Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Date I Can't Forget

August 4, 2009

One year ago. On that day I was told that my then 7 year old daughter Taylar has type 1 diabetes.

One year ago today...

I felt like I was outside of my own body as I listened to my daughter cry and yell "I want to go home!" while a nurse put an IV in her small arm.

I watched with a queasy stomach and fear of needles while my daughter received numerous insulin shots every few hours that doctors said would lower her 700+ blood sugar level.

I watched Taylar while she slept in her hospital bed and finally let myself cry about her lifelong diagnosis.

I learned words like hypoglycemia, autoimmune, hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis, insulin, endocrinologist, glucagon, humalog, NPH, glucometer, and hemoglobin a1c.

I remember being gently reprimanded for letting Taylar eat a snack that I didn't realize should have been saved for her next snack time, two hours later.

As I lay in the darkness of the hospital I pictured Taylar going to college and calling home saying she forgot her medicine and how frantic I would be. I pictured her wedding day and made a mental note that she would need a short sleeved dress for shots, and thought of how much I will worry about her health if she and her husband had a baby. Suddenly, although she was only 7, her life flashed before me knowing it would be different now.

I took carb counting classes and a lot of other training sessions that completely exhausted me.

I didn't eat.

I didn't sleep.

I didn't know how I was going to handle all of this. I couldn't help but focus on the foreverness of this disease.

One year ago...

I fought off the nausea that was rising in my stomach and drew up a needle full of insulin and injected it into Taylar's arm knowing I would have to do that every single day, multiple times per day if I wanted her to be healthy.

I began to hate math even more than I did in school. So THIS is what they meant by saying, "You may need this math some day."

I reluctantly cleared out a kitchen cabinet and filled it with diabetes supplies like syringes, alcohol swabs, insulin, glucose tabs, lancets, lancing devices, blood glucose meters, blood glucose test strips, bandaids, ketone blood strips, ketostix, the ever-feared glucagon, a few log books, Calorie King, lists of important phone numbers... and anything else I may have forgotten to mention.

I began to face type one diabetes head on without an opportunity to ever, ever stop.

I cried often. I was hurting.

One year ago our lives changed.

----fast forward----

August 4, 2010

In some ways it seems like this last year has flown by but at the same time I feel like I've been doing this diabetes thing forever. It's a strange feeling. And now that it is one year, what do we do? Celebrate it? Ignore it? It's a weird day.

Now that I am in a better place emotionally and mentally, I can look back at those first few weeks I can see how far we have all come. I eventually got over my sick stomach when giving Taylar shots and I found a good calculator to help with calculating carbs and insulin! I try to not think of the foreverness.... but on bad days it's hard not to. We have participated in one JDRF "walk to cure" and I am on the walk committee for the next one. I am trying to educate people and raise awareness about type one diabetes by manning a JDRF tent at a local community event in September. Yes, I have come a long way. But you know what? It's not really about me. Let's talk about Taylar here.

This girl is amazing. The daily routine that she has put up with for a year astounds me. She is just so brave and strong and amazing and happy and....She inspires me! I could go on! She has also inspired others as well. Her nurse used Taylar as a "model" for a young girl deciding if she should go on a pump or not. Taylar sat in on their appointment and answered questions the girl and her mom had like a professional. When the appointment was over and the door was closing I heard the girl say, "I want that pump Mom."

 I received an email from a friend of mine, sent to me, but addressed to Taylar, about two months ago. Her son was diagnosed with type 1 about four years ago and absolutely refuses to talk about using an insulin pump. In this email my friend went on to tell me that because of seeing how brave Taylar and how she is handling her diabetes, it encouraged her to talk more with her son about using a pump. She used Taylar as an example and actually thanked Taylar! Just for being herself. Oh, his pump start date is in 5 days.......

Not every day in the life of diabetes is a good one, but nine times out of ten, my girl doesn't complain. I don't know how she does it. I am truly blessed.  It doesn't mean that we don't have bad days or that I don't cry anymore.  I feel safe here to say that I still do sometimes.  The difference is that I now know better how to handle things.  I can count carbs.  I know what numbers mean and how to calculate them.  I can draw up a syringe and give injections if I have to (although I'm sure glad Taylar's pump does this part for me now). I have the confidence now to do it.  I can do this.  I never thought I would say that but here I am one year later actually starting to believe it's true.

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