Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I’ve been spending a lot of time on tudiabetes lately reading stories of other parents. The parents of kids with type 1 group now has 44 members. While it’s great that the resource is there, it saddens me that these people fit into this group at all.

Some parents there have been living this disease through their child for years and then there are some that just learned of their child’s diagnosis less than a month ago.

These are the ones that really get to me. I can almost sense their sadness in the words they type. And, it brings me back to when all of this started for me.

It was only 20 months ago, but somehow it seems like it’s been a lifetime. Still, I can be brought right back to that doctor’s office and the look on his face when he told me that my son had diabetes. I remember going over to the hospital and feeling almost numb. I made phone calls to some people who were awaiting news of what was going on. I made those calls sitting on a bench outside of the pediatric ICU waiting room. I looked at those parents and remember thinking, “It could be so much worse.” Riley was in a regular room. He only spent one night in the hospital.

And, so, my journey began. I know diabetes will alter Riley’s path, shape him into the adult he will become. It has altered mine. And, it has changed me.

It has changed me for the better. I am much more appreciative of every day that I have with my children and family. The little things that used to bother me don’t bother me anymore. I am just thankful at the end of the day that no matter what has happened, my family is safe and sound asleep in their beds. That’s really all that matters. Everything else is just icing on the sugar-free cake.

Diabetes has not made me bitter or sad. It has made me a better person, a more compassionate person.

And, just like diabetes has strengthened me, I know it will do the same for Riley. He has faced things at his young age that many do not face in a lifetime. And, he has met every challenge head on with the most beautiful smile on his face.

He has yet to let diabetes limit him. And, I hope he never will.

I may be a little sad when another joins the ranks of parenting a child with D. I don’t wish this journey on anyone. But, I also know, that one day that parent will swell with just a little more pride than most when their child stands on the pitcher’s mound, or takes first in a swim meet, or blows the lids off of their grades.

And, even if they don’t pitch or take first in anything or even if their grades aren’t so great, they will still swell with pride, because they know their child is among an elite group. A group that faces obstacles and challenges every single day and yet they keep going.

I am not glad that Riley got D, but I read the posts of the adults with diabetes and I’m proud of him. I’m proud that if he had to join someone’s ranks, that he’s with them. I'm proud that one day he can stand with the Olivias, Brendons, Daniels, Josephs, Emmas, Danielles, and Charlies of the world and be proud of everything he has accomplished. Because what they accomplish will take a little more prowess and a little more strength than most.


Shannon said...

This was a great post, Penny.

Vivian said...

Penny, You are so right, they are in great company. I am glad you are in a good place and that all is going well. Big hugs to you and your little man.

Carey said...

Penny, what are you doin' to me. Gettin' teary in the middle of the office here. Great post. I'll make it 45 members over at tudiabetes. I also feel as if diabetes has changed me for the better.

Anonymous said...

Hi Penny,

I'm just on my way to the airport, so I don't have much time for a comment but if you check out my latest post you'll have an idea of what I feel about you, your family and your approach to diabetes.

Thanks again for sharing your insight


Nicole P said...

What an amazing post, Penny. I feel blessed to know you - though I am sad sometimes about how our paths came to cross. Diabetes is that way sometimes, for me - for us, I guess - leaving one feeling both cursed and blessed.

Thank you for your willingess to share your story here - it is a gift for adults with diabetes like me to read the perspective of parents going through some or all of the challenges ours faced.


Paige said...

sweet post, penny. you got me all teary.

Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing this Penny. I remember Gracie’s diagnosis, and although our experience has been much different from yours, I remember that the pain I felt upon her diagnosis was more physical than any other emotional pain I’ve ever had. I felt physically sick in my grief. I guess I felt like I gave it to her, like it was my fault. Like my worst innermost fear came to pass? I remember this well, but I also know that that feeling doesn’t last. I know that she also stopped screaming and running away from the shot. And I know that there are smiles and happiness and joy, even after diabetes. It shouldn’t’ have taken my 3 year old (now 4) to teach me this as I’ve been diabetic for over 15 years, but still, I guess it did.