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“Mummy I have something to tell you”: A tale of diabetes

“Mummy, I have something to tell you.”

My eldest daughter stood in front of me with tears glistening in her eyes, her pale face seemed wracked with worry and I couldn’t imagine what she was going to say.

Then she spoke and I listened and my mouth fell open with shock as I couldn’t believe the words she was saying. My little baby girl had kept a secret, a huge one, one that could have hurt her, broken her and led her back to hospital, and she had kept the secret safe through fibs, fibs which she told to me.

Let me rewind by a week, and preface this article by telling you how amazing my oldest child is.  First out of the womb by a matter of minutes she is my sensible girl, my ballet dancer, my darling daughter who so far to date has pushed a needle in her body over 700 times to fight the bastard that is Type1 diabetes that lives inside her.

A week ago and I would have told you that we had it cracked, that between us, Molly and me, we had sorted diabetes well and proper.  I can carbohydrate count at the speed of light and she can work out insulin levels.  She can catch hypos before they fully impact and I have bought Tesco’s out of Haribo.  At her last diabetes appointment we were told she has a HaB1C level of 6.4, if this sounds Chinese to you it simply means we have controlled her blood sugar so well that she is normal, healthy, kicking the arse of diabetes.

In my eyes we were coping well, diabetes wasn’t dominating my thoughts, it was more sitting on the sidelines, popping up at meal times for a moment and then being quickly pushed aside by the plunge of a needle.

Then last week began; let me remind you a normal blood sugar reading (as taken by a finger prick test) is between 4-8.  Anything less than 4 is hypo and needs treating with sugar anything higher than 8 is hyper, most parents know what that is like, but in a diabetic hypers can lead to keytones and keytones are nasty little feckers that break down your body in an attempt to flush out the excess sugar.  High sugar levels mean poorly controlled diabetes.  Poorly controlled diabetes means more chance of heart diseases, coma, ill health and premature death.

Medical lesson over.

So last week began, and it started with a blood sugar reading of 19, that crept to 22 and refused to go down.  I looked at my daughter with anxiety hidden in my eyes, I looked for a sign of illness, a cold or sickness bug that was bringing on high sugars and instead I saw a girl in perfect health staring right back at me.

The week continued and her blood sugar continued to fly high in the teens and twenties, I spoke to the hospital at least once a day, I went into school to test to see if keytones were in her body and I found them waiting.  In my imagination I saw my daughters internal organs being feasted upon by sugar and a swarm of keytones and I worried, stressed and called our outstanding nursing team some more.  Nights gave way to three hourly blood tests and sleep became a distance friend as I lay awake trying to figure it out, to see what we were doing wrong.

Then here we are, back to now, back to my daughter standing in front of me telling me she had something to say.

She dropped her gaze to the floor,

“I know why I am high,” she whispered

“I don’t do my morning insulin anymore, the long lasting one, it hurts Mummy.’

And with that revelation she sobbed into my arms.

Anger rose inside of me, not at her but fully directed internally, how I had missed the wince of pain when she put her insulin inside her.  Why had I let a seven year old newly diagnosed diabetic assume full control of administering her life saving medicine?

I was disappointed, not in her but solely in me.  I want so very much for this condition to not hinder her in any way, for her to manage it and control it independently that I have stepped right away and put trust in a small little girl who still doesn’t fully comprehend why she has to do it.

My daughter is amazing, she realised very quickly that her body needs the insulin she was withholding and she told me without fear of retribution.

As always I remind very proud, and finally, a little bit wiser.

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Comments

  1. You are an amazing team. And the fact that she felt able to come and tell you what was going on means you should be proud of yourself as a Mum, not disappointed in yourself. That’s some pretty awesome trust right there. You’ve brought up a good, smart brave ‘un. Big love, between the two of you you will totally deal with this wee setback xx

  2. Hello
    Just a thought, is the long lasting insulin insulin Glargine / Lantus? It has a reputation to sting and be a bit unpleasant, I heard this from our diabetes specialist nurse and other parents too. Maybe ask your diabetes nurse about levemir / insulin detemir it doesn’t sting apparently. Our 7 year old has levemir and hasn’t reported stinging.
    Good luck

  3. You and Molly are both so brave and so amazing, an inspiration to all. I read this with tears in my eyes, I can’t imagine how much it must hurt you both in different ways. Thank goodness for Molly’s honesty!x

  4. you’re both so brave and clearly have such a tight relationship. Well done Molly for fessing up and as parents we’re always learning so don’t beat yourself up Jane xxx

  5. So this post made me cry- what a brave little girl. Mine will be 7 in June and I can not even imagine what you’re going through, what you’re both going through. Happy she came to you- trust is an amazingly powerful thing.

  6. She is amazing and doing so well at handling this thing. You are amazing too…it’s. really tough thing to accept but I hope it does become an easy thing to manage. Xx

  7. Bless her, and you. You are doing so well and it’s a learning curve for you all. So telling that she felt able to tell you.
    H x

  8. It speaks volumes of just how good a mum you must be if she felt able to tell you this and not continue to hide it from you. Don’t be too hard on yourself. What you are going through must be scary for you all.

  9. Bless her, and I am now about to repeat all that has gone before by saying that it speaks volumes of your relationship that she can be open about what she wasn’t doing with you – that takes a lot of trust, and says so many great things about you as a mum!

  10. Molly and you are both amazing and don’t forget that. It such a hard juggle to letting it not be a big deal for Molly and letting life be as normal as possible, to letting her being independent and to not come off as a worrying Mum who is constantly watching.

    You both are still so new to this and it will get easier for both of you. Sure you will chat to the diabetic nurse about it hurting Molly there maybe something they can offer to help.

    Take care x x

  11. Jane, please don’t blame yourself, this is not one for blaming just for learning. My eldest is very responsible too, we naturally give him too much responsibility from time to time, so many times that could have back fired! With a responsible child it is right to stretch them and allow them to develop at a faster rate than others, you clearly have a great relationship for her to tell you and for you not to blame her. You are both an inspiration.

  12. Damn that smart arsed kid who the deck can blame her if it stings. I’d try that one too xxxxxx love you all cxxxx

  13. I guess the learning is never going to stop even when she’s an adult, you 2 must have a pretty great relationship though for her to come and talk to you like that.

  14. oh bless her it must be so hard. Good that she has come to you though. Hope all improves xxx

  15. Sorry to hear about your daughter. Keep the open dialogue going with her that there is nothing to hide or be cross about. Our 11 year old son has had type 1 since he was 5 and occasionally he has unexplained high blood sugars, but often he will say, “sorry I just wanted a couple of glucose tabs so took some”. You can’t be mad at him, he’s only doing what other kids his age might do. Just far better that they talk openly about it without worrying they will get in trouble – last thing you want is for them to hide it.

    Another poster mentioned the type of basal insulin could be to blame. Our son was on Lantus for a good while and complained of it stinging so we moved on to Levemir, which he has found much more pleasant. Definitely worth speaking to your diabetes nurses about.

    Keep being strong, we remember what you are going through and reading about it, makes it seem like yesterday and the memories can still be raw.

  16. You are both such strong people having to go through so much. It hurt me to read this post because I cannot stand to see or hear children suffering, so I cannot imagine what you must be going through. Your daughter is lucky to have a mum like you who cares so much. Hope you both kick diabetes where it really hurts!

  17. The poor little thing. It really does speak volumes that she was able to come to you and tell you. Brave ladies! I hope shes back on the mend now x

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