My Diabetic Mommy

Posted on May 25, 2011


I am the mother of a seven year old girl (Zoe) and six year old girl (Phoebe).  Ever since the girls can remember, I have been a type 1 diabetic (38 years) who uses the Medtronic Minimed pump and tests her blood sugar at least ten times a day.  I am very active and run marathons, spin, lift weights, chase them, etc.  As a family, we are a very close knit group and on the go all the time. 

So I was curious what it was like for my daughters to live with a diabetic mom.   What does it mean to them?  How does it impact them? 

I will tell you upfront, that I was surprised by their responses.

Zoe – 7 years old:

Me:  What is it like living with a diabetic mom?

Zoe:  Kind of scary.  I don’t know what is going to happen to her.  It’s a bad disease.  It is scary for mom too.  She does not know what is going on inside her body.  What if she dies?  Is anything else going to happen to her?  What if something else pops up, and we don’t know it? 

Zoe:  But the pump is cool.  Works like a game. 

Me:  Why do you think I will die from diabetes? 

Zoe:  Because it is a bad disease.  You can die from it.  I just think that. 

Me:   Is there anything fun about having diabetes? 

Zoe:  Nothing fun about having diabetes except the cool pump.

Me:  What would help make you less afraid of diabetes?  Of me dying?

Zoe:  When I see you doing it.  Living your life with diabetes.  That helps.

Phoebe – age 6

Me:  What is it like living with a diabetic mom?

Phoebe:  I think it is kind of cool.  But I wonder how insulin goes through the tube and gets into you.  I think it’s kind of scary.  Afraid you will get sick and die.  Also, I don’t want you to be sick.  Diabetics can get sick. 

Phoebe:  Except you work out a lot so you won’t get sick. 

Phoebe:  And I don’t know what you are going to do?

Me:  What do you mean, I don’t know what you are going to do?

Phoebe:  What your diabetes or body might do.  I don’t know. 

Me:  Is there anything fun about living with diabetes?

Phoebe:  One thing I think.  The waterproof pump is fun so you can go in the pool with us this Summer.  Pump is cool. 

Phoebe:  I love you mommy.

Whew!  Tears come to my eyes as I write this.  I wonder why my daughters are so afraid of losing me, and why they automatically associate diabetes with death.  Especially when I have never let diabetes stop me from doing anything. 

I wonder if it is the way society responds to diabetes?  Is it perceived as a deadly disease that is horrible?  It can be deadly and horrible if you don’t take care of yourself. 

But I don’t want my daughters to live with that fear.  I could get hit by a bus tomorrow or live to be 101 (God help them).  But the point is, no one knows when or how they are going to die.  It is an unknown for all of us.

I need to chat with them more about scary diabetes and death.   The unknown.   I feel bad that they carry that fear around with them.  I will let you know how the conversation goes. 

And in the meantime, I need to get a cool waterproof pump so I can spend time working out with my girls in the pool this Summer. 

Peace and love to all!