Monday, December 15, 2014
For three years, I didn't understand how much you were absorbing of what was going on after your sister's diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. I was caught up in making your magical childhood happen just has it has always done, with the exception of an extra poke, dr.visit or pump start. I wanted to make sure your kindergarten year was every bit of the joy that we had intended it to be. Thankfully, your lovely teacher never batted an eye as I sent you off during some of the harder moments dressed in the frilliest of tu-tus in hopes of lessening the difficulty that T1D had brought into our home. I knew you were happy and loved, those were the biggest gifts that I could give during those early years.
However, you were always there, quietly watching and observing what your little sister was doing. In hindsight it was no surprise that you instantly recognized what your little body was telling you five years ago. There were drawings made by you at age 5 of your sister with blood droplets surrounding her and pictures created by your 6 year-old child-hand captioning the very worried phrase 'DIE'-betes. As you continued to grow through 6, 7 and 8, there were play-acting games with stuffed animals that needed juice or shots right away. There was even a special collection of your own stickers from the hospital that you treasured, while asking when it would be your turn to go have a visit. Such a premonition that neither of us realized.
Poking your finger on that cold, winters day broke me into a million tiny pieces. I hadn't thought it would happen to you too. Realistically, I knew the possibility was always there, but I didn't want to admit it to either of us.
I remember calling and frantically looking for options to stop what was happening. Anyone with a connection to promising research was called and for the first time, I didn't even care if I sounded crazy. I would have done anything to change the direction that was headed our way. Coming to terms with the inevitable answer of 'there is nothing we can do' was perhaps the hardest realization that I have ever faced in my life.
While your sister's diagnosed changed me, yours did too, perhaps even more. It made me have a steely resolve to continue to work wherever I could to advocate for better treatments, equal health rights and most of all, for a cure.
Even better, is knowing that roles have somewhat reversed for the two of us. I now sit quietly watching you, listening as you tell me about a kindness that you bestowed on a classmate in need and of how you tried to help a fellow friend with T1d, handle a bothersome situation. I watch you hug your sister after you give her an injection in a hard-to-reach area and while you comfort her like a mama would with kisses on the top of her forehead. I see you step out of your comfort zone to lead at school and to encourage others. I watch you day-dreaming into the future, when you are done with school and have become a pediatric endocrinologist and in your own words, "helping kids the way they need to be helped."
Five years ago, life handed you the very big task of living life with type 1 diabetes. I am so proud of how you have accepted it, managed it and continued to thrive with it. You make me proud every day, sweet girl. I have no doubt that your gift to the world is the ability to show this special strength and to encourage others to follow your grace and kindess.
I can't wait to see even more of what you choose to do in this world and I have a feeling, there are a lot of people cheering you on. xoxo
Thursday, December 11, 2014
This a posted sentiment that I wrote on my facebook but somehow, it felt like the only one that I wanted to write. Diaversaries are like that... whatever works for whenever you need it.
This is what I needed to say today. My heart is full of 8 years of learning through love. I need to thank her for being the strong person that has led the way for me and all around her. She has made me a better person.
"Today, exactly 8 years ago, our just-turned 3 year old, little girl was rushed to the hospital with a blood sugar of over 800 mg/dl and with an A1c of 13.7. After a week long stay at our local children's hospital and endless learning curve; today, she has proven that Type 1 Diabetes and Hashimoto, both autoimmune diseases of no known origin and with out a cure, will NEVER stop her from the love of learning, feeling the freedom of belly laughs and accomplishing anything her heart sets out to do. Such a priviledge to be taught so many wonderful lessons through her determination to succeed, joy at all that life offers and best of all, endless HOPE for a CURE. I am proud of you, youngest daughter. You have taught many and continue to do so. The world is better because of YOU!"
Monday, December 8, 2014
Blood sugar fighting with some mad jabs throughout the day and landing a final low blow squarely on youngest daughter.
It wasn't the normal, well normal-'ish' because what is normal about a low blood sugar??, kind of low. This one was fierce and seemed to hang on into infinity and beyond.
This low also had to happen right at bedtime.
After teeth were brushed.
Beds were tucked.
And on a Sunday night.
At the exact same time the final low blow happened, I found myself caught up in night-before-school-resumes mayhem and slightly irritated that T1D was interferring with what needed to be done around the house before Monday morning arrived. I was more than a little upset at myself for slacking off over the weekend and not working harder to avoid the pile up of school stuff, lunches and laundry.
Once the low blood sugar was discovered thanks to the shrill squeal of her CGM alarm, and after I knew our youngest daughter had treated it with some juice and a few tabs for good measure, I started to mentally tick off the mountainous to-do list that required my immediate attention. Antsy and impatient, I headed back to the hallway.
However, this night was different. As I was about to leave her room and ready to explain that "I would be right back but had to do some mommy stuff", a little voice called out.
"Sit with me until I am safe."
For a second time that night, T1D pounded another fist of pain. This time to me with the realization that I had forgotten how hard and scary it can be to recover from a low blood sugar, especially for a little girl.
My eyes instantly teared up and all other thoughts of to-do lists floated right out of my mind. I could only think of her innocent words that expressed the only important thing in this world... which packaged as safety, was really more about family love.
So I sat with her; snuggling, cuddling, kissing and holding her tight. I waited until the in-range CGM resumed and waited even longer, until well after her eyes grew heavy as she once-again relaxed.
I continued to stay for a long while later, watching as she slumbered and promising that I will never forget that powerful reminder.