Posts tagged loneliness

New Beginnings (Again.)

I used to devote so much time and energy into providing interesting news and updates for my blog.

I wanted it to be a place where people could come and feel like they had taken away some helpful and positive information.

However, since Lance’s diagnosis of Peripheral Neuropathy, I ackowledge that even though I knew that his symptoms spelt trouble, hearing the diagnosis..twice..sent me back to the days when I was a newbie parent of a child with type 1 diabetes. I could function, cook and clean, do homework, wash the clothes, ensure that Lance’s blood sugar levels were in check, but I was  a pretty tragic person when after Lance went to sleep. Oh, yes I was.

I have had to FIGHT like a demon to get Lance’s specialists to ackowledge that this condition is real and present in my eight year old son. I have spoken to countless people about how there are similar conditions that mimic Peripheral Neuropathy. I know this, but I have ALSO taken him to two podiatrists, specialising in peripheral neuropathy, and the other, Diabetic conditions ralated to the feet. Basically, they both concurred with the diagnosis. They also expressed their disdain towards Lance’s Medical team for being so lax towards a child with a diabetic condition that needs specific attention so as not to deteriorate further!!

Our Diabetes Educators are on my hit list at the moment. The ones that I have dealt with look at me with such gross suspicion, as if I have created the symptoms to get more attention for Lance…(Did I just write that??) Other’s have said, “Get him involved in sport-that’ll get his pain levels down, that’s if he DOES have it, of course.(!) And the Kingpin…”Why do you know about Peripheral Neuropathy anyway? There is no point in stressing yourself out about a condition that a parent doesn’t need to know about.”

 (OR…IN THIS CASE I DID!!!!!)

 It never ceases to amaze me…you don’t know enough about type 1 diabetes and you get a grilling for not keeping yourself educated, yet you bother to investigate what COULD happen in the future, and you are considered a wack job.

So, it’s the beginning of 2009. No more feeling sorry for myself or Lance. I fight everyday to keep tight blood sugars, his little fingers are calloused and black from all of the finger pricks I make him endure. He follows a tight exercise program that endeavours to keep circulation flowing well, and he is also taking a B1 supplement. His paediatric endocrinologist wants him to commence taking Endep, an ancient tricylic antidepressant that is used to block nerve ending pain. Seems great in theory, but it has a nasty side effect. Even on low doses, fellow patients have told me that they were barely able  to move, they felt so “dopey” or “cloudy” and planted to their bed or chair. When I think of my eight year old medicated, or running around the block and following a lot GI diet, of course I am going to keep him of meds. However, if things digress, and it is necessary for Lance to be on medication for increased pain and uncomfortable sensations, well of course I am not going to deprive him from pain relief.

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A lot of the wonderful treatments available in the United States simply aren’t heard of here.

It comes  down to a capsicum topical gel, Endep, exercise programs, tight control of blood sugar levels, or the dreaded word that strikes fear in the heart of every person with diabetes.. amputation.

Happy New Year everyone, I ask you to please keep an extra sharp eye on your child’s readings, so that you can continue having Happy New Years in the future, without extra specialists, medication, pain, discomfort….

I have loads of issues to post about, but I thought I should explain my absence first. I have many good days than bad now, and I spend a lot of time devoting myself to educating my family and local diabetes group that if Lance could get a complication at eight, then no one is immune. (In other words, it’s not just the “overweight, careless, long term type 2’s who don’t bother to take care of themselves.”)

 

My New Years Resolution is to continue educating and providing information about type 1 Diabetes, and assisting parents of newly diagnosed children. Let’s put it another way, the Health Minister will feel instant nausea when she sees my stationary in her mail pile. 🙂

 

 

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Desperate And Dateless-When Diabetes Turns A Date Into A Dismal Disaster.

This is a post that I have wanted to write for a long time, but I felt that the topic could be slightly cringe worthy.

I still feel that way, but I’m going to continue this time, instead of writing a draft and deleting it the next day.

In case you aren’t aware, I am a single, 31 year old mother. I have one child, Lance, who is the epicentre of my existence. We have lived through almost six gruelling years together, battling against severe hypoglycaemia, and more recently, wildly fluctuating blood sugar levels that were attributed to the release of growth hormones.

It hasn’t always been this way. I was once a happily married twenty-something when I discovered that I was pregnant. Life was peachy-Scott, my then-husband and I lived in a fabulous home, and wanted for nothing. We were not planning to start a family so quickly, however, as soon as we both saw the two “pink lines”, we were consumed with the thought of new life entering our little world.

A Very Positive Result!
A Very Positive Result!

We had an incredible first year with our gorgeous son. Lance was meant to be with us-he would gaze at me as if he had known me for years, even as a newborn. If I heard him crying, I only had to soothe him with some soft, comforting words or a lullaby, and he would settle immediately, soaking in my essence. We were incredibly close, we had bonded whilst Lance was in-utero. He knew me from the moment he was handed to me.  Without a doubt, the most incredible experience of my life.

Fast forward 1 November, 2002. Diagnosis Day. Hurricane Mellitus.

After a week in hospital, we returned to our house. It didn’t feel like “home” anymore. There was evidence everywhere of the chaos that had overwhelmed us prior to hearing “those” life-changing words.

That’s when the cracks began to show. I became so protective and vigilant of Lance, and without even realising it, I began to focus all of my attention onto Diabetes.  Whilst Scott slept alone, I would be lying beside Lance’s cot-observing, watching, testing..trying to avoid disaster or the possiblity of more distress in hospital for Lance.

A huge, jagged welt had divided the amazing relationship that Scott and I once had. He bottled his feelings, and never displayed any grief or remorse about this devastating misfortune that had been inflicted upon our son. I resented him for that tremendously. (It wasn’t like I wanted to see him sitting around, paralysed with heart-wrenching pain or in a constant state of distress, but his ability to move on seemed so callous to me.)I mistook his way of coping as not caring.

On 8 April, 2003, I lost my older brother to a horrific, aggressive cancer. He was diagnosed soon after his birthday in February, and died an agonising death five weeks later.

On May 23, 2003, Scott and I officially separated. We knew it was a permanent decision, and that there was no going back.

I left our family home, and returned to my hometown with Lance to be with my parents.

Scott left for Melbourne-again, I was full of resentment that he had the ability to abandon us, when we needed him the most. (I now realise that he spent a year there in complete devastation. He returned to Queensland one year later.)

I soon felt strong enough to find my own accommodation, and it was really important to me that Lance felt like he had a home again. Within the space of six months, I found myself existing as a single parent, with a baby who had a relatively short honeymoon period, in a city that had limited medical professionals/facilities for infants with Type 1 Diabetes. I spent that spring following a meticulous routine, in an attempt to create some stability for myself. The upheaval of my son’s diagnosis, the ruination of my marriage, the death of my brother and living a completely foreign lifestyle had left me longing for each day to end, so that I could disassociate myself from reality by sleeping.

Fast forward to 1 September, 2008. The first day of the season synonymous with new life. Spring has officially sprung.

My baby is almost 8 years old, and has grown into a fine young man. His Dad and I are still fantastic friends. I have a network of supportive and kind friends around me. However, despite a huge improvement in my quality of life since the train wreck that was 2003, I am desperately lonely and crave the company of a man.

There. I said it.

It’s not like I haven’t attempted dating, either.

For the past two years, I have felt reasonably safe leaving Lance in the care of my parents or Scott. I have had a few opportunities where I have been asked out for dinner, or to catch a film. The first few times were atrocious..I was sitting in the female toilet,mobile phone in hand,  whispering to my father to do a fingerprick so I knew what Lance’s level was.

 However, with time, I soon began to unwind and relax about leaving Lance for a few hours here and there.

I was lucky enough to score a date with someone whom I had admired from afar for years. He approached me, which was even better. We had a fabulous night out-a brilliant meal, no awkward pauses, much laughter and upon leaving the restaurant, I felt my heart THUD THUD THUD as he slipped his hand into mine.

All weekend, we exchanged text messages. There was a huge va va va voom factor going on. I was so incredibly excited. I knew that this guy, Callum, actually liked “me”.

I was even more impressed when he asked to meet Lance. (As Lance is such a huge part of me, a man who asks to meet him automatically gains mass credibility.)

I suggested that we meet up at the park on a weekend. He was more than happy with that suggestion.

The weekend finally approached, and I was sick with nerves. Lance was a little too young to realise how I was feeling. We arrived at the park, and there he was, sitting at a picnic table with his back to us. He had a huge bucket of KFC and their many various MSG laden side dishes laid out. Taking a deep breath, I held my head high, and approached him. He put out his arms for a hug, and I briefly had fantasies of swiping the food of the table and..well, you can fill in the blanks.

I digress.

The moment arrived when I introduced my boy, to a man who that I could imagine sharing something special with. Callum got down to Lance’s level, and shook hands, and playfully ruffled his hair. Lance seemed to like him, he chattered away, asking many questions and making fine small talk.

Callum opened his bucket of KFC. (Naturally, I had told Callum all about why I was suddenly single, and living alone with my son. He knew about Lance’s condition, and had shrugged it off as being “no drama whatsoever.”                                                                                                                                                             

“Here buddy, put your plate out and dig into some chicken,” Callum gestured enthusiastically.

“No, thank you Callum. I have my own sandwiches and fruit salad here with me. Thanks for the offer though.” Lance replied.

“Whaaaaaaaat! A kid who refuses KFC? You don’t know what you’re missin’ out on mate! Come on, your Mum and I are going to have some, I don’t want you to miss out.”

 (I wanted to ask a kid in the sandpit to bury me.)

“No, it’s fine. Thanks anyway. I don’t eat takeaway. It’s not good for my diabetes.”

There it was. The truth.

We sat in silence, eating our chosen meals.

Lance asked if he could go and play, and I gave him the go ahead.

“I thought you said his diabetes had nothing to do with diet!!” Callum said with an unexpected tone of  exasperation.

“Oh, it doesn’t. Well, not really. It’s good to encourage healthy eating habits, that’s all. Junk food plays havoc with blood sugar levels, too.” I replied innocently.

About 30 minutes later, I called Lance over for a fingerprick. He was panting and laughing, and out of sheer habit, wiped his finger on a serviette, ready to be tested. I got a droplet of blood, got a decent result, and told Lance to return to the playground.

(The following really hurts to write.)

“Whoa, what the heck was that? You should have prepared me for that! That was so WRONG! What sort of diabetes does he have if you have to do that to his fingers? Never do that in front of me again, hey. It’s so wrong that he was so relaxed and calm about it! So much for my lunch, my appetite is gone.  That was just SUCH a spinout.”

I was devastated. This man was prepared to accept me and my son as a package, but, as Diabetes wasn’t welcome, that meant that we weren’t going to be welcomed either.  Soon after his “spinout”. he yawned and said that the “sun had made him feel seedy.” (Or maybe it was my son and his fingerprick that made him feel seedy….) He grabbed his chicken, hugged me again, this time like there were metal bars between us, and said, “See ya babe. I’ll call you.”

After his little outburst, I was completely over Callum.

( I received an email two days later, telling me that he had dreamt of a future with me, but he couldn’t cope with having a “sick” kid in the picture.)

After I had recovered from my shock and disbelief, I decided that I wasn’t going to let one bad experience deterr me from dating. I let a friend introduce me to her brother, Jayden. We had a lot in common, but there wasn’t a lot of spark. However, I was happy enough to make a close male friend. He was a winner with Lance-he would read him stories and wanted to learn how to do fingerpricks. My faith in humanity was temporarily restored.

One weeknight, he appeared at my doorstep quite late, as he knew that I am a chronic nightowl. He slipped of his shoes and handed me a DVD and a bag of popcorn. This was the quality in a man that I love. Someone that is willing to be throw caution to the wind, and be spontaneous and fancy free. I was suitably impressed.

We sat together, and began watching the film, complete with subtitles. Ahhh..a man with eclectic taste in film. Had I been too judgemental with Jayden? He had definitely impressed me; he even put a cushion on his lap and told me to lie down whilst he gave me a temple massage. I was in sheer bliss until I heard a stifled cry.

I was up as quick as a flash, and hit the pause button. It was Lance. I turned on the night light. His hair was clamped down to his forehead with sweat, and his limbs were twitching.

BSL: 1.8mmol/L. It made no sense, especially as he had gone to bed at 9.3mmol/L after a suitable supper, only two hours beforehand. He was staring straight through me, and I knew it would be hopeless trying to coax him to drink. I assembled a glucagon injection and planted it into his thigh.

I caught a glimpse of Jayden out of the corner of my eye. He appeared as though he may faint.
“Ahh..Kate, don’t you think I should call an ambulance or something? That was really disturbing to watch!” he jittered.

“Well don’t watch, then!” I snapped back. I held Lance close to me, and sang softly as he sobbed.

After ten minutes, his blood sugar had climbed to 5.2mmol/L. The fingerprick was enough to set off the shock, and Lance began screaming and writhing.

I could see Lance turning a whiter shade of pale, and I knew that he was going to be sick, a common reaction from an emergency injection of glucagon.

“Jayden! Could you please grab some towels from the linen cupboard and..”

Too late. I wore most of Lance’s supper all through my hair and down my neck.

“Listen, Kate, I’m going to take off, okay? I’ve called for a taxi, and I’m going catch up with you really soon. Hope the little fella is alright-what the hell happened just then?” His voice faded away, and was followed by the distinctive sound of my front door closing. I had no choice but to take Lance into the shower with me, and clean us both up.

The next day, Jayden’s sister called, asking after Lance. I told her that her brother did a runner, something I didn’t really expect, considering that we were spending a lot of time getting to know each other.

“Oh yeah, he said that he would feel too scared to be around Lance in case that happened while they were playing or something. He’ll be in touch, though.”

(I saw him last Christmas in the mass crowds..I called his name, he turned around and grunted, “Oh, Hey.”)

Merry Christmas to you, too.

I’ve since found out that I’ve been described as a “great chick, heaps of fun, but with wayyyyy too much baggage..”, “she’s someone who I would definitely consider dating, but I’m not interested in having dates if she’s got her mind on her kid instead of me.”

So, this is my dilemma. I don’t have a problem meeting single, impressive-at-first-glance guys. I always assess them first, ie: genuine, sincere, honest-along with the ability to accept the good in every situation. I may have a son who has Type 1 Diabetes, but in total honesty, between the both of us, we are a really good catch. As much as I engage in “Dad” activities, I can’t possibly replace his Dad. Lance misses that, despite the fact that he is willing to spend time with me and do whatever I’m doing, without a complaint. If a male ever comes to our home, whether it be a tradesman or the guy who mows my lawn, Lance will quiz me later that day on whether I would “go out” on a date with said person. I always answer his questions as honestly as I can, and usually I reply that I don’t know about “his” personality, so I couldn’t possibly make a judgement based on the fact that “he” was polite/friendly/gorgeous.

As soon as the question, “So, what school do you go to?” is brought up, things usually go downhill very quickly.
“Why would you want to do homeschool when there are so many great little schools here?”

It’s then when I have to launch into the spiel about Lance’s vulnerability regarding hypoglycaemia. Like a reasonably ditressing percentage of straight males, they will appear concerned,shake their head in disbelief, offer a “tisk tisk” or two, or a “poor little guy”, when in fact, they are thinking..”Uh oh…high maintenance alert, no private time for sex, she’s going to be exhausted by the end of the day, there’s going to be interruptions galore when I’m trying to get busy with her..” Even the most genuine of men that I have met eventually show their true colours. They are single, therefore they want a low maintenance girlfriend who will slot easily into their already established and inflexible lives. 

I simply don’t fit into that category.

At the beginning of this year, I attempted to go on one more date. His personality was quite ordinary, his favourite singer was Dolly Parton, and he wore socks with sandals. However, I do try to treat everyone equally, and I hoped that he may be an amazing conversationalist or incredibly charismatic..

As the night progressed, he interrupted me mid-sentence and exclaimed, “Wow, your life is much more exciting than mine. I think that you’d be bored stupid by me.”

“So, is that what you really feel, or is code for how you REALLY feel?” I asked.

“Yeah, I’m not the best with kids, I’m sorry. Plus I am in recovery, I am an alcoholic, and I don’t think I would  be a very good person for you to associate with.”

“Okay…Well, I do appreciate your honesty, I really do. Can we at least be friends, do you think?”

He left his mobile number on the table. He also forgot to pay his bill.

(Oh, and his mobile number was a fake. I can’t believe I thanked him for his “honesty!”)

So, I decided a few months ago, “no more pre-organised dates.” I believe that the right man will come along, but ideally, I would prefer it to be sooner than later. I have worded up all my friends, and they know not to attempt anymore set-ups.

So now I just have to wait for the Universe to deliver a genuine, sincere, kid-friendly, stable, extroverted, intelligent man, who won’t run a mile at the thought of being with a woman who is very closely associated with a chonic condition.

I know you’re out there somewhere!!

 If I’m not concerned about being with a man who has a child with a medical condition, then there just HAS to be single fathers’ out there who are unphased by a treatable condition being part of the package.

P.S. I have been composing this post for a few days now.In an incredible twist of fate, there is an exciting conclusion to my tale of woe!

 Lance ALWAYS greets our postman. As soon as he hears his motorbike approaching, he’s outside giving the postie all his latest news.

Today, Lance bought in the mail. It was bound together with a rubber band. As I flicked through it, a piece of loose paper with the Australia Post letterhead fluttered to the floor.

It read:

“Hi, I’m Thomas, your postman. Would you care to have dinner sometime? I’d like to get to know you and your boy is welcome to come too. Speaking to him is the highlight of my day, he’s one amazing kid. He mentioned that he thinks your (sic) lonely. Well, so am I. I have always wanted to date a redhead.Lance assures me that you’ll love to come on an adventure with me. Here’s my number. Leave a message if I don’t answer.. I really hope that you’ll ring and that I haven’t been too forward.

Regards, Tom.

PS. I’m so glad Lance got his pump. It’s pretty flash! I hope this makes life easier for you both now. I’d like to learn about it, too. T.”

My face aches from smiling. I’m going to call him tonight.

He was certainly right about something-Lance IS one amazing kid. 

 

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Behind Every Man Is A Good Woman-An Expose Into The Lives Of Two Women Fighting To Protect Their Loved One’s Survival.

I was blessed to meet Liz Yarker by sheer accident just over a year ago. From our very first conversation, we immediately clicked. In fact, two hours later, I was so overwhelmed that I had just listened to a stranger describe my life as a carer of a person with Diabetes. We silently established a strong and incredible friendship that night.

We still have that special “chemistry”, Liz and I. We are both passionate Diabetes Advocates, and would go to the ends of the earth to make life easier for each other. Liz’s husband, and my dear friend James, suffers from an incredibly complex, rare, challenging and cruel endocrine condition, known as APECED. He has numerous life threatening conditions- Type 1 Diabetes and Addison’s Disease to name the worst of many. His life depends on constant insulin infusions, and consuming countless tablets a day. Liz has recently had to make the difficult decision to stop working, as James’s condition has become even more vulnerable, and without her constant care, she was petrified of coming home and finding him unconscious..or worse. She would often have to call work just as she was due to commence and inform them that James had suffered a severe hypoglycaemic attack and needed constant care for the rest of the day.

Fast foward to the past month…more health concerns have arisen. Liz and James are absolutely inspirational considering the devastating news that they were bludgeoned around the head with. Liz and I are both young women, who have bright futures ahead of us. However, it has been only recently that we realised that we are very much trapped…alone..and isolated. (Liz lives at the bottom of the Southern Henisphere in Tasmania, whilst I am residing near Brisbane. We rely heavily on MSN Messenger to communicate!) We compiled these questions together, and answered them individually. Being a carer of a 24 year old man, or in my case, a seven year old boy may sound like a slight inconvenience. This interview has been compiled and published to crack that myth wide open, and so that others’ can get an insight into what we do to on a daily basis to keep our loved ones’ alive.

Lizzie, describe yourself in five words..
Impatient, friendly, reliable, loving and caring

How has being a carer for James changed who you are, and where you thought you would be as a 26 year old woman?
I feel like I am more of a nag than I would like to be. I thought that at 26 I would be working full time as an Occupational Therapist. I recently got approved for the carers pension and I was so excited! I never thought I’d be so excited to be on a pension.

Do you feel that people who aquire Diabetes at a stage of life where they don’t need full time care are aware of what goes into caring for James?
I don’t think many people at all are aware of the care I provide.

How difficult is it for you to have time that is specifically set out for YOU?

Almost impossible. I don’t really have any time for myself at all anymore. Whenever I am doing anything part of my brain is thinking about where James is, what he is doing, if I can hear him – and if I can’t is it because he is just being quiet or because he is unconscious.

Do you feel naked without a glucometer in your handbag? Yes! My handbag has at least quadrupled in size lately. I never go anywhere without a glucometer, glucagon, solu-cortef, a can of drink and a few muesli bars.

Do you think that if a group of twenty people of various ages and backgrounds were asked about Diabetes and what they knew about it, that they would consider it ridiculous for a person with Type 1 Diabetes to receive a carers payment?

Yes. In my experience most people who have any knowledge of diabetes think that it’s a simple matter of changing your diet, having a tablet, or at worst injecting some insulin and you are ‘fixed’.

When you are so used to picking up the pieces of a severe hypoglycaemic attack where the reading is between 1 and 2mmol/L, does it frustrate you when you hear or read about other’s who talk about a hypo, and catagorizing it as ‘severe’ and their blood sugar level reading was 5mmol/L, do you feel like you are talking about the same condition?
It is very frustrating! I think the thing that annoys me the most is that it makes me so jealous! I would love to be able to complain about a severe hypo of 4 or 5!

How do you feel when you receive almost no support from diabetes specialists? I don’t expect support from diabetes specialists, I feel that they don’t really know what it is like to live with diabetes as another member of the family.

Would you justify that the following statement is correct? James’s diabetes as a whole is almost like a fingerprint-in other words, no two cases are the same?

It is correct.

What do you hope that the future holds for you and James? I hope that we can both get back to work. It’s probably an unrealistic hope but it’s still my hope.

If you were not on alert continuously, do you believe that James could get through the day without you? Yes and no. I reckon he could make it through one day – if he didn’t have a hypo or an Addisonian crisis, and he remembered to have his tablets. However, the chances of this happening is pretty slim so no.

Do you go through periods where you feel like you are totally overwhelmed with so much see-sawing and sleeplessness? Yes. I get frustrated and annoyed at APECED. I get cranky when I am sleep deprived and so that doesn’t help matters.

How does your role of caring impact on your role of being James’s wife? Caring comes first. When we are talking and something doesn’t make sense, I think about his level.

Can you go out by yourself without making contact with James to ensure that he is ok? No! I have to message him or ring him to make sure that he hasn’t gone to have a sleep and his level has dropped. When I was working I used to have my mobile on me all the time so that I could check in.

Do you have the ability to vent your frustrations and fears about living under such vulnerable circumstances? I vent to you, Katey, and to Dan. I sometimes vent to James – but that is hard and it is usually only when I am incredibly frustrated. It is hard to talk to James about my frustration and fear without him feeling like it is all his fault and I make sure he knows that it’s not him I am frustrated with.

Do you believe that a General Practitioner would have any idea about what your life is like as a carer for James? Our current GP does. He is really good and knows how much care James needs. Normally though I wouldn’t believe that a GP would know what I do. Considering they mostly have never heard of APECED, the wouldn’t know how much work it takes.

Do you feel like you have Type 1 Diabetes? Yes. I actually think it would be much easier for me to handle if I had it, rather than being a carer for someone with it.

Because you can’t FEEL what a hypoglycaemic episode is like, do you feel discriminated against by the diabetic community because you don’t have diabetes, yet you treat them constantly and help James to pull through them? YES! I may not have physically felt a hypo but I know the symptoms, I have used glucagon, I know how to treat a hypo, how many carbs to give. I do the work to fix the hypo. I get hurt by comments made when James is hypo and then have to try and forget them because they aren’t ‘real’ comments, they are the comments of a sugar deprived brain.

Does anyone else with Diabetes have the right to make assumptions about how James is reacting to a hypo? No. No one with diabetes knows how anyone else with diabetes experiences the condition. They have more right than someone without diabetes, who has no real knowledge of it, but they still have no right. Did that make sence?

Do you have a instant kindredship with other carers of loved ones with Type 1 Diabetes? Not always… it depends on how diabetes affects their loved one. If they are the carer of a person who has ‘severe’ hypos of 4 – then I have little in common with them.

What about carers who call themselves Type 3 Diabetics? How do you feel about that? I don’t know anymore how I feel about type 3 diabetes. I feel like James’s diabetes is also my diabetes, so how could he have type 1, and I have type 3. It’s a clever name and does help to explain the extent that carers are affected by diabetes, but I think that it will add to the confusion over the types.

Do you feel that carers get enough support? No. I think that carers of people with severe physical disabilities get more support – with respite available to them, but people who care for people with diabetes don’t get enough support.

Do you feel that the visually disturbing, heartbreaking and challenging situations that present themselves in a person with Diabetes would be enough to traumatise their carer? For sure. It is very traumatic to see your loved one unconscious – and to have to try and calmly deal with it is impossible. Knowing that each time we get into bed, I could wake up with James unconscious next to me, makes me never want to go to sleep.

Do you think that the diabetic community take into consideration situations such as: sitting on top of your thrashing child to give them a sugary drink, administering glucagon injections to a person who is clearly conscious and disorientated, receiving physical injuries whilst trying to treat a hypo, or even being all alone with no one to help you whilst you wait second by second for James’s eyes to flicker open? I think they think about it, they are grateful for people who help them, but I don’t think they stop to think about the affect of their hypo on their loved ones. I don’t think that they CAN think about it – because I know if I was in their shoes I wouldn’t want to consider the impact of my condition on my loved ones. It is horrible that people need to go through hypos and experience the after effects of them, but carers go through a lot too. I am the one who gets hurt by comments made when hypo, I am the one who has to stick a huge needle into James’s leg, I need to put him into the recovery position, I have to watch to make sure he keeps breathing, I need to watch the clock to know when to ring an ambulance if the glucagon doesn’t work, I need to check James’s level every minute to see which direction it is going, I need to get the soft drink and straw and make sure James is able to drink it without choking on it. I am responsible for saving his life – and I am expected to do it calmly. While all this is happening James has no idea what is going on. His first idea that anything different has happened is when he wakes up and sees the glucagon box.

Because you don’t have diabetes, do you feel as if you don’t have the right to make comments or compare situations with those that do have diabetes? I feel that my comments aren’t taken seriously and that I don’t know what I’m talking about – but I still make comments and compare situations.

Does the carer’s allowance seem paltry to you, considering how much of your day is devoted to caring for James? YES! Carers live off a wage that is $200 less than the federal minimum wage yet we work 24/7. When I was working I was getting paid more than I do now – and I was only working part-time!

Do you have anyone who could step into your shoes if a situation arose? Not in Tasmania. If anything major happened I know that my family and James’s would try to step into them – but so much has changed with his care lately.

Do you fear for your own health and safety, knowing how much James depends on you to survive? Yes. I worry about getting sick and having to go to hospital myself.

When you are asked to provide your job description, and you reply “full time carer”, do you feel as if people are quietly judging you and James? Well in this case I am lucky to live in Tasmania. Before I had to stop work I worked as an assistant nurse in a nursing home – a position which is referred to as a ‘carer’ here in Tasmania. So people assume that’s what I still do.

Despite your complete devotion and adoration of James, on your 21st birthday, what dreams and hopes did you have for yourself at this stage of your life? When I was 21, I was still studying Early Childhood Education so I guess I thought I would be working as a teacher in a long day care centre, and probably have a kid of my own by now as well. I definitely never thought I’d give up work at 26 to become a full time carer to my husband.

When James needs hospitalization, how does it make you feel when hospital staff ask you what “you would do in this situation” or ask you to monitor BSLs?

As James has a very rare and complicated condition, I actually prefer if they ask me what to do – because they mostly have no idea of what needs to be done! This is a bit distressing – but it is unrealistic to think that every doctor and every nurse would know about APECED considering its rarity. We haven’t been asked to monitor BSL’s but I do. I also usually have to remind the nurses to complete all the necessary observations which makes me worry about what happens when I go home.

Do carers have a light at the end of the tunnel to look forward to? Realistically probably not. I like to hope that there is, but for me my job will only end if someone discovers a cure for diabetes, Addison’s disease, hypoparathyroidism, and pernicious anaemia! Carers of children can hope that as the child grows up they will be able to take over more of their own care, or that they will find someone who loves them and will care for them. Other than that the only way a carer will stop caring is when the person they are caring for is no longer around – an outcome none of us want to think of.

Does the average Australian give enough credit to an everyday person who has given up their quality of life to ensure that their loved ones are cared for appropriately? No. And that is reflected by the state of carer payments.

Does the term “carer” equate to “unemployed” in the opinions of some?

Yes.

Professor Robert Cummins (Deakin University) says of the results of his study into carer wellbeing: “We have been doing research in this area for more than six years … and I’m not aware of any group that has ever been found to have a wellbeing score as low as carers”. Professor Cummins also said that the average wellbeing score for Australians sat between 73 and 76, while the average score for carers was 58.5; for those who resided with their frail, disabled or mentally ill spouse, parent or child, the score was 58.4.” What do you think contributes to this? Most carers don’t choose to be carers. They have the job thrust upon them when something causes their loved one to require care. I think that the lack of choice, coupled with the restrictions imposed upon then as a result of caring, result in lower wellbeing. Carers are isolated, and live on a wage that is lower than the federal minimum wage, they work when they are sick, work overtime, and they feel guilty when they take time out for themselves.

When you describe yourself as a carer, have you had the experience where people assume that James is disabled or mentally retarded? As I mentioned earlier people in Tassie assume that I am a worker in a nursing home when I say I am a carer!

How much of your day is taken up by carer responsibilities? All of it. Even when I am doing other things I am thinking about James, what his level is, what he is doing, what he has eaten, why he is quiet, did he have his tablets?, when did I last put his eye drops in and therefore when is he due for more eye drops, did he bolus for the food he ate, is his infusion site working, when does that need changing again?

Do you think James is aware of how much stress, time and commitment is required to perform you daily duties? Yes he is. I try to make sure he knows… in a way that doesn’t make him feel bad about how much stress I feel.

Have you ever had someone flat out disagree with your knowledge of diabetes and how it affects James? Yes. Especially disagreeing with my knowledge. Being a carer in a nursing home was frustrating as the RNs had the final say and would question my ability to treat hypos in the elderly residents. I remember once being on nightshift and having to argue with the RN on duty to perform extra BSL checks overnight on a resident who had just started a new long acting insulin. She refused to believe that I knew anything about the insulin – even though she knew James has diabetes.

When you have concluded reading this interview, Liz has probably performed one of her many duties that so many take for granted. Her mind may be racing with thoughts of how the next hour will pan out. It’s NEVER ENDING. There are no holidays, no time off, no special privileges.. it’s a constant battle against the revolt in James’s body that causes these reactions to occur. At the age of 26, Lizzie is nothing short of a heroine that I have grown to admire and cherish.

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A Complete Day In My Life-From Beginning to Blessed End.

8.00am: I am shaken awake by Lance. I have to literally pry my eyes open with my fingers to prevent myself lapsing back into slumberland.

8.05am: Fingerprick number 1 of the day. This will determine how much insulin I need to give Lance to keep him safely scooting along. It’s 9.5 mmol/L, which I was pleased with.

8.10am:  I shuffle to the kitchen, where I pass a yawning Luna. When he knows I am headed for “food room” he bounds ahead of me, and begins horrible tom cat meowing. Then I hear “pat pat pat pat” behind me, it is Chino. He has just had a morning tussle with Lance, but is now urgently looking at the front door. I scurry to the door, let him out to do his business, wait for him to come in again and shut the door. I get two bowls and dispense Luna’s food, Lance dispenses Chino’s and I take Luna out of the room to eat behind a sliding door. Chino inhales his food, and then is taken outside as he enjoys a quick bask in the morning sun.

8.30am: The pets are always best to feed first. With full bellies, they are much more docile and pleasant to be around. However, now the debate with Lance begins. He must take oral medication daily for his newly diagnosed gastro reflux disorder, and he still finds a reason every day as to why he should not have it. (Granted, it is repugnant to the tastebuds, in flavour and texture.) We decide on toast with peanut butter. Half way through making it, he asks if he can have one slice with jam. I pour a glass of pure fruit juice, grab 1 multivitamin, 1 fluoride tablet and 2 calcium capsules and place them on his breakfast tray. I note that his medication is still sitting untouched. AGAIN, I explain that he will have pain and discomfort whilst eating if he does not comply with the doctor’s directions. He huffs and puffs and throws it down his throat, slamming the medicine cup on the table in disgust. I know it’s not directed at me. It’s just one more unpleasant thing for him to have to endure everyday. During the consumption of breakfast, I dial up the correct amounts of insulin and hand them to him. He gives himself two injections without a wince or a blink, and lets me know when he has finished with them. I dispense of the sharps, and replace the insulin. He takes his plates to the kitchen sink. I often have to stand and watch him drink ALL of his juice. It is the the key ingredient in getting him to morning tea without any glitches.

9.00am: We both undress from our pyjamas. Lance asks if he can stay in his pyjamas because his shirt has Optimus Prime on the front, therefore, making him feel more “powerful.” He then looks for his beloved karate pants. and upon discovering that they are in the washing basket, he looks through his closet, and grabs something that will match his shirt. His metrosexual tendencies have been handed down from his Dad. Colour co-ordination is a must.

9.10am: We bring Chino in and let him know it’s time for school.

9.15am: We begin official school procedings. We start with a fingerprick, and then recite the words to Advance Australia Fair. (It’s in the curriculum..sigh.) We then begin our addition and subtraction tables. I throw random questions at him to catch him off guard, he never skips a beat.

9.45am: We commence four pages of Word Building in which compound words, silent letters and Capital letters are discussed. He makes my heart melt as I see that huge pencil in his little hand, the concentration etched into his face.

10.15am: Morning Tea. I have prepared a gluten free slice the evening before, and we both sit together and enjoy a piece. I ensure that Lance has a big glass of water as his blood sugar level is 14.5mmol/L.

10.30am: We go outside and learn about primary colours. Lance doesn’t like his hands to be dirty, so he isn’t the biggest fan of paint. We then practise throwing the ball to each other to improve his hand and eye coordination. The ball lands on Lance’s Favourite Neighbour’s roof. Sigh.

 10.45am: Reading. Lance is a whiz at reading. The only words that trip him up are “through”, “though” and “thorough.” He is expected to sit on the floor and listen to one chapter of an unillustrated book. We then have comprehension questions and discuss the characters in the story. He will then draw a picture of his representation of what I read. It is then his turn to read aloud to me. He is aware of punctuation, and I adore that he doesn’t read in a monotonal, deadpan voice, he prefers to give animated voices to each character, complete with body language. He learns that he must be a  lion when reading, not a mouse. Project, project, project that voice!!!

11.30am: Lance is looking restless and pale. I stop everything and reach for the glucometer. We need an early lunch, as Lance had a rapid decline to 3.2mmol/L.

11.31am: 6 Jelly Babies are given to get sugar levels up quickly. I then heat up earlier-prepared gluten free pasta with tomato based sauce and a chunk of gluten free sour dough bread. Both of these items are low GI so I hope that this will pull him through to at least 2pm.

12.00pm: Lunchtime. We already did that, so we do some yoga and bicep curls instead. Let Chino out for a frolic and a chicken wing.

12.45pm: Let Chino back in and let him know that it’s back to work. I look at him with envy as he curls up in his cushy bed and twitches whilst in the deepest of sleep. Lance is bored with the workbook we are doing, and wants to skip to the next step. I tell him that he needs to finish the test to send in to his school. He flies through the work and finishes the test. I realise I have to order more workbooks.

12.50pm: Indian telemarketer calls telling me that I have won a mobile phone. “I’m sorry, I don’t have the time…”beep beep beep beep.

12.52pm: Take Lance to the computer desk for a change of scenery. I get him to show me step by step how to turn on the monitor, the computer, and sit comfortably in the chair. He is able to get to “Favourites” and find our “Learn to type” program. I gently remind him that he needs to place his fingers on the home row. He snaps, “I know! I was just about to do it. Um, sorry, Mum.” He practises typing ‘Dear Mr Rudd (enter enter enter) We need a cure.  (enter enter enter) From Lance.(enter) JDRF Youth Ambasserder. I don’t even attempt to destroy how well he has done by telling him that he spelt a word wrong in his very prestigious title. He shows me how to exit the program, and turn off the computer safely. We collect his printed letter and place it with his other work to be sent off to school.

1.30pm: We learn about the country of Sudan. We find it on the map, and practice writing it and spelling it out aloud. “Soodan.” The English Language is so ridiculous. He is given activity sheets that show how to identify their cultural dress, what a typical family looks like, what food and drinkable water is available, and the physical characteristics of a Sudanese person. Lance dresses up as an Sudanese boy, and looks in amazement of the mystery that is Arabic script.  I read a story borrowed from the library about a Sudanese grandfather sharing a story about the beauty and wonder of Africa with his grandchildren. Lance asks possibly 20 questions as to how they survive with no electricity in some homes.

2pm: Spelling test. Lance sharpens his pencil and lines up his collection of erasers. He has 20 words to spell correctly, write neatly, and in the lines in order to get 1 mark per answer. He gets 19 out of 20. “Cook” is the word that trips him up. He explains that Kookaburra is not spelt with a “C” so why shouldn’t “Cook” be spelt with a “K”? Again, the English language. Tough to explain to kids of his age who are brimming over with questions.

2.20pm:Finger prick test. 7.2mmol/L. I pat myself on the back for doing well with lunch.

2.25pm: We practice drawing in straight lines, and then cutting along them. Lance makes a woven mat with strips of coloured paper. He asks why I got him to do such a “babyish” activity. I explain that it was an activity to show how well he can follow instructions.

2.45pm:I ask him how to spell Sudan. I ask him how to spell Cook. We finish with a fast game of Simon Says. He is tough to trip up.

2.58pm-The “bell” goes off. Lance helps me tidy the “learning centre” so that it is ready for tomorrow.

3.10pm:BSL-4.2mmol/L. Lance refuses to believe that the glucometer is correct. I am astounded when he actually insists on setting up his other glucometer to see if it is actually a correct reading. It says 3.7mmol/L. He looks dejected and disappointed.  He has 2 peaches, 2 plums and a home made muesli bar. I insist he has his second big glass of water for the day. He applies sunscreen and hat, and races straight for the trampoline. Chino is at my feet, staring up at me with his sad brown eyes. I spend some time reviewing general obedience with him in order to earn his afternoon treat. After much praise and a hug, Chino bounds out the to the backyard to engage in tug-of-war and races up the driveway with Lance. I put a fresh bowl of water at the front and the back of the house for the dog and the cat.

 3.30pm: Lance has a very recognisable and loud voice, and I hear him chattering at the front gate with two boys on their bikes. One of them says, “Do you go to school?” Lance replies,”Yeah, I’m in Year 2 at Home School.” I smirk to myself as the boy asks where Home School is.

3.35pm:I start making a batch of lemon and poppyseed muffins. I quickly whip up the mixture and put them in the oven. I then disect a cob of corn, some carrots, sweet potato, beans and place them in a sealproof container for easy preparation for dinner. I discovered today that Chino likes raw beans.

3.50pm– Lance is gossiping with His Favourite Neighbour. He tells her about the ball incident. More disturbingly, I discover that he has learnt to read incoming messages on my mobile phone, and he recalls word-for-word a message from “Steve.” His Favourite Neighbour asks who Steve is, and Lance replies, “I don’t know, but I’ll be sure to let you know when I find out.”

4.00pm:Lance is called inside and given a talk about reading other people’s private information. He instantly understands and replies “Whoops…” very quietly. “Sorry Mum.” I give him permission to leave. I give Chino permission to leave too.

4.05pm:I order some new workbooks for Lance over the internet. Look over some received emails. Look up how to put a lock on my mobile phone.

4.15pm:I make my daily call to my parents to ensure that everything is ok. It is.

4.30pm:I get a call from Ophelia, asking me if I would like to have coffee with her that night. I am so envious that despite also being a single mother, she is able to leave her children with their Dad at anytime. I explain that I haven’t had much notice, so I couldn’t get a babysitter. She suggests bringing Lance along too. I briefly consider and then quickly decline. Ophelia has some adventures that aren’t suitable for little curious ears.

4.45pm:I check the mail box. Nothing exciting, except a copy of Lance’s latest health report from his doctor. I have to send it to his School. I shudder when I read the detailed description that is given of Lance’s recent gastrocopy findings and decide that it is best for me not to continue reading. I put it in a envelope and ask Lance to accompany me to the post box before 5pm.

4.50pm: We show Chino his coat and lead, and he immediately runs and waits for us at the gate. I do a double check that I have enough hypo supplies. I grab the letter, the hypo bag, and Lance gets Chino ready for his outing. The walk to the postbox is peppered with homes with highly territorial dogs, all that know us only too well, but continue to bark ferociously anyway. Lance drops the letter in the postbox and we cross the road and call in at the NDSS pharmacy to get some more insulin pen needles and lancets. I am asked if I am “stockpiling” lancets and pen needles, as the computer says that I shouldn’t have run out yet. I have to sign a declaration form acknowledging that we perform 10 fingerpricks a day, and sometimes up to 7 injections a day. Sigh.

5.25pm: Chino heads straight to his water bowl as soon as he is de-coated and de-leashed. I have 30 minutes to make dinner. Chino and Luna feast on chicken breast.

6.06pm- I serve a vegetable medley, potatoes au gratin with a pan cooked chicken breast for us both. We have a muffin each for dessert. I take a bite and discover that they are positively vile. Lance is picking the top off his. I tell him to do the best he can with it, and endure the hideous taste of whatever ingredient is used to disguise the blandness of some coeliac packet mix products. We are still adjusting to a gluten free diet. Food tastes SO much better with wheat…

6.20pm: I realise that Lance did not consume enough carbs in his evening meal. I go much lighter on his long acting insulin and 1 unit less on his rapid acting insulin. I serve low fat ice cream with fruit salad. Lance is doubled over with stomach pains. He cannot bear to touch his dessert. I prepare his dose of medicine-he surprisingly drinks it, which lets me know that it actually must help. I sit beside him, and massage his legs until the cramps subside. I am expecting a hypo soon. I give him a glucose tablet and praise him for having his medicine without creating a huge deal.

7.00pm: I help Lance with washing his hair. He tells me that the hot water feels good on his tummy. I can’t help but feel angry that he has to endure pain. He is starting to associate food with pain- a thought that terrifies me immensely.

7.30pm: Lance is dressed in his pyjamas, and I let him watch a DVD of his choice. Chino knows that Lance is down in spirits. He sits beside him and rests his head on Lance’s knee. Lance begs me to come and see how cute they look together. He asks for a photo, I oblige, only to discover flat batteries. I quickly slip them out and place them on charge.  I have two students from 7.30 until 9pm. They are both late. I hear Lance whimpering during the tutorial. I allow 10 minutes extra to each student for the inconvenience of me popping in and out of the room.

9.30pm: I make Lance some popcorn with gluten free icing sugar. He washes it down with a glass of Apple and Pear Juice, as he is 2.1 mmol/L.  He refuses every suggestion I offer him. We settle on vege chips, he is allowed 10 of them which equates to 1.5 serves of carbohydrates.

9.45pm: DVD is turned off. Lance is yawning up a storm. I prepare his toothbrush, and he does a very ordinary job of cleaning his teeth. I cannot allow him to go to bed with half-brushed teeth, so I ask him very gently if he will let me do it for him. He nods his head, and I realise that he is still only a baby, living in a world that is full of restrictions and regiment. He opens his mouth as I thoroughly clean his new teeth, back teeth and check for mouth ulcers etc. I then floss his teeth for him.

10.00pm: Lance chooses 2 books. I read one to him, he reads one to me. I find my eyes struggling to stay open as I listen to his sentences. I then drag some energy from somewhere and read him two chapters of “Captain Underpants.” I conclude with a bsl-17.6mmol/L. This is what happens when I tinker with insulin, even if it is to prevent a hypo. Lance ends up with a hyper instead. His body is used to the same dose, and reacts to extremes if  I change the routine. I give 1 unit of Novorapid, in the hope that his 2am test is less that 12mmol/L. He dozes off, and then is suddenly fast asleep.

10.20pm: I let Chino out for his pre-bedtime eliminations, he feels the bite of  cold wind and quickly runs up the stairs, curls up in his nest and gives a loud groan that almost suggests relief to be in a soft, warm bed.

 10.30pm: I check to see if anyone is on MSN Messenger and is willing to chat. The only people other than Lance I have spoken to today were the Indian telemarketer, my parents and Ophelia. Fortunately, some friends who live without Diabetes are online. I get my second wind and engage in cyber chat for a while. I usually stay up until 2am to do Lance’s final blood test. If I go to sleep, 90% of the time I turn off the alarm without even knowing it.

Midnight: I begin the lesson plan for the next day. I search the internet for creative ideas. I make up some cardboard signs to put on our world map. I plot Lance’s readings for the day into Sugarstats.com.

1am: I sweep and polish the floorboards, and clean the kitchen thoroughly. I usually do my washing at this time also. It is actually peaceful and calming to hang out clothes on the washing line in the night .My cat rubs up against my legs and we spend some time together.

1.3oam:I contemplate having a shower. I decide to do it.

1.32pm:I hear footsteps. Are they human or canine…they are both.

1.33pm: I jump into a robe and help my son find the toilet. I ask him to wee on a ketone strip. He has a small amount of ketones. His breath smells like Fruit Tingles soaked in Nail Polish Remover. He tells me he has no saliva in his mouth. I give him a bottle of water, and prepare an injection of insulin. He needs it desperately, because he is 22.3mmol/L. I want to sit on the floor and cry.

1.45am: I carry him back to bed and contemplate how much insulin I should give. I decide upon 3 units of Novorapid and 2 units of Levemir. Lance’s legs are aching-a sure sign that he is hyper. I ask him if he wants a warm shower, however he can barely stand. I turn the electric blanket on and rub his legs whilst I study his face. He is staring straight ahead, looking at nothing in particular. The water is going down like he has been bushwalking in 35 degree heat. I give a children’s Nurofen tablet which really helps with the leg pains.

2.00am:I realise I am still in my bathrobe. I got a bum deal in the shower tonight…I get into my pyjamas.

2.05am:Lance is chattering loudly, and I remind him of the time. I read him a few more chapters of Captain Underpants.

2.30am:I try to find a finger that isn’t covered in fresh dots. Lance tells me that finger pricks don’t really hurt like they used to. I don’t know how to feel about that. He grabs the lancet device and does the “click” for me.

2.31am: Hmm. A drop of a whole 3mmol/L. I want to scream at the glucometer as it flashes “Check Ketones.” Lance needs to use the toilet again. I can smell ketones on the sheets and pillow cases.

2.40am: We are both giggling at Chino, who is “running” in his sleep. He has dreams where he sounds traumatised-as if he is in a brawl with a Great Dane. He audibly whimpers in his sleep. Lance roars with laughter. I give him a gentle shake, it’s no use the three of us being trapped in a nightmare.

3.00am:BSL: 16.6mmol/L. Lance is yawning. I do a blood test to check for ketones and they have cleared. Lance has to be up for swimming in 6 hours. I have to be up to get ready for swimming in 5 hours.

3.10am: I turn off the last burning light in the house. Lance is talking about spiders on a single strand of web, pole dancing down onto our faces. I remind him that we have just recently had the pest man spray our home for spiders..little does he know but we have had a redback plague. I found dead spiders everywhere for days after the pest man did his job. My mind wandered off, hoping that the fumes he is exposed to everyday don’t cause any problems with his health. My memory jolts back to a statement he made about his 2 year old suffering from a rare neurological disease, and an eye problem. Why does my mind go to these places? I think it’s commonly referred to as hysteria.

3.2opm:There has been silence and no movement for 10 minutes. “Mum, do you know how many attack points Blue Eyes White Dragon has? Mum? Ohhhhhh.” I had to let him know through silence that I was beyond the point of exhaustion. He was soon breathing heavily after 5 minutes. That’s the last thing I remember.

 

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Dear Birthday Fairy…

I turn 31 on Monday.

31 candles.

I am sitting here pondering about how living with diabetes has changed ME.

Sometimes, I find it difficult to remember how I was. That’s okay though..the whole circle of life thing..I accept that we all go through different stages in our life, it is just really infuriating that I REALLY liked who and where I was before the diagnosis.

I used to be a crazy op-shopper. I’m not talking about Mary-Kate Olsen boho gear, but I loved the thrill of the chase. Finding a designer bargain in my size that some old love had marked down to $2 would see me skipping down the street, chuckling with glee.

I used to walk for miles, exploring the beauty of Brisbane’s southern suburbs, arms full of mangoes, bags spilling over with frangipanis.

I used to visit an old Lebanese man in his shop. He made the most incredible turkish delight and baklava..we used to chat about anything and everything.

Speaking of which, I used to talk a lot more, too. People who know me will think that’s a scary prospect, but I spend too many hours just reflecting these days.

The excitable, girlish trill in my voice is no longer present; I’m too tired to even fake it.

Knowing that five years has already passed doesn’t overwhelm me.

Knowing that Lance has Diabetes doesn’t overwhelm me.

Knowing that he is growing up before my eyes doesn’t overwhelm me.

But the fact that I was a happy, life-loving, free-spirited 25 year old, who had just started living the life I had carved out for myself, does overwhelm me. My marriage ended, the laughter ended, and, just like that, it was all about Lance, me, and a tiny box named “insulin.” That’s it.

SO…. 31. Single. Looking. The beginning of the ascend to 40. At the end of the day, I still have to measure up insulin, prepare food, be wary that Lance doesn’t scoff too much cake on the side and spend the day monitoring him whilst flashing the occasional faux smile.

I’m not complaining, or feeling sorry for myself; I’m just telling it how it is.

Oh Birthday Fairy, please send me an original and exceptional  man who will love me for who I am, love Lance for who he is, and accept Diabetes as merely a bunp in the road when it comes to the grand scheme of things.

Handling and raising an energetic and incredible child is a joy. When the sugar levels aren’t where they should be, that’s when I really miss a pair of loving, warm arms to scoop me up and and give me some sugar. (And I don’t mean nutra sweet either!) I want the real deal, become I could desperately use a little lovin’.

I dare you, Birthday Fairy…send me my man before I’m 32. (31-and-a-half would be preferable!!)

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