Juggling More Than Three Pins

Katherine Marple

| May 29, 2013

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.

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Categories: Carbs, Diabetes, Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Magazine, Diabetic, Glucose, Insulin, Parenting, Type 1 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 30 May 2013

Yes indeed, that is a mantra for those with Type 1 diabetes.... "I'm doing the best I can and forever trying to do better!!" That is all you can do, Katherine. I remember reading a parenting book where it said that "Perfect parents are those who have never had kids of their own but they know exactly what you are doing wrong in raising your children" and likewise, I think that perfect diabetes control 24/7/365 is achievable only by those who have never lived with the condition. Katherine, you're doing great and it's all about continuous improvement, while accepting that there will be set-backs along the way.

Posted by Anonymous on 30 May 2013

I sure understand how you feel right now, it's where I have been myself. Allow yourself these feelings and know they will pass. But don't be upset with your body. It will not bend to your willpower. Your body is an evolving being and the most valuable thing you own.

Do the things you know to do, follow your doctors and nurses advice, talk to new medical people if you want. Troll message boards for more info. And love your body into being well. We never know when that cure is coming, so we need to be healthy when it gets here.

Posted by rosiolady on 30 May 2013

Most of us have found ourselves trying to juggle too much at various points in our lives. All you can do is the best you can figure how to do in any given moment. Worrying about how "out of whack" things are only drives up your stress and that will impact your BG still more. It is true that for a type 1 diabetic, taking care of yourself is the first priority. Without doing that, you may end up being unable to take care of anything at all. Feeling guilty because you don't do better is perhaps natural, but it is a waste of time and energy and again, can just drive your stress level higher. If you have done the best you can and things are still not working out, it is due to causes you can't control.

Posted by Anonymous on 30 May 2013

Type 1 Sux! Hang in there. we're all doing it one day at a time.

Posted by Anonymous on 30 May 2013

Thank you so much for sharing Katherine. You are not alone. It can be exhausting! You are doing your best and should be very proud. None of us are perfect.

Posted by Anonymous on 31 May 2013

don't panic. everything is going ok. minor irregularities can't kill u. accept the conditions and be tougher against this tough life.

Posted by laforĂȘt on 31 May 2013

My brother and my son are both diabetics. One for 48 years, the other 53 years. In the beginning, we had to boil the needles and reuse them until they had lost their sharpness, tests were urine tests only, in other words treatment and monitoring were painful and approximative. But the anxiety caused by the knowledge that your BG is not what it should be at this precise time of the day was not there.
This being said, I have no advice to give, just want to tell you that my heart is with you, hoping that you will navigate this difficult post-partum time and overcome the feeling of inadequacy facing a new mother having to juggle with so much. Today's treatments are better, your chances of having a long and satisfactory life are enormous, so enjoy your days and your kiddies. They will grow and you will recapture your life.
Best wishes and friendly thoughts

Posted by Anonymous on 31 May 2013

I don't understand the title of this article. What are the "three pins" you are referring to?
Diabetes will definitely bite you in the butt if you don't respect it. I can only imagine it would be that much more difficult dealing with young children to boot. Maybe you could look at diabetes like a 'job' and set aside an amount of time daily to work on it. For example, 1 hour at a time that works best for you. Maybe you could ask your husband for 1 hour in the evening that he could deal with the children. It's just a thought. I realize your life may not lend itself to that but maybe some version of that would work for you.

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