joke. And though it's more important now than ever if I want to live to see my little girl reach adulthood, my control isn't as good as it used to be. But instead of beating myself up, I'm just taking diabetes management a day at a time right now, trying to forgive my mistakes and take steps to improve. Come to think of it, I'm taking the same approach with motherhood.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...