Saturday, January 21, 2012

oh, mother..

So I have been reading some reviews on the show and I want to make a post for my mother.

No matter how much we fight, argue, and disagree, I love her and I know she loves me more than anyone could ever imagine.

What the show doesn't air is the 10 years she supported me, financially, after I was diagnosed with diabetes. When I first got my insulin pump, the cost of supplies were outrageous. I was a college student then, hardly working. So anyone who has anything to say about her "not helping me" is completely, 100% delusional. When I was 11 and admitted to the hospital, she spent the night in a chair beside me the entire three days I was there. I don't think she left the room once.

Even though living with Diabetes has been expensive, that is a responsibility that I had to learn as an adult. At any point, if I couldn't afford the new pump, or couldn't afford to pay for a supply refill, my mother would give me the money -- I only have to ask. But part of growing up, and being independent, was learning how to do that for myself ... even if it meant using credit cards and working two jobs. It was important to me to be able to support myself. If I couldn't do that for myself, how could I possibly ever hope to support a husband, or a child?

What they don't show is a HUGE part of the reason I was working two full time jobs was for the health care. I was kicked off my father's insurance at 23 and paid for COBRA benefits for awhile, while I looked for work post-graduation. That was a hefty bill, around $350 monthly just for minimal coverage. I finally found full time work and got benefits that I didn't have to pay as much for... but it wasn't enough. The co-pays were ridiculous, and the prescription coverage wasn't any better. So I started working a second part time job to cover expenses. The second, part time job, turned to full time. And I got better benefits there for office visits and durable medical equipment. Insurance at the first job changed and I got better prescription coverage. So I worked both jobs for a long time because it helped save some costs in paying for supplies, and I could pick and choose which coverage I used for which situation. Believe me, if I could quit my jobs and just stay at home, I would... and I bet my mom would support me financially. Well, probably not, since I'd be kind of a bum for just quitting my jobs for no reason other than to not work. But you get the point.

Something the show also did not display was how much I have cut my mother out of the conversation around diabetes in my life. When my health was spiraling out of control in high school, she was the one that paid the hospital bills. She was the one who watched her daughter on a hospital bed, teetering on the edge of very serious harm. And most of it was my fault. I either lied about my diabetes (I got REALLY good at faking test results in my meter if I hadn't tested for a few days), or I just shut her out completely. I went away to college for four years and that didn't help. Since I was so far away, I didn't really have to talk about it. When I came home from college, all those secretive habits came back with me. If she asked me how I was doing, I said, "Fine." If she probed more -- only because she cared about my health -- I got defensive.

So that is where a lot of the residual tension between my mother and I comes from. I had -- and still do, honestly -- a lot of reservation in sharing anything related to diabetes with anyone. Especially my mother. Sometimes I think it's because I don't want to worry her. Other times, I think I keep it to myself because I just don't want to deal with it. Most times, it's just because I am too ashamed to really admit that I still don't have the whole "living with diabetes" thing down.

Hopefully everyone can do me a favor and revisit the episode with an open mind... and remember, it's television.


  1. Hey there! To be honest, I didn't watch the show and probably won't unless I really go out of my way (no tv or cable cuz I'm still a poor college student). Just wanted to let you know there are a lot of us like you. My mom was the same way when I first left for school. And she still supports me through everything even though I'm fiercely independent. I think I will always remember how much I owe her for my well being and who I am. But I don't tell her the ins and outs of living with Diabetes cause she won't ever really get it.

  2. Hey Kristyn!
    I didn't watch the show because I can't find a way to see it from the UK, but I just wanted to say that I empathise with a lot of what you say about your mother. I distanced my diabetes from my mom because I didn't want her to worry so much. People from the outside might think she doesn't seem to care, but how we are is my own choice. Thank you for posting.

  3. Thanks for this context, Kristyn. We all have a story and it's almost laughable to think any of us could ever begin to understand the relationship you and your mom have based on an hour show, especially with it divided between the three of you. I honestly did find myself judging at times, but I also tried to step back and realize I don't know the full story and am in no place to judge. Those of us who live in glass houses, as they say... Anyhow, I was the same way in high school and college in that I just didn't share much about D. It wasn't that I was hiding, but just didn't wear it on my sleeve and saw no need to make a big deal out of it. Even after finding the DOC and stepping into the "online world" where so much is shared, I still hold back sometimes when it comes to my wife and other people in my life. For the same reasons you say: about not wanting to worry or bring them down. It's a tough balance, but I find myself learning more about that all the time. And really my friends in the D-Community help me figure that out when needed. Thanks again for sharing this about your mom and that relationship. And please: say hey and give her a big hug from my end. Any D-Mom is a superhero who deserves recognition and thanks, and she's what we like to refer to as a Type Awesome! It can't be easy being on a public TV filming like that, so kudos to you and your whole family and network of friends!

  4. Welcome to the world of writing about diabetes, about talking of your diabetes, and of taking care of yourself. I hope that we can inspire you to do those things. It's nice to "meet" you.