Tuesday, September 25, 2012

T3s - I love you, but I don't understand you

It's been a hectic few weeks, so I've been quiet in a lot of places. (Except for my JDRF Walk nagging, natch.) I finally had a rare night to myself tonight with nothing to do, and thought "Holy hell, I need to go through my reader!" I had more than 300 posts to read through in my diabetes folder. Post after post from people who struggle like I do, who slog through the day-to-day bullshit, who sometimes have great days and sometimes have crap days, who love a nice Diet Pepsi, who understand what a high feels like and also what it means to wake up at 3am drenched in sweat. I feel such kinship with all of you because I am one of you. I have Type 1 diabetes. I didn't choose to have it, but I do and it has shaped my life and who I am as a person.

Now, you know I have a kiddo. (Bear with me - this does end up relevant!) Out of nowhere, our sweet tiny pixie all of a sudden has zero appetite. Every. single. meal. has become a battle. I feel like I'm counting peas and weighing sweet potatoes and oh, geez, did she drink 6 ounces of milk or was it 8 and is she going to wake up at midnight starving to death and how will we get her vitamins in her and omigod what about dehydration and I HATE THIS SO MUCH IT'S KILLING ME. It has been years since I have had such an incredible fixation on calories and food, and it feels just as emotionally draining as it did in college.

And that's the thing. I spend untold amounts of time worrying about what she will and won't eat, whether she weighs enough or not, on and on and on. She's just 14 months old, but she does have some control over herself - I can put food and drink in front of her all day long, but I can't force her to consume it. That's up to her and her alone.

So after reading post after post after post from the DOC people I've come to know and love, I realized that I'm actually worried about them. I wonder if so-and-so's feeling better after that endo appointment, how is Madame X doing with that insurance battle, is Mr. Y settling down after that pump disaster - I haven't met the majority of you, but I worry about you like you're my cubemate and I see you every single day. And if I feel this way about people I know rather remotely, how in the hell do T3s do it every single day? How does a husband or a wife or a parent look at their loved one and just say "Well, I'm going to be as supportive as I can, but this is kind of on you" and then live with that?!

This sounds heinous, I'm sure, but I think I'd be a really horribly shitty T3. Like, ABOMINABLY horrible. I wouldn't be able to shut my mouth when my T1 ate some tricky stuff and then coasted at 300+ while they slept. I'd feel anxious about my T1s endo report, and I would go to pieces if they got complications. I'm sure I'd be judgy about a crap-ton of stuff, and I'd be that aggravating creep who kept track of when set changes were due and whether or not scrip refills were ordered. I could get them juice until the cows came home, but I could never be the kind of T3 I know I have in my life. I'm a micromanaging control-freak in most ways, and that does not lend itself to trusting other people's self-care.

And this makes me feel weird. I'm quick to anger when I'm D-policed by someone. I have ill-concealed rage when someone presumes to know my disease better than I do, or questions a decision I've made about my own health. It's hard to reconcile this painful degree of hypocrisy: if I weren't T1 myself, I'd be a real asshole to diabetics.


  1. Karen, can I show this to my spouse? Just kidding...

    Hey, sometimes things work out the way they do, and I certainly can't explain it. I'd be a lousy T3 (and my spouse is a great one), but she might not be a great T1. I hope she never has to walk that side of the tracks.

    Here's to the T3s!

  2. This is a great post, Karen. I don't think many of us appreciate just how hard it is to be a loving supporter of us.

  3. Great post...we try to walk the line of care and encouragement without being too over the top. We're grateful that (so far) our T1 child is really good about food and all that goes along with the T1 "lifestyle" as it is right now. Strangely enough my hubby is more of a "grader of achievement" based on fear of future quality of life and I try to be a little more understanding because sometimes things just aren't they way we want/need as far as numbers and you need quality of life/enjoyment all along the way. Just a T3/mom opinion....

  4. This was fantastic! Thanks for sharing this. The last line in particular made me laugh, I'm afraid I would likely be too! Thank GOODNESS for awesome Type 3's like my non-judgmental hubs. :)

  5. No, no, no. I totally disagree. You would be an amazing T3. You prove it above.

    You are worried about your child - you want her to be healthy and you are doing everything in your power to provide her what she needs.

    But you know - you state it above - that it's out of your control. She will eat when she needs to and drink when she needs to. Her body will give her cues and she in turn you.

    You ARE an amazing T3 because of your support of others, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

  6. I KNOW I'm a horrible T3 too. When I am with other people with diabetes, I find myself trying to sneak a peek at their Dexcom graphs just to make sure they are okay!

  7. I have an abnormally crazy response to anyone who questions my food/blood sugar. But when I see a diabetic not taking care of themselves, I have a similar level of feeling in my body. So I'm a hypocrite too, and I'm not going to psychologically assess that fact right now, because it's 7am :)

    You're cool.

  8. I am a T3 and it's hard. It all depends on the T1 your with. I try to let hubby do his own thing food wise, but I end up being the one doing all the technical stuff (dealing with dr, insurance, nurses, medication, and getting pumps). I have an ocd personality so it's good and bad. Some T3 have spouses that completely take care if themselves and need very little help unless they go low and need something to get through it. Now I'm rambling... but thank you for the post. Sometimes T3s feel a little left out.

  9. This is SUCH a fantastic post. My partner is T1 and when we met, I was not. So, I was the MOST ANNOYING T3 evar. I would sneak peeks at her meter, get judgy about her highs, and I had very little patience with some of her stubborn lows. A year and a half later, I was diagnosed as T1 (cuh-razy), and suddenly, I understood. And then my T1 partner became a T3. Talk about understanding! We both understand each other a LOT better. I think I love this quote the most, because it's exactly what we've chosen to do for each other: "Well, I'm going to be as supportive as I can, but this is kind of on you."

    Ultimately, she has her diabetes, and I have mine and we may handle them very differently. So, we've written juice boxes into our vows. No judgement and LOTS of juice boxes.