Well, it’s official, the honeymoon* is over. There is a part of me that is letting out a big sigh. I’m not sure if it is a sigh of relief that we can start battling diabetes without the bum pancreas excreting random insulin or if it is more a sigh of reality finally setting in, again and with a vengeance, our 3 year old’s pancreas is legit broken. I mean we knew it was, but now it’s more obvious, numbers higher than we have seen since she was first diagnosed.
It’s an odd feeling, for months it was all we could talk about in our house. Questioning how long it was going to last, thinking it was ending only to face lows after making basal adjustments. We talked about wanting it to end, so we could start to make the needed adjustments and settle into a bit of an insulin routine. We wanted it to end so we could feel more comfortable teaching others how to care for her when she is away from us. Hoping that some semblance of normalcy would indeed happen. Like when all her beta cells ceased to exist this magic switch would be flipped and diabetes would be easy to control. Ha! Like somehow after the honeymoon ended the diabetes gods would decide we have learned enough, we have grown, we have passed some imaginary test and poof — great control with little effort. Ha!
Honestly, we knew that that wasn’t going to be reality. But hey, a girl can still dream, right? We know that this disease is all about testing. Testing blood, testing the right insulin dosages, testing the right foods, testing the right correction factors, testing the right amount of time to wait between dosing and eating. It is also all about testing us. Testing our patience (mine runs very thin and my husband is a saint), testing our coping skills (those need some work), testing our support system (we should reach out more frequently, but that means we have to admit we need help) and testing how little sleep we actually need (that answer, more than we are currently fucking getting — we aren’t 20 any longer). All this testing sucks, it sucks for her and for us.
Diabetes also likes to keep us on our toes. When we think she’s going to go low, she goes high and vice versa. Just when we think we have ratios and corrections figured out she becomes more carb sensitive and less insulin sensitive. Just when we think she isn’t going to eat the entire meal, she asks for seconds (but I’m not going to complain about an increased appetite and the growth spurts that go along with that. Although they do wreak havoc on blood glucose levels). The constant inconsistencies are what make this the hardest. I’m hoping that we will see some improvement in these with the end of the honeymoon. Our biggest triumph this week was that she played at lil monkey bizness for 5 hours without going low. She was running, jumping, climbing and giggling. She looked like every other kid out there and stayed in range the entire time. It was really great to not have to force feed her smarties and to be able to chat with my friend while the girls ran around.
Someday this is going to be easier — at least that’s what more seasoned parents have told us. The ones who have been here before. I really hope they are right. Strangers have no reason to lie to us; they’ve been in our shoes and know how hard the beginning is. Maybe they just don’t want to be brutally honest, maybe they don’t want to discourage us knowing how young our kiddo is and how long this journey will be. I’m going to be optimistic and believe them when they say it’s going to get easier — it has to, for her, for us, for my sanity.
*Honeymoon is the period of time between enough of the beta cells being killed off that diagnosis occurred and the destruction of the rest of the beta cells. Because the pancreas is getting outside help from insulin injections the remaining beta cells start to produce more insulin. This causes insulin needs to greatly decrease. Honeymoon phases tend to be shorter the younger a person is diagnosed and varies immensely from person to person.