Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My boys are different. So is their diabetes.

When it came to diabetes, J was perfect. Diagnosed as baby, I thought his responsibleness had to do with diabetes being all he has ever known...but it turns out that wasn't the case. It had more to do with his personality than anything else.

Back in the day, J was a private guy. More than anything, he didn't like the spotlight to be on him. He didn't talk about his diabetes, but if someone asked he would answer succinctly and be done. He didn't hide things like blood sugar testing, but he didn't flaunt it either.

He wanted people to see him as J. Not J the diabetic.

Because of this he KNEW that he needed to be very careful remembering to check his sugar and bolus for his food. I don't think he ever needed reminding from 1st grade to 5th grade. His biggest fear was passing out in front of his friends...that was his worst nightmare. Due to his diligence, that never happened. He was always super responsible and super careful. He was everything a D Mama could hope for, and more.

But he kinda left this legacy with the teachers that diabetes is easy and no big deal. I'm grateful for that, and pulling out my hair because of it too.

Now that B and L are making the rounds with the same elementary teachers J had, I'm getting comments like:

"Wow! J never had issues like this. I wonder why L's sugars are so hard to manage?"

"What happened the other day never happened with J. Why are B's numbers not as level...like J's."

Ay yi yi.

Truth is J's sugars were a little easier to manage than his brothers...but also, J was so quiet in his management that his teachers were never made aware of his highs and his lows. He dealt with them on his own, or with me on the phone. He thought it was none of his teachers business, his numbers were very private to him.

Not with B and L. They are loud and proud diabetics. L especially. He will tell his teacher every number that pops up on his monitor. And when L is high he will check every 15 minutes to make sure he is going down. (Not something I encourage.) I get so many calls from him from school. "Mom! I just checked my sugar and It's 302!!" "Of course it is L! You just had an root beer float for your reading party! It will be down before I pick you up. Give your insulin time to work!"

B is almost as vocal, when he feels low he makes sure his teacher knows. He doesn't like feeling vulnerable. There was an incident at the track last week where B forgot it was track day and forgot to bring his monitor and his fast acting sugar with him. This resulted in a frantic call from his teacher saying B feels, "Lower than he ever has before."

Dramatic much? My mother lives closer to the track than me so she ran to take care of it all. He was fine, and not even close to "lower than I ever felt before." But his teacher couldn't help but say, "Wow, nothing like this ever happened with J."

Because J wouldn't have said a word. He would have waited until they got back to school and he would have dealt with it. Is that a good thing? No. Actually, to be honest this never would have happened because J never would have forgotten his kit. Kids are different.

But his teachers can't help comparing and I can only say, "Diabetes Varies," so many times.

Now don't get me wrong. My boys have AWESOME teachers. We are very blessed to have them. But it goes like this with anyone who doesn't intimately know diabetes like we do.

I'm thankful J had uneventful elementary years, but it is fun to see J turn into a teenager and actually talk all the time and be so animated when he talks. He "forgets" things once in awhile and has lightened up a bit too. He is not the same J he was. I think it was our service dog Lawton that brought him out of his diabetes shell. When he was in sixth grade J proudly wore his diabetes colors, and even brought Lawton to class with him some days. That dog made any reservations about sharing his condition disappear.

My children are my children, but they are also three completely separate identities who deal with their diabetes in completely different ways...who's numbers respond to food in completely different ways...who's carb ratios and sensitivities are not even close to one another.

What works for one boy, doesn't always work for another. They are three individuals. Three different sets of information that I need to store up in my cluttered attic of a brain. That is part of the reason I cringe when people give advice on the internet like it is the answer for everyone. Because from my experience...one piece of advice doesn't even work for all three of my boys...so how can one specific nugget of wisdom be applied to everyone in the general diabetes population?

I wish I could lump everything I know into one specific pile of information for all to read. But at best, all I can do is say..."This works for us," and sometimes, "This works for one of my boys." That is why I blog mostly about the emotional side of it all. But even then...Your feelings may vary too.

(This will wrap up day 8 of National Health Blog Posting Month, in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)


  1. Thank you for your blogs... you make me :)~ Smile!

  2. This is just a fantastic example of diabetes varying fit all of us. Thanks for pointing that out to people. You get to see it in a more concentrated form than most people do.

  3. Great post and great reminder about D being different in every person. As Bennet sas 'YDMV.'

  4. Really interesting! Always find myself wondering how much of our 3 yr old's personality is due to being dx'ed at 14 months - but maybe the answer is, "not much." Good to hear! :)

  5. this is a fantastic post. ive always wondered about it, and it must be part temperament, but largely that everyones diabetes is different.

  6. Great post Marie! My three boys all have different diabetes too. In our case I'm convinced it isn't just personality but also differing levels of pancreatic function too.

  7. Funny you blogged this today because tomorrow my FB awareness for the day is planned to be how EVERYONE's Diabetes is different! YA Meri! You beat me to it!

  8. Really, really good point Meri!

  9. so so true. i often say, 'i'm not an expert in diabetes, i'm not even an expert in L's diabetes, but i know what will work, sometimes.' ;)

  10. I love reading this - in our family we have heard often that it should have been a cake walk dealing with Isaac's dx and his diabetes, because well because his father has diabetes. Right?, nope WRONG! So...it has been a very long road so far of learning, even learning that people will inevitably say stupid things about our having more than one person with t1d in the fam, it is part of our lives and like you say "this works for us" whatever that "this" aspect is will probably change a million times, but at that moment it is a very true statement :)
    Thanks for sharing this tidbit about your beautiful family, you always make me feel so much less alone. I truly appreciate all your time you devote to this blog.


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