Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Type 1 Diabetes Invades Another Home

I was sitting in the gym early Saturday morning.  While waiting for Riley’s basketball game to start I got on Facebook on my phone.  I had a message.  When I checked it, it felt like my heart immediately sank into my stomach.  The message relayed that a girl that I’ve known all her life, a little girl the same age as Riley, was just diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  Immediately upon reading it tears stung my eyes. 

I spent the rest of the day reliving the day Riley was diagnosed.  Little images would flash through my mind.  I thought of that morning at home, checking his sugar because I knew something just wasn’t right.  I remember gasping when the meter flashed “HI” instead of a number.  I remember running around in a fog trying to get things together to take with me.  I knew, knew deep down, what was wrong and I knew he’d be admitted to the hospital.  I remember throwing his sheets in the washer before leaving, because he had, yet again, wet them during the night.  (A sign of high sugars.)  I remember berating myself over and over for letting him have a pop tart and apple juice for breakfast. 

Saturday night, in the middle of the night, each time I got up to check Riley’s sugars, the girl and her parents would come to mind.  Each time I silently said a prayer for them.  They came to mind off and on the next day too.

Last night, I missed a phone call.  When I checked my messages I heard the voice of the girl’s grandfather.  He said he was just calling to check and see if I had the same number so he could pass it along to the girl’s mother.  I was glad he was doing that.  I am more than happy to offer support.

Again, a flood of emotions rushed in.  I kept thinking of the girl’s mother.  I kept wondering what I would say to her and if I’d even be able to say anything at all.  Every time I thought of it, I would start to cry. 

I completed some chores and then I ran a nice, hot bubble bath.  I sat in the tub as tears streamed down my face and made tunnels in the bubbles.  I ached, actually ached, for this girl and her parents.  Again, old emotions surfaced.  Emotions of guilt for not realizing Riley’s symptoms sooner.  Feelings of guilt for passing along faulty genes to him.  But, mostly, I remembered the feeling of complete and utter helplessness.  I remembered wanting to “fix” my child, my baby, and being completely helpless to do so.  I remembered crying and screaming at God to take it away from Riley and give it to me.  I remembered hour upon hour just sitting on the couch in a fog watching Riley play and run around looking for any sign of a low.  I remembered staring at the clock, consuming myself with when it would be time to check his sugar again.  I remembered chasing Riley around the house to hold him down to give him a shot.  I remembered the feelings brought up from hurting my child to help him.

When I got out of the tub I thought about writing this post.  Then, I decided maybe I should wait.  My emotions were too high and I knew it would be nothing but a downer post.  Things look and feel different in the light of a new day.  I needed to feel what I felt and I needed time to process it so I could move on. 

The thing it all comes down to is this:  Type 1 diabetes sucks.  It sucks big time.  There is no, ifs, and, or buts about it.  Once this disease invades your house, your life and the life of your child will never, ever be the same again.  Type 1 diabetes is like an uninvited house guest that no matter how hard you try to ignore will just not go away.  It comes in and changes the whole atmosphere.  It changes how and when you eat.  It changes how and when you sleep.  It doesn’t leave and give you some space to just enjoy birthdays or holidays.  Nope.  It’s always there.  Always lurking.  Always, always, always demanding attention. 

BUT, everything is going to be OK.  This girl will be OK.  She’s smart.  She’s an athlete.  She has a great support system.  Her parents will be OK.  They will learn, by trial and error, what works for their daughter. 

This girl will go on to do and be whatever she wants.  Diabetes will not stop her.  Diabetes will not define her. 

In the light of day, I see that now.  My mind knows it to be true.

Intellectually, I know that everything will be fine.  But, my Mama-heart aches.  It knows the pain and the sleepless nights.  So, while I know that life will eventually be a new normal for this family, my heart aches for all that it takes and will always take to make that new normal happen.