Diabetes Dad

A Marathon, Not a Sprint

No matter how long you've been at it, diabetes is difficult.

Tom picBy Tom Karlya

September 2010 — I spend a great deal of time (usually at night) in the online community. It is an incredible way to reach out and touch others both from present and past. I have noticed something lately which I need to address. I have noticed many, and I do mean MANY, parents beating themselves up because of the constant battle in trying to balance highs and lows pertaining to blood glucose numbers in their children's lives.

I also read many, many bloggers (go to diabetesadvocates.com to find just a few of the many) who have lived with diabetes for some time. Guess what? They get just as frustrated (and more) as us parents. My point? A bad ("bad" meaning "anything that does not make you happy") reading does not a life make.

Listen to me; and listen carefully. This is a marathon; not a sprint!

We try and try and try, but there will be times that BGs are spiraling out of control for no logical reason. The good news is that there always is a logical reason. The bad news is that we won't always know what that logical reason is. Illogical, isn't it?

If weeks and weeks of extreme highs over 300 and extreme lows below 45 or so creep into your lives, begin the process of figuring it all out. Ask a million questions; ask your health team; ask your sales rep; ask your diabetes educator, Ask those you trust; ask those who may be going through it or have gone through it. Put it all on paper and analyze it. Work it through. There is no magical answer. And sometimes the answer doesn'tt come as fast as we want.

I'm not trying to inform you how to resolve your child's nasty BG swings but rather to tell you that this ‘diabetes thing' is a process. Diabetes is an ongoing process of adjustments, frustration, and throwing our hands up saying "I give up." Beating yourself up--or your child--will not fix the problem.

There is a woman I've known for years. She is someone you meet and you really want to walk, maybe even run, the other way because every time you are face-to-face you will hear nothing but the problems she is having with her child's diabetes. We all need support, but this one will gripe the skin off a grape.

Since I have known her she has griped and complained in front of everyone and to anyone who will listen. We all deal with problems and to be quite honest, the last thing I need to hear is her. Recently I was together with she and her child (now an older teen) and other families and….well, guess what? The child turned into her mom. Whining and negative and saying how much it all sucks; on and on and on. Surprised? I'm not.

EVERYBODY needs to lean on somebody every now and again and that's not what I am talking about. In the ‘the diabetes circle' we all live with it day in and day out. And so do our children. Thomas Merton wrote, "The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them." Would we really love it if our children became who we have become dealing with diabetes? Time to check the mirror. Think about it.

And one final comment. I recently asked a group of kids If they would mind if I posted pictures of them in the hospital for the world to see. One sharp-witted kid said, "I'd be okay with that if next time you are in for a hernia operation you'd let me post a picture of you." Out of the mouth of babes. I'm a Diabetes Dad.

Read more of Tom Karlya's Diabetes Dad columns here.

Like Tom's Facebook page.


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.

Last Modified Date: July 02, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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