Family or Foe

I day with the family. While family can be stressful, typically you think of family as being a haven. Lately, mine has been anything but. Being diagnosed as an adult, I got all kinds of responses from my mom, upon telling her. They ranged from “Your not a child, are you sure it’s not type 2?” “We don’t have that on my side of the family, so they must be wrong” " You know you always ate too much sugar" My dad can’t stand talk of dieases or needles or even finger pokes (although he worked in a hospital!), he has to just leave the room. So, I guess it’s not too surprising when spending a day with my family (including my brother who just returned from Europe) turned into a constant attack from myy mom. I try to be discreet with testing and shots, but I think my mother looks for it. The first time I tested, my mom said to my brother, “Do you want Chloe to test your sugar, you know she has diabetes.!” The sarcasm kills me. Later at lunch, after I return from testing and shooting up I get, " Is that meal appropriate for a diabetic, you know you really should be eating more protein…that’s probably why you have this problem" And later on while testing I got " Don’t you think your a little obsessed with that, I think you like poking your finger."

The sad thing is that all night I wondered if she was right. At what point does good control become obsessive. I usually test about 4 times a day. Sounds like a lot to some, not enough to others. From the outside, I don’t look or feel different, but if my own mom can’t seem to get over it… I start to think I am flaunting this around. Maybe this is why I’m not telling my friends that it is “official”. I’m afraid others will behave like my mom. Every time I visit her, I come away feeling just plain bad. I don’t want it to be that way with everyone else, and nobody really understands. Truthfully, I still feel like this will go away. Like my beta cells just need to reboot after a nice long vacation. So for now I’m left with the question, what is normal behavior for a diabetic? Do you hide so no one knows, do you openly test, do you talk about it? I feel a little lost. Less than before I found this site. Truly, it’s nice to know there are others out there!

I’m sorry your family isn’t more supportive. Testing four times a day isn’t at all excessive. Sometime when your mom isn’t commenting, can you pull her aside and say, “You seem to be really interested in my diabetes. I get really flustered sometimes when I talk about it, but here’s a great book.”

Sounds like your mom is having a hard time coming to terms with you diabetes…maybe even more than you are having trouble. As for testing 4 times a day, that’s not at all excessive. My doctor insisted on 6 times per day minimum before he would consider putting me on a pump. And yesterday, I tested 13 times. Sometime it isn’t a much (yesterday was a weird day) but I still test very regularly. I know it can be hard to explain and educate the ones around you, but it can help some. I am still trying to convince my grandmother that I don’t need to eat every 2 hours!

I don’t think you are testing too much for a type 1. My doctor wants me to test 4-6 minimum. For years I did just that, although I have gotten more obsessive in the past couple of years and am testing 8-10 times a day on average. I do sometimes wonder if I am overdoing it, but then I see my A1c’s which dipped from the 7’s to the 6’s once I started testing more and staying there. I think if you are on insulin 4x a day is not excessive - it’s necessary.

You said that you have a hard time accepting this as real. Well I think your mother is having a hard time accepting it too and her comments are evidence of her trying to think your condition is only temporary. From what I have heard of other’s diagnoses I have to say, it is more likely for young adults to be diagnosed type 2 when they really are type 1, rather than the other way around.

I, personally, have never hid my diabetes. It honestly never occurred to me to hide it. Once in awhile I get a snide comment or a weird look, but I am always ready with lots of information and am usually able to turn the experience into a positive one. Mostly, I find that people are just curious, or need the difference between type 1 and 2 explained and appreciate you taking the time to educate them a little.

Sorry, Chloe, that your mom’s reaction makes your life more difficult. I think molly’s idea of giving her some literature is great; maybe have her visit tudiabetes. dLife also has a forum for people who love people with diabetes. While her lack of support sucks for you, it seems like perhaps she’s dealing with “mother guilt.” There is, after all, some genetic disposition for developing diabetes. My parents took a different route: we all just pretended like diabetes wasn’t really there. Although I know the idea will make you grimace, have you considered having your mom go to the endo with you to have a medical professional explain it in person? Just a thought…since there are so many misconceptions about the disease out there.

The best thing you can do for yourself is be out and proud so that your friends/family can support you!

I know my mom had a really negative reaction (but we’ve also had other problems). I thought about it a long time, and finally realized she was reacting that way because she was feeling guilty. She was afraid it was her fault I got diabetes, so she was lashing out at me whenever I mentioned anything to do with it. It sounds like your mother is having some unresolved feelings (whether similar or different I don’t know, of course) and reacting in a negative way also.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to test your blood sugar and you certainly shouldn’t feel bad about it. For adults, I figure if they can’t watch, they can just look away. I test 7-10 times generally, more if I’m sick or something else is going on.

I can certainly relate to getting negative comments from a family. When my daughter was diagnosed (as a three year old), I already had an incredible feeling of guilt, as if somehow, I did something wrong. Then, I started getting all kinds of comments from my Mom. Not so much direct though.
First she would send me some herbs (?) to give her to “control her diabetes”, and tell me that I probably gave her too much sugar when she was little (was?!). Then, she would suggest that my kids watch too much TV and perhaps if they were more active this wouldn’t happen… and so on, and so on. In time I just learned to (better) ignore the comments.
I now know there was nothing that I did wrong, my kids have always been active, they don’t eat too much sugar and they are below average weight.
We always test a lot and alway in the open. I believe that more questions I answer, the better off I make other (non-Diabetic) people. :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone for all your support and suggestions. I feel bad about talking so negatively about my mom. I’m sure it really is as hard for her to handle as it is for me. One problem in really communicating with her is that she thinks she already knows everything about diabetes. She has some friends that are type 2, so she always telling me what I need to do. She’s told me that if I control my diet, I can get off insulin. She told me that she never heard of anyone taking more than one shot a day, and that I need to find another endo, etc… I actually gave her a very good book I bought on type 1, and she told me that again I overly obssess on it, and that she didn’t need to read it. I’m sure it will take time for both of us to adjust, but in he meantime I hate to admit that I will probably just keep my distance out of necessity for my own mental health.

It’s also good to know I’m not overtesting. It’s very strange having to think about my blood sugar all day, with out really “thinking about it all day” and letting it interfere in my daily life. I’m not sure I’m so good at that yet. I’ll get there one day.

hi chloe,

i just read your blog post and sometimes my parents are like that too. i know they care but sometimes they just don’t understand as much about diabetes as we do. i hope things with your mum get better soon! i obsess over my blood sugars too. i test at bare minimum 4 times a day, usually more because i make sure i test before and after my daily exercise. and at the slightest hint of a hypo i’ll be digging out my testing kit. so don’t worry about it! cheers!

Hi Chloe,
It sure sounds like your mom is just not aware or educated on Type I - she’s putting you in the Type 2 category. It’d be great if you could just have a conversation with her saying there are many kinds of diabetes - Type 1, Type 2, etc… she really needs to know you are insulin dependent and what all that means - and that this is very different than the Type 2 that apparently many of her friends have. If she’s not going to read the book - gosh, it’d be nice if you could have an open conversation about this.

My son tests an average of 7 times per day - so 4 is on the low end I’d say. Don’t feel like you’re over-testing. Chloe, it is a tough life to live with Type I, and I hope you can surround yourself with people who support you - this is important. I’m sure your mom loves you and maybe with more conversations you can bridge this gap which sounds like a gap of education more than anything. {{hugs}} from another mom!