This week I had my first endocrinologist appointment without my parents. I remember that there were plenty of times as a child when I was sitting in my appointments wishing I was old enough to just go on my own…to feel grown up. However, the older I got, the more I appreciated my parents being there, as my mom always knew what questions to ask and how to articulate some things better than I could.
I know that a lot of young teens are the complete opposite. They absolutely detest having their parents around and feel that they are completely stifled by the presence of their parents. I on the contrary found that because I was especially close to my mom with regard to my diabetes, that she was fundamental to successful appointments — she was always there to bring up anything I forgot, as well as to delve in with the complicated questions about things I might not have known or cared about at that point.
At previous appointments there were times where my parents would leave the room if I felt like I wanted to take care of some parts of the appointment completely on my own, but this was the first time that I was really going by myself. I know it sounds silly, but I was proud of myself. I scheduled my own appointment (OK, fine, at the insistence of my mom), went in with a list of things I wanted to remember to bring up, and wrote down the important things my endo brought up so I wouldn’t forget.
At this particular appointment I made a pretty bold move. Because I have an appointment coming up with my CDE in about three weeks, I decided to forgo getting my A1C done because, while I have a feeling it will be lower than the one at my last appointment, I still think that I can get it even lower before getting it checked.
I know it may sound silly, especially considering that three weeks isn’t going to drastically change it from whatever it is right now, but nonetheless it was a decision I made. I felt that on that particular day, being that it was my first appointment without my parents, I didn’t want to have to deal with feeling nervous if my A1C wasn’t “good enough.”
It’s not so much that I’d be upset if it’s not a specific number, it was just something I was feeling uneasy about, and I felt that my appointment would overall be more successful if that stress was removed from the equation. Again though, I want to emphasize that the only reason I was really OK with skipping it at this appointment is because I have a scheduled appointment in a few weeks where I’ll be getting it done!
In all, the appointment went really well. My endo was very happy with the care I’ve been taking of myself, and it really validated for me the new outlook I’ve had regarding my blood sugars since the start of this semester. It felt as though all of my hard work up until this point has been well worth it. Additionally, it was a big milestone being able to go to an appointment on my own, not forget anything, and comfortably articulate myself to my endo. For some reason, whenever my parents were there, I would be really cautious with what I said and how I said it. I felt like if their perception of a situation was different than mine, they’d think I was over-exaggerating, or the endo would just think they were terrible parents.
I honestly have no idea where that mentality came from…my parents never put any pressure on me regarding appointments, and my endos never questioned my parents’ skills as…parents. I think it was my insecurities coming in to play regarding my diabetes control. Because I wasn’t fully registered and checked in with taking care of my diabetes, I would worry when it came for time for an appointment.
It’s the same feeling you get when a big exam is coming up that you haven’t studied for. I was going through the motions of diabetes with checking, carb counting, bolusing, etc. But I wasn’t mentally invested in it. I wasn’t consciously thinking about all that I had been doing regarding my body and diabetes care.
Being away for college has forced me to be physically and mentally on top of my diabetes care. It’s not simply the physical side of it, but the mental and emotional sides. I’ve learned that in order for the physical side of it to go right, I have to consciously work at it every day. I have to start every day knowing that just because one day was good or bad doesn’t mean the next will follow suit. I now can see that being able to start fresh with my blood sugars every single day is one of diabetes’ blessings in disguise.