Friday, December 16, 2011

Momtime #1: 18 years, baby

Oh, Kerri. I've no idea how you did it. Your Birdy was born and Six Until Me just kept chugging along as though things were exactly the same in the Sparling household. (Well, the same but with a way higher cuteness quotient, of course.) I'm impressed. These days, it seems as though just getting to work and home and back again is a feat worth a statue or two in some town square. So I've decided that old news is still news as far as I'm concerned - it's just on a different time continuum. Momtime. And in the spirit of observing and respecting the rules of Momtime, I'm just going to go ahead and post as though I'm not horrifyingly late in doing so. Whee!

Two weeks ago - December 2nd - was my 18th diaversary. The only thing I know for sure about this year's anniversary is that I was touched by the number of people who remembered it, who wished me well or asked if I'd had my annual sweet treat to commemorate the day. My diabetes is often invisible to those around me - I take care of myself, I don't ask for too many accommodations as far as food and drink go, and, I dunno, it just doesn't seem to come up. So when they remember without me breathing a word about the date, I know they've made an effort to remember something that's important to me...and that's pretty huge.

Naturally, B was one of those who remembered.

But that's about other people. That's not me. My own feelings are conflicted. Years ago, my big plan was to get a tattoo for my 15th diaversary. That year would mark my halfway point - I'd be living longer with diabetes than without it, and somehow that felt so huge to me. Then I was told I had mild retinopathy and my "Eff you, D!" attitude imploded. Once again, my body had failed me. My bad genes had kind of won out - I had complications now. It was diagnosis year all over again, and I was crushed.

So I never got that tattoo. Instead, I took stock of where I was. It wasn't where I wanted to be - no one wants complications, amiright? - but it could be a lot worse. My observation of the day became decidedly more conservative. It was no longer a 10-person outing to Serendipity for ice cream sundae dinners. Now it was an ice cream cone with B, or some friends over for snacks and movies. I was sad to lose my fearlessness, my sense of domination over a shitty hand that life dealt, but I knew there were more important things. Mild retinopathy was hardly the end of the world. It wasn't the beginning of the end. It was just life as a type 1 diabetic. You do what you can for wherever you are, and if that changes so do you.

So I shifted my focus from that halfway point and began the arduous process of  prepping for the great/terrifying adventure of pregnancy with diabetes. It wasn't flipping off my disease now. It was bargaining for a year where I felt in control so I could have a healthy baby. And now I'm on the other side of that. I did something that I thought I'd be unable to do (screw you, Nan). I did it with a lot of hard work (soul-crushing, mind-numbing hard work), and I did it despite this crappy disease. I feel a bit of pride about it, absolutely. But there's also that nagging voice in the back of my head that tells me it was luck, that I dodged a bullet. The more years I get under my belt as a Type 1, the more I feel like it's just a matter of time before something else goes wrong.

And that's really effing bleak. It's the unvarnished truth, but it doesn't sit so well. I'll keep on keeping on, of course, doing all my finger sticks, doctor appointments and the like. But I don't feel so sassy about it anymore. I just feel tired. Or bored. Or just over it already. I need a diabetes vacation, and I know I'm not the only one. So until we can get ourselves one of those, I'll just have a cupcake and a bolus, and  I'll salute all the other diabetics I know out there in the wide world who keep slogging through the day-to-day alongside me.


  1. I didn't do well after the baby was born. I just wrote about it all the time, but that didn't mean I had it under control. And I still don't. (Actually, reading your post reminded me of this post: That I wrote when Birdy was just a few weeks old and I was clueless, unshowered, and very troubled by my lack of control of ... everything.)

    I feel you on the "I'm just OVER it" sentiment. But, like you, I have to shake it off and continue to move forward. Because the other options aren't options.

    Anytime you need to talk, or to just put the phone up to your beautiful baby's ear and have her chat with my insane toddler, we're here for you. Happy diaversary, Karen. You're doing an amazing job - make sure you don't forget that.

  2. What an inspirational post! Thank you for sharing and for being so honest. My 18th diaversary is in February and I'm conflicted - I want to have a huge cupcake but I also want to ignore it. Congrats on the new baby and on 18 years!