She raised 2 Type 1 children and now she struggles with the idea of insulin for herself...?

I was diagnosed with Juvenille diabetes on May 21, 1972. My mom was 29 years old and pregnant with my brother. He was born July 25, 1972 and 2 years later he was diagnosed with Juvenille Diabetes. 37 years ago that's what is was called... "Juvenille". Both my mom and dad dove head-first into a life of caring for two diabetic toddlers. They never let anything stand in our way or their way. We lived life as normally as the next kid, so we thought. I learned years after the fact, that for every birthday celebration at school my mom would bring in cupcakes made with sugar substitute and for every Halloween she would bring special "treats" to the neighbors that we could get when we rang their doorbells and that we could eat or enjoy. I remember my first Easter with sugar free chocolates in my basket. I was THRILLED! I thought they were terrific. My dad and mom didn't totally agree, but my brother and I didn't know any better. From a very early age we travelled the world. By the time I turned 19 I'd been to all 7 continents and 104 countries. Having a summer birthday meant that I celebrated each year in some amazing new place. 13 in Africa. 15 in Italy. You see, our parents were told when we were first diagnosed that we'd be lucky to see 30. I'm VERY proud to say that I'll be 40 years old in one month and my brother is turning 37 this coming Saturday.

But, with the help of our parents life with diabetes never seemed to get in the way for me or my brother. We had our highs and some impressively low lows. Glucagon has been used a time or two, but for me, insulin and blood glucose monitoring is kind of like brushing my teeth. You see...I was born. I was diagnosed diabetic, I was a kid, I went to school. I played. I grew up. Now, I've been married for 15 years. I'm the mother of 2 beautiful and healthy children and my mom told me last night, in tears, that she may be going on insulin. She's a wreck. I find it so confusing that this woman could find so much strength to care for 2 kids with Type 1 and now, as she faces the possiblity of taking insulin herself she is struggling with the idea. All I can do is give her support and guidance. That's what she did for me.

On a positive note, I just returned from my endo today and she said that I am doing SO well with controlling my diabetes that she sees no reason why I can't make it to at least 90 years of age. I think that's kinda cool! My dad will be 94 on August 11th and I just may be able to follow in his footsteps!

I can't thank my parents enough for all that they taught me. They gave my brother and myself a solid education in the care of diabetes. Now, I know I'll be able to do the same for my mom. Wish me luck!

Views: 14

Comment by Kristin on July 22, 2009 at 11:26am
Wow, what an amazing story Erin! Your parents sound like really incredible people.

I am also surprised about your mom's reaction to insulin, since she already knows so much about insulin.

But she is lucky to have you, to help her, comfort her, and understand what she is going through.

Keep us posted on how she is doing!!!
Comment by Brunetta on July 22, 2009 at 11:27am
U wil be able to do all the kind, loving, thoughtful things for yoiur mom that she did for you!!! I just returned from a trip down South to see my parents, now 79 and 81. My Dad has Alzheimer's and kind of recognizes me, but was still happy to see " that woman in the red car". My mother, who has been the rock of our family, is in good health ,but needs me to help out with financial decisions and business affairs. I will willingly do whaever is needed. You have shown us ,on Tudiabetes, how much caring and support that you can provide. lI am convinced you will be there for her ;and she will become less and less upset as she sees how calm and reassuring you are about diabetes. Remind her and praise her strength with her own two kids, U R in my prayers ( both yiu and your mom.

God Bless, my sis
Comment by Roberta on July 22, 2009 at 11:31am

Your story inspires me. Thank you for sharing this.

Being diagnosed at 33 with a 1 year old and going through a divorce is much different than as a toddler, but I shared the same type of support you did with your parents. My mom and dad drove 2 hours for every nurse educator meeting I had that first year. Mom and I figured per gram carbohydrate counts for the foods I commonly ate so I could easily calculate grams of carb for what I decided would be a serving. We calculated many carb counts for our common recipes, we just plain did a lot of work together. Mom canned pears, peaches, applesauce and cucumber pickles with sugar substitute for me, froze flats of fresh berries and made low sugar freezer jam. Dad was always there with a peeler, clean jars, or the propane torch to blister the chiles for the salsa we made in bulk for healthy snacking. We are lucky, having support at the times we need it most.

My issue now is the aging process with my mom. I try to give back by being patient and supportive. It is not easy, but I just need to remind myself of all of those times that my mom was there for me. I am truly blesssed.

Comment by ErinArg on July 22, 2009 at 11:33am
Thank you all. I feel like Roberta. I have been truly blessed and like Brunetta said... all I can do is the same that my mom did for me. I'll support her in any way she needs. I know as a mother I've found strength in myself I never knew I had when my kids are involved. I guess my mom did the same when it came to me and my brother. Now, I'll do the same for her.
Comment by Richard157 on July 22, 2009 at 11:43am
Erin, I believe that any person would have that kind of reacton to becoming diabetic and/or having to start insulin. For your Mother it may be an easier adjustment because she knows what it is all about and she knows how to administer the insulin and determune dosages, etc. She also knows that she can have a great life and live and be healthy like you and brother have done. I suspect this initial reaction will be brief and she will adjust very soon, especially with your help.
Comment by ErinArg on July 22, 2009 at 11:45am
thanks Richard. I think you're right. I hope the "shock" will be brief and then she'll continue living a full life!
Comment by MomsL8 on July 22, 2009 at 11:59am
Erin: For many of us Type 2 D's, we've been told or led to believe it's our fault. When we can no longer manage our D with diet and exercise and have to go on oral meds, we feel a little like a failure, and when we're told we have to go on insulin, we feel as if it's a life sentence.

Even though you are my friend, and so many people here are my friends and are T1 and have LIVED on insulin as a way of lie, I know better - you had no choice. You didn't manufacture ANY insulin. We can reconcile that rationally in our brains.

For us, sometimes we feel it's a sign we didn't watch our weight or we're getting older - that our bodies are failing. Especially if you've been used to managing it with diet and exercise, and even with a good doctor, to us, it's a sign of failure.

It shouldn't be that way. That's why I am such a huge advocate for T2's.

For me, it was a little different. I pulled keytones when I was pregnant - I had to understand that insulin was the BEST and fastest way to help my baby.

Now, I'm prepared to go on insulin, especially that I take Byetta now, and I'm ok with that. Doesn't mean I won't give up trying to live healthily, but inside, I'll still feel that little pang of guilt.

Just as I would bet parents of T1's say to themselves, irrationally, was it the cupcake I fed Johnny? Was it? Was it?

It's a pretty natural state of grief that goes with any chronic condition.

What you can do for her is to keep her educated. Since you've grown, she probably hasn't been as involved in the newest and latest information. I know things have come a long way since I first took insulin in 1993 - and it continually changes!

Help her learn - and she will appreciate it. Don't judge or make her feel small - just love her, and help her as if she were one of your D friends, newly diagnosed.

Good luck! I'm praying for you! :-)
Comment by Karen Graffeo on July 22, 2009 at 12:32pm
You parents were so amazing. And I know you have the same capacity to be so amazing for your mom now, when she needs it. I think anyone being told they have to go on insulin would freak out and have a hard time with it. But I bet that seeing how healthy you are and how you have flourished over the years will help her accept it better for herself. If she is half as strong as you are, I know she'll be fine. (And I'm quite sure she is.) Just let her know you are there for her. :)
Comment by Kathy on July 22, 2009 at 12:33pm
Erin. Thank you for the wonerful story. Your brother and yourself are very lucky to have such great parents! I was recently put on insulin even though I was following all the guidelines. It's just something my body needs, and if it's going to make me feel better and healthier I'm all for it. Good luck to your Mom. And God bless!
Comment by ErinArg on July 22, 2009 at 12:50pm
Danny - You make me smile! We were actually drinking champagne at 10 am in Antarctica as we toasted our 7th continenet! LOL. I was 19 and my brother was 16 at the time, but mom and dad poured the champagne and said "just a sip". We are so blessed.

I love your blogs as well my friend. You are very inspirational!

thanks to all who have posted. Mom and dad are coming over for dinner tonight and I know it will be a good time to talk over what she's going through. Just the beginning of a new stage of life for all.


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