Thursday, July 4, 2013

I am not an expert

I am by no means an expert on type 1 diabetes. I may have been playing the role of my daughters pancreas for five years now, but that doesn't mean I know what I'm doing all the time. It doesn't mean that I have it "under control." It doesn't mean that I have all the answers and it doesn't mean that I have somehow become a pancreas whisperer. Sure, I know some....I know a lot, really. But with this disease, I don't think it's possible to know all there is to know. There are too many variables...too many different situations and circumstances that can play a role in how things are affected...that it's just not feasible to expect things to turn out how you want them to every single time. Yes, I know the basics. I know how to bolus and change basals and change her pump site. I know how to count carbs and I know how certain foods and certain activities and certain situations will affect my own daughters blood sugars. I am far from an expert though. I make mistakes. I make a lot of mistakes.

If there was one thing that I could tell a newly diagnosed parent, it would be that you have to be able to accept the fact that you will make mistakes. You have to teach yourself to be ok with that fact. You have to realize that you are not a pancreas. While you do love your child more than anything else on this planet, you are still not a pancreas....and you never will matter how hard you try or how badly you want it to be. It took me a long time to be ok with screwing up. It took me a lot of thinking and a lot of soul searching to accept the fact that mistakes are a good thing.

Making mistakes is the only way we will learn. It's the only way we will find out how certain things affect our children. Mistakes are a good thing. I know it's hard for you to see that now....and that's I said, it took me a long time to get there. Instead of spending your time and energy and emotions on trying to decipher one specific number or one specific day or one specific pattern or food or experience, try to see it as a moment of learning. If you can take that less than stellar number and treat it and turn the page, so to will save you in the end. It will save your sanity.

Even though my daughter is using an insulin pump now, I still record her blood sugar numbers in a little notebook. It's helpful to me. It makes me feel more in control. I like being able to see the numbers right there day by day in front of me. I like being able to see the trends and the patterns and keep my little notes about pizza days and gymnastics days and sick days and birthday parties. I like being able to flip through the pages and see it right there.

Today I started a new notebook because I had reached the last page in our old book last night. I flipped through and saw that we had begun that book back in December. As I held onto that little pink notebook, I felt a sense of pride and a sense of accomplishment. I saw all of those pages filled with notes and numbers and days gone by...for nearly seven months...and it made me feel good. I was holding roughly 210 days of numbers in my hands. I closed the book and set it aside. I opened a new one...a new page...a new day....and I realized that my little notebooks are like a metaphor for diabetes itself. Some days the numbers aren't so good....some days they are incredibly perfect....but hidden between the lines of that notebook are moments of mistakes, moments of tears, moments of victory. Every single page of that notebook represents another day of me doing the best I can possibly do at my job...being my daughters pancreas.

One day, I will sit down and look through my collection of notebooks and smile at all of the years of mistakes...all the days in there that lead me to the day a cure is found. Maybe I will tear them up and throw them away...or maybe I will burn the pages one by one...or maybe I will keep a reminder to myself of just how sweet a victory is when the pathway there is filled with mistakes and hard work.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. I often reflect on just how much I don't know even after all these years, yet at the same time I feel good about how well I'm able to manage given all that I/we don't know.

    I love your closing line. Absolutely beautiful. :-)