Ten years ago, I knew.
Deep inside this (candy) heart of mine…I knew.
I knew something was wrong. I knew it was more than an occasional saturated diaper. I knew it was more than a simple childhood virus, but I was too afraid to push harder for an answer. I wasn’t ready.
I was right. Something was wrong. Very, very wrong. On July 25, 2005, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. The room stared at me – the nurse – expecting that I would step up to teach my husband how to give our daughter a shot. Instead, I sat in a rocking chair, holding our sleeping baby, suddenly afraid of every needle on the planet. I was horrified that this is how she would live…how we would live…
At home a few weeks later, settled in for the night…I still replayed the doctor’s instructions in my mind over and over again. When to eat, how many carbs to eat, what to do if she was low, when to test for ketones, when to correct, when not to correct…I drifted off to sleep, and something forcefully woke me around 2 or 3 am. It literally shook me out of a deep sleep and forced me to check her blood glucose level for no reason. I found my baby sleeping soundly with a BG of 38. She barely responded when I was trying to force her to drink juice. I was sure I’d never sleep through the night again.
Fast forward a few years, and it was time to start preschool. All the other moms smiled and waved, then went back to their cars. I smiled and waved, then went to the office with my double stroller, newborn, and toddler. We’d sit there for the next three hours so I could be readily available because the staff didn’t feel confident about having her in the program.
She was invited to birthday parties, and sleepovers, and swimming playdates. I watched as other kids showed up to navigate these events on their own, but stuck around and didn’t go home. I slept on couches, and passed out cake. I helped monitor poolside, and took care of anything I could so I didn’t get in the way. She wasn’t ready to manage diabetes on her own yet.
And then, one day, I could.
I could face the diagnosis and do the shots. I was able to learn how to balance overnight BG monitoring and sleep. I left the preschool…then kindergarten…then, in the blink of an eye, 5th Grade. We figured out birthday parties, and she learned how to handle sleepovers.
Looking ahead, there’s so much yet to come.
Adolescence has arrived. Soon to follow middle school, high school, her first date, class trips, proms…eventually, her first job, driving, and college.
History has taught me I can do this.