Monthly Archives: August 2013

Closing in on Three Years…

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It will be three years on August 19th since my son, then 6, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Wow, three years…it seems like forever ago…yet; it seems like just yesterday…

Recently, I was asked to describe what it felt like, standing there in Hasbro Children’s Emergency Room, being given the news. That is so hard to explain, those of you who have been there, well, you know. Those of you who have not, I pray that you never will have to experience anything like it. It feels like the ground falls out from underneath you. There are words hanging in the air like pancreas and beta cells and injections and carbs and ketones and blood sugar and not working, and very sick and no cure…it is devastating to say the least. To look at your child, skinny and weak and gray and know that this has become his reality. Forever. Literally in a matter of seconds, when you hear the words: your child has Type 1 Diabetes, your world comes crashing down and you know, that carefree life you always hoped your child will hold onto as he grows has just been torn away by a tiny little organ that quit working, an organ that you had always thought of as insignificant, has single handedly destroyed your child’s innocence. Now he will know about pain and sickness and heartache…You want to crumble, but you can’t because in those same seconds, you have now become his pancreas, it is now your job to keep him alive, every second of every day, because without insulin, he will die. There are NO words for the weight of that reality.

Last Sunday as I sat in church with my family and listened to our Pastor give her homily, I began to reflect on how our lives are different than they would have been if T1D never invaded my little boy’s pancreas. The basic message was that you have two choices when you hit rock bottom: you can crumble or you can rise to the challenge. And believe me, I did crumble for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I took care of my son, I read everything I could about T1D and how to mange it, I devoured the research data on how they are working towards a cure, I educated everyone who would be with my son how to care for him, but on the inside I was crumbling.

Then, at some moment, I am not even exactly sure when, as I was up checking blood sugar in the wee hours, I watched my son sleeping and I realized how amazing he was. I remember thinking, he never crumbled, not for an instant. He was so incredibly brave with every shot, with every high and low, with every stomach ache and ketone tests and finger sticks and talk of pumps and sites and through strangers invading his little body, through learning how to count carbs and hearing people say big words like neuropathy and having to listen to people, who for some reason, thought it appropriate to talk near him about loss of limbs and blindness and heart disease and death. I asked myself how can I stay angry and hurt and feeling forsaken by God, when this little innocent soul was taking the brunt of diabetes and he was still smiling and living life to the fullest and educating people about his disease and advocating and wanting to raise money to find a cure? How could I crumble when my six year old saw that the only way to go from here was up?

So you see, my son, my angel, my hero, taught me that when you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up! That isn’t to say you can’t be knocked down or beaten on some days, you will be again and again, but the important lesson here is to ALWAYS get back up! A lot of days I still hate T1D, and I would take it away from my son in a New York minute, but it is here to stay until there is a cure.

So back to my original reflection of how our lives would be different, had T1D never invaded my family? I don’t know. But what I do know is that because this journey was chosen for us, we are stronger and closer and we can always say, “yeah, we have seen the bottom, and it is ugly and scary and painful, but if you look hard enough, and you rely on your family and your faith you will see that no matter what your burden, the only way to go is up. I wish that for all of you. It gives me comfort to know that my son can and has and will continue to be an inspiration. All of you who know him can see, he will not let diabetes or anything else keep him down, and that may be a better life for him than the carefree innocence I once hoped he would always have, that same life I grieved after he was diagnosed. One thing that life has taught me thus far is that blessings come in many forms, and for us, closing in on three years, i can honesty say T1D has blessed us in so many ways…

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