I decided to re-blog this post I originally wrote for http://diabetesaustraliavic.wordpress.com/ in January, 2011. At the time I was pregnant with my darling little boy who is now 19 months old. It is really intersting to reflect back to find that I continue to endure the same inner-conflicts today. And each time I make the same choices.
It is Tuesday morning and I’m sitting at my desk at work, staring blankly at the computer screen. I’m not sure what will come out of my mouth if I open it to speak, so I decide against that until the feeling of complete and utter mental disconnectedness leaves me.
I have had type 1 diabetes for over 24 years, I am 24+ weeks pregnant and have had just had a massive hypo at a time when I least expected it. In this scenario, looking after ‘number one’ is quite an easy task to execute. I am at work and I have wonderfully supportive and understanding colleagues around me. Stopping what I am doing to eat a dozen jelly beans and get on top of my plummeting blood sugar level is all I need to do at that point in time. And I go ahead and do just that, with no hesitations. The phone can wait. The emails can wait. Even my boss can wait!
But rewind back to early Monday morning of the same week. It is a few minutes after 7am and even before I am completely awake I can sense that my head is heavy and my mind is clouded. Straight away I am aware that my blood sugars must have been running low in my sleep, and they are probably still dangerously low. I roll over to grab the jelly bean jar out from under the bed when, all of a sudden, I hear two doors open and another one slam, a girly squeal, a crash and a high-pitched meow all in the space of five seconds. I switch into mummy mode, jump out of bed and begin assessing the chaos that lies before me. It is not until after my beautiful 5 year old daughter is calm and sitting at the kitchen bench munching on fruit toast, the kitten is outside licking his wounds and the carnage has been cleaned up that I think to myself, “Hmmm, not feeling great… actually feeling quite faint… now where is my blood glucose meter and those jelly beans, again?”
So who was ‘number one’ in that situation? Was it my daughter who got the fright of her life when the kitten exploded out of the laundry, knocked her to the ground taking with them a picture off the wall? Or was it the kitten that nearly lost his tail as the picture frame hit the tiled floor? Or was it me? The woman carrying a precious life inside her with a blood sugar level less than two mmol/L? Common sense and logic would suggest that it would be me. But the heart of a mother always puts her young first… even the furry variety.
Living with type 1 diabetes has put me in a state of inner conflict every day of my life. As a child, did I sit quietly at school lunch time after a blood glucose reading over 15 mmol/L to avoid adding to the hyperglycemia and developing ketones? No, I scoffed my lunch down and played a few rounds of kiss-chasey instead. As a teenager, did I say no to the first offer of alcohol before I knew how to manage my diabetes while drinking? No, I said yes, joined the party and learnt a few very valuable lessons that still resonate with me today. I did, however carry around a heavy load of guilt knowing full well that I was doing the wrong thing by my body each and every time.
As a woman, an adult, a wife, a mother, a part-time worker and a person living with type 1 diabetes, do I put myself first in every situation? No. Sometimes my injured husband takes priority. At other times my distressed daughter comes first. And most recently our unborn child has taken precedence. But what I try to do every time is make sure I am satisfied with choices I make along the way. What else can one do? My diabetes does not take a front seat every day, but most days it does. I take great comfort in the thought that almost everyone else in the world has their own version of “diabetes” which they have to integrate into their lives and find the balance with. Being aware and making the most of the opportunities you have is all that one can do.