Ravage | No Sugar Added® Poetry


Normal blood sugars are seventy to one-forty.
His reach forty and four hundred.
His average is “acceptable” and we celebrate.
But the reality is, his body is strained.
His nervous system, vision and heart are always challenged.
Seizure, coma and even death are real risks every single day.

He is a human pincushion.
Forced to bleed ten or more times daily.
He wears his pancreas on the outside.
He must tell it what to do all day long. Even when he sleeps.
He must visit the school nurse throughout the day to deliver insulin and check his sugar levels.
He must leave class when he doesn’t feel right.
He must measure every single thing he eats.

With all this effort, it still ravages.

He is low.
He feels “out of it” and “wobbly”.
I feel guilt and like a failure.
He is high.
He feels “woozy” and “foggy”.
I feel irritable and anxious. I failed again.

We wait.
For the sugar to work.
For the insulin to work.
Every day. Throughout the day.
We wait.

It ravages us both.

His eyes, his kidneys, his legs, his heart.
Night after night, I check his blood sugar while he sleeps.
I worry.
I wake with a number in my head – his last blood sugar.
Midnight. Three AM. Six AM.
It never leaves me.
It takes my spirit.
It makes me age.

He gets on the bus.
I worry.
It’s time to check his blood sugar with the school nurse.
I worry, with the phone in my hand.
It’s snack time.
I worry.
It’s time to get back on the bus.
Still worried. Still have the phone.

The worry ravages.

We put on smiles. Brave faces.
No use dwelling on the negative.
There is much to be thankful for.
He eats birthday cake; celebrates Halloween.
He is smart.
He is growing.
He is happy.
He is kind.
He is strong.

But it still ravages. His body and my mind.

I am thankful.
I am also greedy.
I want more.
Better technology.
More freedom.
A cure.

I want the ravaging to stop.


Caleb reading “No-Sugar Added Poetry” while Yoda looks on

I wrote this about three years ago, two years after Caleb’s diagnosis when I was still adapting. He was in kindergarten and it was a tough time. I wrote it as therapy – to get my emotions out, while I was still putting up a front that everything was okay. I shared it only with one person – a close friend; another Dmom. But otherwise, I wasn’t willing to let people look inside. It was all too raw then.

I read this now and I still relate, but I no longer break down in despair. I’m on the other side of something – not sure what. But things are less painful. I still want it to stop, but I now know that no matter what, we will get through. We will persevere. Caleb has shown me this. It’s him. His spirit, determination, unwillingness to let diabetes get in his way of what he wants to do. He is the rock in all this. He has brought me to the other side.

The No Sugar Added Poetry® contest is what inspired me to share. 

8 Replies to “Ravage | No Sugar Added® Poetry”

  1. Holy Crap, Lo. That’s the first thing I know to say. The poem is so powerful, so real, so the way it really is. But then your explanation, your “one the other side of something . . . ” What HOPE. How inspiring. I LOVE THIS. I love it. ❤ you!!! Thank you for your willingness to share.

  2. I think you have stated quite well in this poem what so many of families of T1 are going through. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. I can so relate, as all Dmoms can! It was beautifully written. I often say that Nate is so much stronger as a 12 yr old than I am as an adult. His strength only feeds me to be stronger. And to know someone who I have always thought of as ‘having it all together’ (that would be you) has often felt the same way I have helps more than you can imagine. We all often hold it in, and its nice to know we aren’t alone and it’s okay to let it out! So thank you for writing this 🙂

  4. so, so powerful: you, your poetry, and your son. as much as I could feel the pain as I read it, I also loved that you wrote it. beautiful writing. thank you.

  5. It’s only been a year since my 7 year old was dx. So this hits home and hits hard for me. I shared it on fb because I am constantly trying to help open people’s eyes about this disease so they can see what they, normally, don’t see. Thank you.

  6. Your poetry has touched me deeply, I have 3 yr old with D. She was only 1 when she was diagnosed, I knew nothin about diabetes, but we are getting through everyday. Your poetry speaks for every mother that has child with diabetes.
    Thank you for sharing with us.

  7. Wow. That was tough to read, I can only imagine how hard it is to live. Thank you for sharing this – ♥

  8. i am so glad you decided to share this. it’s is so powerful and true. i am glad to hear you are on the other side of those feelings. i feel i’m experiencing something similar within the last 6 months. i can take deeper breaths somehow, like i’m not holding my breath the whole time.

    thank you for sharing.

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