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Re: [IP] "Normal" & a non-testing approach (long)

>What a disheartening time.  Taylor (who is still on MDI-hopefully not much
>longer), went on a hayride tonight with his scout troop, and he asked just
>before they were leaving, "will I ever be a normal kid again, and not have
>to take all of this?"

>I hate to see the bg #'s
>as failures.  We have never gotten after him for his bg, but merely said it
>is just a number to see how the insulin is working.  He is only 9 and has a
>long haul ahead of him.


I really feel for Taylor (& you)...I'm 35 years old, & I had one of those
"will I ever be normal again?" bouts not long ago.  That was pre-pump (yes,
this does a LOT to bring you back into feeling more like the rest of the
human race!), & one of the things that helped me out was a piece in the ADA
book Meditations on Diabetes.  It sounds like your approach is very similar
to this.  On I think page 147 (yes I've referenced it a few times!  :)  ),
the entry is about taking a different view on testing than the usual one,
even as far as terminology goes.  The word "test" carries - especially to
school-age children (or teachers!) who hear it all the time - baggage that
makes it even more of a burden than it has to be.  "Test" implies very
strongly only two options to many people:  pass or fail.  If the bg # is
within your target range, you tend to feel successful (& you should!), like
you have accomplished something...so, if instead it is out of range, it
carries a heavy implication of failure.  This is especially frustrating if
you have been working very hard to do the things that you are supposed to by
way of food choices, insulin amounts, etc.- kind of like studying round the
clock for the big math test, feeling confident that you have taken it well,
then getting your paper back with a big red F on top of it.  It makes you
feel like "Gee, if I do all of this work & fail anyway, what's the point in

In the meditations book, the author suggests eliminating the word "test"
from your diabetes vocabulary...it may sound like just a small thing, but it
has made a world of difference for me, in just overcoming the ways that
those unexpected "failures" can chip away at my self-esteem & motivation to
work at the whole adventure of "the diabetic life."  No, I'm not making
light of it (it involves daily responsibilities that I would love sometimes
to just lay down & walk away from...& that's from a grownup's perspective),
but at the same time if I'm facing high numbers that can make me feel
emotionally & physically beaten up, I'm thrilled to have a "different way of
thinking" as a tool to use to make me smile (or at least, grit my teeth &
keep on trying) as opposed to crying.  Instead of "test", the word "moniter"
is offered.  It makes sense to moniter things in life to remain healthy- you
moniter the traffic on the road by looking both ways before you cross, you
moniter the weather to find out what kind of clothes to put on in the
morning...just common sense things to help you safely get through your day.
I don't test my blood sugar level anymore- I moniter or check.  Now that I'm
teaching elementary school (& loving it!), I'm using the word "check" most
of the time- kids are taught to check a lot of things just as a part of
their regular school day, so "checking" something may be a little easier to
incorporate into a feeling of being "normal" than being the kid who has to
take more "tests" every day than anyone else.

If this sounds like I'm playing "child psychologist", please forgive me...at
his ridiculous hour, anything is possible!  I just know from reading your
posts that Taylor has a wonderfully supportive parent in you, & I wanted to
offer another tool to help tame the diabetes dragon.  (I've got a very
strong mental image of what this creature looks like to me- & I've learned
that some days I fight him, some days we manage to walk peacefully down the
path side by side, & some days it works best if I scratch him behind the
ears & coax him into behaving!)  I would highly recommend this book to
anyone who could benefit from a "mental/emotional picker-upper".

Best of luck to you & to Taylor in getting started pumping & in regaining
that sense of normalcy.  When he's got the pump, he will even be envied in
some odd way by other kids.  While I know that they don't understand all the
health issues & implications of diabetes, it still makes me smile that some
of my elementary boys (3rd & 4th graders especially, for some reason)
complain when I check or bolus that I have "all the neatest machines."  I
think it also puts things into perspective for me that in two of my classes
I have kids coping with leukemia & chemotherapy...& among their classmates,
they are just as "normal" as anyone else.  There's another story in that
book of a woman who survived a long time of being trapped in a
blizzard...because instead of just fighting to survive the experience, she
danced for hours (atop a snow-covered mountain) to stay warm- she
celebrated, & that was what kept her alive!

Yes, I'm rambling, & any sane person would be sleeping right now...think
I'll go try that!

(:)-O    (BIG yawn),

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