***Before I delve into my latest problem, please note that the feelings and opinions here within are my own. They aren’t putting anyone else’s feelings, thoughts or actions down. I am merely trying to convey where I am at with this topic***
I’ve been thinking a lot about kids lately. They surround me whether it be my friends’ kiddos, Facebook photos or just random discussion. I’m on the brink of turning 30 years old and B and I have been together for somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.5 years, so naturally, the question of “are you having children?” comes up more and more frequently. And more and more frequently I get to feeling awkward, sad and a little bit judged.
“Do you want children?” Yes and no – depends on when you ask me. I mean, I haven’t ruled out the possibility 100%. Theoretically I do want one – I feel like I’d be missing out on some huge part of life by not creating one. But what stops me is: what type of life would I be giving this hypothetical child? I’m not sure I ever get passed that. So, “when are you having kids” becomes complicated for me and the short answer that always springs to mind is probably never.
If you want a rational, quick answer, this ramble is probably not for you. Hell, I can’t make heads or tails of it most days myself. As I said, I’m approaching 30 years old, which I know isn’t old…but here comes that pesky thing I carry with me all the time: diabetes. Diabetes scares the crap out me. I know some people are willing to take this risk, are positive and that millions of diabetics give birth to healthy babies all the time. With all the technology, good control and support a diabetic can get during this time – it’s a very, very doable thing.
But I’m always stopped short. Could I live with the knowledge that my child could turn out like me? Would that be the worst thing? What if something goes wrong? What if I do something to mess everything up? Would I feel guilty? What about complications? What about MY complications? Am I in a position where children are even a smart idea? Can I even have children?
I have enough complications from diabetes currently to keep my life and mind occupied right now. How will this affect me further during pregnancy? My eyes are already f-ed up: how much further would they and could they go? Then everything goes a step further: I’m terrified that for one reason or another I wouldn’t be around for them later.
All these thoughts and worries consume me and make me anxious. I feel that pull to have kids of my own, but maybe I just can’t. I’m too selfish with my time and my own shenanigans to complicate anything further by having a little human being being my number one. I wasn’t my own number one for a very long time and I still have a long haul to go.
Every time I’m questioned, or hear that B was questioned, is like a dart thrown at my heart. I feel like most people cannot understand why I might not have a mini-me and everyone’s quick judgment and reaction to the “oh, but you gotta have kids!” is just that: judgment. Whether I choose to take giant leap of faith and work towards becoming pregnant, or I patiently wait for my brother to have kids so I can be “cool Auntie Ashley”, it really is no one’s business but B’s business and mine. It’s my body and my choice and at the end of the day, I just want the best life possible for everyone. Hey – at least I’ll never need a babysitter!
I promise maybe to come up with a positive post next time 🙂
Round 1 went to diabetes the past two weeks. I’ve been having some trouble with my left eye (the eye sans vitrectomies, oil bubble, blurry vision, and eye patch). There is some active bleeding despite my thoroughly singed retina and some rather annoying floaters. I’ve been to the eye doctor twice and go back in two weeks. My doctor decided to closely watch my retina and told me to stay home and relax – OK!!!!
I’m not entirely sure if I’m done processing the fact that my right eye was in such turmoil. Three rounds of laser surgery and two major surgeries are a lot under even semi-not-normal circumstances…but damn. My left one now, too? Give me a freakin’ break already.
I’m working so hard to overcome some maddeningly self-induced complications that most of the time I forget to breathe. Everyone keeps telling me that I need to relax and not get so completely stressed out that I exacerbate my symptoms. By staying home the past two weeks, I’ve really helped my left eye stay even keel – it’s not “good,” but it didn’t get worse.
So that means that I am in desperate need of some awesome stress management – easier said than done for me. I’m like my father personality wise. We get stressed out easy and don’t let it out and well, explode in some way, shape, or form. I’m going to try to get back to yoga – it’s been tough because for a long time, I wasn’t allowed to do much in the way of exercise because of my healing eye. Meditation is always another possibility…I can’t wait for this crazy cold winter to be over: bike riding and long walk time!
I got a text the other day which made me laugh. It’s a reminder that stuff happens and that you need to assess and keep trudging. All-in-all, I think Round 2 went to me.
On August 19, 2013 I was wheeled into an O.R. to have the first of two vitrectomy surgeries. Little did I know that I’d be emergently repeating this process literally two weeks later.
**Quick back story: I spent my college years as a “non-diabetic,” meaning years of neglectful burn-out – physically and emotionally. Through these poor decisions, I counted my lucky stars for my lack of complications…until I wasn’t lucky anymore. I have no other complications due to diabetes (KNOCK WOOD!)**
I was never so upset and/or disappointed in myself than when the ophthalmologist told me he saw some pretty gnarly looking blood vessels behind my right eye. My left eye didn’t look as bad, but still hairy. My next step was three laser surgeries on both eyes – which were nerve-wracking, bright, and (for me) uncomfortable bordering on barbaric (well, kind of). My left eye responded to the lasers as it should; however, the right eye was a completely different story.
I was referred to another retina specialist who would evaluate my eye to determine if I needed surgery. At this point, I wanted surgery if it meant being able to see properly again and getting back on track. I wanted to stop waiting around and hop on the road to recovery – whichever form it came in. Basically, I was told I needed surgery and ASAP at that. August 19th rolled around pretty quickly. I never had surgery before and, despite working in the anesthesia clinic full time here at the hospital, was nervous to be knocked-out. All went well and was sent home the next day (after spending a horrendous night in the hospital – did anyone ever experience bad diabetes care in the hospital??) and spent the next ten days face-down with a gas bubble behind my eyeball hoping my retina stays put. Two weeks later, my retina completely detached and I had surgery, round 2. This time, Dr. B. put an oil bubble behind my eye so no more face-down fun. I still have one (possibly two) surgeries left on my right eye, but good news being I will be able to see again (April!). I currently see normally out of my left eye and my right eye is tremendously blurry – like looking out of the bottom of a glass coke bottle.
The moral of this story is that in a round-about way, two vitrectomies and six laser treatments has put me back on track. It gave me the wake-up call I needed in order to light the proverbial fire under my butt. I have my give-a-hoot back and without this hurdle, I’m scared to think that I’d still be neglecting myself. Surgery has reset the stage for my diabetes care…this whole experience has really highlighted my neglect/bad habits/extent of my burn-out. I’m forced now to acknowledge my actions – or lack thereof. Crap just got real, yo. Complications are real. I just feel like a failure? Idiot? Disappointment? I know this happens but damn. I wasn’t ready for the guilt or shame that came with it. Hindsight is always 20/20 and it’s cliche to say that if I could go back and do it over – the right way – I completely would. I do realize that a diabetic can do absolutely everything in their power to take care of themselves and still have complications. but knowing that I didn’t help myself…arrrgghh! Super frustrating. There’s nothing I can do about it now. So, I’m trying to breathe and reboot; move forward.
One thing I wish is that more people would talk about their struggles. For the longest time, I felt like I was alone and the only one out there tired of diabetes….that could also stem from the fact that I didn’t know any other diabetics, either. You find a lot of “what you should do” and “this is how this goes” online, but I don’t know. Struggles are personal, I know…but…still.