The monster in my life…
So this weekend marks a year since my baby Camryn was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It leaves me with a flood of memories and regrets…Camryn was 11 months old and my third child. I already had my oldest diagnosed at the young age of 2. I knew the signs, I knew the symptoms. Yet, as we vacationed as a family and Camryn didn’t seem like herself I couldn’t help but think she just had a stomach virus. She was very lethargic and throwing up. We continued on and tried to make the most of our family vacation. She just wouldn’t perk up. She hung tough and carried on, but I never saw it coming. I guess more than anything I wouldn’t let myself. How could I have another baby diagnosed? On the way home she did nothing but sleep, we got home and she continued to sleep. I thought what a sweetheart letting mommy unpack. I woke her a few times and she drank a small amount of milk and held it down. Figured the next day she would wake up and be at home and be thankful to be in her familiar place. The next morning she didn’t seem very alert. My parents came to visit since they hadn’t seen the kids in a week. My mom was immediately worried. She thought Camryn seemed dehydrated and out of it. The light went off…she was lethargic for over 5 days and not really eating or drinking…we couldn’t get her attention. I was in denial. Thank God my mom spoke up and said we need to check her finger. I knew what was coming and still denied it…I went about my duties as a mom, ignoring what was coming. I felt sick. Really sick. Finally my mom wouldn’t let me proceed. She said get Darryn’s meter now and check her finger. Still in denial I claimed she would be low because she hadn’t really ate in days. I finally, reluctantly, got the meter and slowly checked her finger…waited for the number…I felt like puking. She wasn’t low, she was very high. I knew what was in front of me. I knew this walk…walked it before. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I had another type 1 diabetic. I couldn’t think straight. We of course went to the hospital and were life lioned to Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. I knew it wasn’t good. But hearing the doctors say she was in severe DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) and some make it and some don’t. Giving me the statistics…I was numb…how did I let this happen?
Guilt flooded me. Fear filled me. What did I do? How did I not see this? I have experience at this monster. It has lived in my home for almost 2 years. How did I miss this? What did I do to this innocent baby girl? She is still such a baby and I am to be protecting her. After all, I am her momma. I saw the signs with Darryn early, before he ever even got sick and I knew nothing about type 1 diabetes. How did this happen to her?
We spent the next few days in Pediatric ICU and it was touch and go. However, I saw an online DOC (diabetic online community) and all my family and friends lift this baby girl up in prayer. It gave me strength when I had none left. I saw pictures of her posted by some I never even spoke to. They all rallied together and prayed hard. It was everything we needed. So as we approach her year anniversary all I have are heartfelt thank you's to so many people that were there for our family. I literally had over 1,000+ emails till we left the hospital with her. I cannot begin to thank everyone enough and I pray they all read this and remember how they helped our family and baby Camryn through a very life threatening situation. I will never forget the support and love we were given. Thank you!
So a year later, what does this monster in my life mean to me….having two children with type 1?
It means life is different. We are always checking fingers, measuring food, counting carbs, dosing insulin, changing sites, changing pump settings, and the list goes on and on. I sometimes feel like I am in a prison cell with no life. We choose to stay home and play it safe rather than eat out and guess how to dose. We say no to a lot of things with friends because it takes so much to pack up three small children, then top it off with two kids with needles, insulin, site changes, their own food, pretty much a suitcase each time we go away, sometimes it is just more work than it’s worth.
Then there are other times I realize that they deserve a normal life, as normal as I can give them. I find the courage and do those special things. We go to birthday parties, we go on vacation, we eat out occasionally, and we risk it. Will they go high? Will the excitement take them too low? You know what? I have to let go of that every now and then. I don’t want diabetes to rule their lives; I want them to know first and foremost they are children. They are alive and vibrant like everyone else’s children. They deal with more than anyone should have to…
Give me the strength and wisdom to let this monster in my life stay in the backseat. To not be the driver. Ever. Let this monster never have control over them. This monster may lurk at the bedroom door while they sleep, this monster may follow Darryn to school, this monster may follow us around everywhere we go, but in the end this monster will not win. I sometimes hate this monster that follows my children everywhere we go, but then I am reminded that they wouldn’t be who they are without this monster lurking. Even my only non diabetic child…he wouldn’t be who he is and how special he is without this in our lives
Diabetes certainly requires a lot of us, as parents of diabetics and as individuals as diabetics, however remember do not let this monster win!! You or your child may have diabetes but never, ever, let diabetes have you, your babies or your life.
One day, one day, this monster will be buried. I have the faith and hope to believe as strong as the DOC is and our family and friends, we will bury this monster.