Thursday, October 1, 2015

An update on this one and her Type 1 Diabetes

When you are a teenager, you don't want to be defined by your disease.

You want to be known for more than just being that one with the Type 1 Diabetes.
It's hard enough living in the shadow of a rather radiant older sister.

And then you need glasses.
And braces.
And you start your freshman year in high school in a brand new homeschooling program.
It's a lot.
You'd rather stay in your room with your technology or a book because it's just quieter.
Less to deal with in a household with five siblings.

It's easier to just skip checking your blood sugar every time you eat, and why bother with counting carbs because your blood sugar is just going to be high no matter what you do.
In fact, you're living with an A1C of 10 or 11%.
The doctor chews you out for not following instructions and talks quite sternly about the potential of losing your eyesight or toes when you get older if your blood sugar stays uncontrolled like it is.
But it doesn't seem to matter.
Your Mom is on you all the time about taking care of yourself.

During your freshman year, you're taking this Speech and Drama Class....taught by your Mom.
You participate quietly and steadily, but something happened when you performed your first project.
It was almost like the room went still.
Then the rest of the class kind of looked around the room at each other to see if everyone saw what they just saw.
Someone whispers, "Wow.  That was really good."
Pretty soon, you're volunteered for all the speaking assignments by your fellow classmates.
You get the speaking part in a Christmas scene performed during the Fine Arts Christmas Recital.
And you nail it.
The Hot Chocolate Bar that was a part of the refreshments afterward was completely your idea and you set it up and ran the whole thing.

You very eagerly participate on the volleyball team.

But your numbers are not coming down.
It has never been an option for you to get an insulin pump because your parents insurance considers it a piece of durable medical equipment and there is a $2,000 deductible that has to be met before any of it and the supplies are covered.
$2,000 every year before coverage.
It's the same story for a continuous glucose monitor too.
Your parents have tried everything, called everybody, cried, gotten angry, and even let other people try to work things out with the insurance.
So you have to do things old school.
Manually count every carb you eat and figure out how much insulin you need to cover it.
Then you give yourself a shot.
That's pretty much a drag.
It's just easier to skip over some of the rules.
You can't feel if you are high anyway.
You can always tell when you are low though.
You always wake up, so why not just stay high.

But then in the spring, you have a birthday.
It's the birthday when you can legally get your driving permit.

But it's right around that time that your A1C is at an all-time high of 12%.
Your endocrinologist tells you that driving is not an option when your blood sugars are not controlled.  It can put you and everyone around you in danger.  So you won't get the doctor's note that approves you getting your permit.
You don't say anything about it but you just quietly ponder that.
Your Mom gets a more rigid formula that you just have to stick to.
It's pretty confining, but it feels safer.
You understand the rules of the game and how to play now.
You start following the rules.....on your own.
You don't mind if your Mom goes with you to summer camp to help you manage everything.
And it's a good thing because one night, after a really fun late night game in the dark, your blood sugar don't come up.
Your Mom woke up every hour to make sure the drinks you were drinking and the snacks you were eating were bringing your numbers up, but they were stubborn.
You very sweetly cooperated as your fingers were pricked over and over and over.

You took a trip to Ohio just before school started up again.
It was a reward for how hard you had worked in school last year and had gotten caught up on so many things.
It was a reward for trying harder at better managing your health more consistently.

It was almost like a quiet light had begun to come on.
That connection between growing up and personal responsibility.
That accomplishing a goal comes in consistent, small steps.
Because at your very latest visit with your endocrinologist, you got the reward.
You met a huge goal.
Your A1C had come down to 8.9%.
But you learned you still have a little ways to go before you'll get that doctor's slip for your driver's permit.
You need to be closer to 7.5%.
You're learning the routine. 
You're growing up.
You're finding your own way.
You're figuring out what it is that defines YOU!!

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