• December 2008
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Second diabetes anniversary

Two years ago, J. was diagnosed with type I diabetes at age ten.  She had been feeling icky for a couple of days before that Monday.  I thought she had a stomach virus.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget seeing her gasping for air, fighting to live as her body tried to rid itself of the excess sugar floating around in her bloodstream.   After a day or so  in ICU and then in the hospital,  and loads of diabetes education, she was able to leave the hospital and begin the rest of her life managing and succeeding in spite of a  disease instead of letting a chronic illness run her life.

It’s amazing that it’s only been two years.  It seems so much longer.  Diabetes has become so much a part of our daily lives around here, that I cannot remember what it was like to not know exactly how many carbohydrates are in each serving of each food I prepare.  I do not remember how it felt to have J. go to a friend’s house and not worry about her blood sugar and the possibility of ketones.  I cannot count how many nights I’ve woken up around 2 a.m. to check J’s blood sugar while she was sleeping or to just look at her to make sure, again, that she’s there breathing evenly and peacefully.

Learning to let go and let her learn to navigate her life with this disease has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced.  I’m still here, still counting carbs in everything I cook and writing it down for J. to see when she gets something to eat.   I still sometimes remind her to write blood sugar readings in the log book and help when I’m needed or asked, but I’m not hovering.  I don’t think I hovered much before, but she was pushing back a lot so I stepped WAY back to give her some control in an attempt to avoid rebellion – against both me and diabetes.  I’m constantly working to push all the horrifying possibilities of health problems (resulting from poor control or heredity) out of my mind and try to keep J.’s life as normal as possible.  And yes, I know it’s not all about me.  J. is the one who has to live with a chronic disease.  But my life  includes loving and parenting my children, one of whom is alive because she always has insulin pumping into her body.

All year, J. has been saying that she wanted me to check my blood sugar all day today like she does – upon waking, before meals, at bedtime.   Last night, she didn’t feel like getting an extra blood sugar meter from the closet for me to use.  This morning, she said she didn’t want me to check my blood sugar.  She said she just wanted it to be a normal day.  So we didn’t make a big deal of it.  We just had a regular day.

Well, I’ve appeared to have had just a regular ol’ day.  I’ve privately celebrated all day that my youngest child is healthy, that medicine has advanced by leaps and bounds since insulin was first injected into a patient with diabetes in 1922 , that J. will have the opportunity to live a long life and to continue to thrive.

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