Mom Wants A Diabetes Cure

Thursday, April 13, 2006


After I came home from dropping off Brendon at school today, I began to prepare peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Jacob's and Jessica's lunches.

I fetched the bread, the jelly, the peanut butter, and the scale. I placed a slice of bread on the scale and proceeded to weigh out the peanut butter.

And that's when I caught myself. "What am I doing?", I thought. And that's when sadness set in. I couldn't quite place why I felt such sadness, and I still can't.

Maybe it's because caring for Brendon and his diabetes has become a part of me. So ingrained and so reflexive. Perhaps I need to take such close care of him. It's so much more than feeding him; bathing him; encouraging him to succeed at whatever he sets his mind to; helping him with homework; or a difficult puzzle. It's so much more than simply being his mom.

What am I to do with myself when he moves out and is on his own? Who will I take care of with the depth that I do him?

I always felt that my purpose in his diabetes management was to do just that...manage his diabetes. I make sure his numbers don't run too high, or too low. I check him at each meal. I experiment with insulin delivery to see what the best possible results will be after a difficult meal like pizza. I weigh and measure the food he eats and add up the carbs so that I know the amount of insulin to give him.

I check him before activities, during activities, and after. Then I treat him according to the results shown on the meter.

I check him at night and set his basal so that he won't run too high or too low while he sleeps. Then I check again in the middle of the night to make sure what I did has the desired effect.

I would think I'd be relieved that I didn't have to pay close attention to Jacob's and Jessica's portion sizes to determine the carb count. I would think that simply smearing peanut butter and jelly on some bread without giving a second thought to anything else would be liberating.

It isn't liberating at all. In fact, I'm feeling a little bit lost.

Brendon will be home soon, and I'll go back to what I do several times a day, every single day, all day and night.


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    By Blogger sara, at 4/13/2006 3:30 PM  

  • loving and letting go. Loving and passing it on. Loving your children and yourself.

    By Blogger Tongue in Cheek Antiques, at 4/13/2006 5:11 PM  

  • I'm facing the letting go on a daily basis. My son was 15 months old at dx. Now he's 18 years old. I appreciate that he has transitioned so well and is taking on the responsibility and dealing beautifully with the diabetes. I'm also honestly relieved that I no longer weigh and measure food. He eyeballs it and does a good job with that took time. Feel good about what you do, and feel good about the changes that take place as you transition the care to him over time. It should be a gentle process.

    By Blogger Ellen, at 4/13/2006 6:22 PM  

  • Hi Shannon,

    This is a very good post, and brings up some very interesting emotions that I never really thought about from the parents perspective.

    I think that as he grows up, your jobs will shift from being "task oriented" (weighing & measuring, checking, etc) to more teaching and letting the line out. Where you teach him what to do and let him try it bit by bit.

    I'm not sure how exactly you prepare for something like that - but it's inevitable. He will grow up whether you are ready for it or not.

    So your part in it is coping with that change of responsibility, and helping him learn as much as he can about it (as he's ready).

    And for now, and however long you've got left, you can take comfort in doing all the little task based things.

    Then you can pick up knitting or something. :-p

    By Blogger Scott K. Johnson, at 4/13/2006 6:38 PM  

  • Shannon.....I am not your physician, but I will advise you based on having T1DM since I was six. Diabetes does not and SHOULD NOT become an obsession. It is in reality all "common sense". It is my feeling, that food does not have to be weighed as sugessted by the Joplin people 50 years ago and more. Everything is in proportions and amounts. I feel that for your son's sake and yours, getting hold of a "good" Certified Diabetes Educator who is also an R.N. and who has common sense is the way to go. The results will show up in a positive way for you and your son both physically and emotionally. I am giving you great advice. The rest is up to you and your son. You can still count carbs....not difficult to do.

    By Blogger BetterCell, at 4/13/2006 6:49 PM  

  • Ellen and Scott,

    We let Brendon test and dose himself under our supervision, and of course only when he wants to. I guess I'm just so steeped in this that I was left hanging when I went to do something that I didn't need to do at that time. I just had a "moment", that's all :) And I think I'll pass on the knitting thank you very much LOL.

    Barry, thanks for the advice. I don't mind the measuring and weighing. It really isn't much of a burden, but it's nice to have a break from the process every once in a while. Like I said above to Ellen and Scott, I was just left hanging when I started the lunch making process....I don't know how else to explain it :) And Brendon gets great care at Children's in Boston. They don't make us do more than what we're willing to take on's really my choice to manage his diabetes the way I do :)

    By Blogger Shannon, at 4/13/2006 8:00 PM  

  • Shannon,

    My mom measured and weighed my food from the moment I was diagnosed (and I'm sure when we meet for dinner, she is tempted to do it then, too). She taught me that my life will be completely normal, as long as I test and shoot and am careful with my food choices. As you said, "so ingrained and so reflexive." It's just what you do.

    When he moves out on his own, he will be strong and capable. Educated and determined. He'll be Brendon (aka Superman) and he'll be ready to take on anything.

    It will be up to you to let him go.

    I've emailed your post to my mom. I'm sure she will identify completely with it, as she talked about the "letting go" process when she hijacked my blog a few months ago.

    Thank you for posting this. It's given me a lot to think about.

    -- Kerri.

    By Blogger Kerri., at 4/13/2006 8:48 PM  

  • Shannon,

    What Kerri said is right on. I can't say it any better or add anything.

    I'm sorry that you're sad today. I know that what you're doing with Brendan so reflexively will give him wisdom and strength and everything he needs to do what is right in his adult years.

    Sending you my best, most comforting thoughts.


    By Blogger Nicole P, at 4/13/2006 9:16 PM  

  • Shannon,
    Reading your posts and the comments brought tears to my eyes. Riley will start school next year (2007) and I feel like I'm having a panic attack just thinking about it. It's like you said, no one will take care of him like I do and when he starts school he won't really be able to do it himself.
    I also worry about him going off to college. I try not to, but the worry is still there. I just try telling myself to stop worrying about the future, because hopefully there will be a cure, and he won't have D anymore when he goes off to college. And, if he does still have D then, I'll deal with it then.
    Big hugs are being sent your way. I know what you're feeling. Sometimes we have these "moments" and we don't know why. You're doing a good job taking care of your son.

    By Blogger Penny, at 4/14/2006 8:26 AM  

  • Kerri, Nicole and Penny, thank you so much for your comments :)

    I think I had a touch of "empty nest syndrome", or something.

    Posting about things that bother me and reading all of your comments always makes me feel better.

    So today, I'm feeling good :)

    By Blogger Shannon, at 4/14/2006 8:43 AM  

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