Thursday, January 03, 2013

A Year with Type 1

A year ago today, our firstborn, Emma Catherine, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Diagnosed by a doctor, that is. Mommy instinct had told me months prior that that's what she had...that's why she was needing to go to the bathroom constantly, drinking water like she was in the middle of the desert.

Ignorance caused me to suppress that personal diagnosis, although I had already told my husband and some family members that I was pretty sure she had it. "Let's just make it through the holidays first, ok? We don't want to put a damper on things." Then, "We just need to get through this wedding we're all in on December 30th. Wouldn't want to miss out on any of those festivities. We'll make an appointment when we're through with that."

So make an appointment we did, and the Lord was gracious to us. Little did I know, my procrastinating could've landed us in the hospital with a coma on our hands. That's the way many kids first find out they are diabetic. Instead, we were able to have her blood sugars tested with our family practice doctor, who at first said that she didn't appear to have diabetes.

Later that afternoon, we got the call. The suspicions were correct, her blood sugars were way too high for a child who'd been fasting, and here was the name and number of the pediatric endocrinologist that we needed to see immediately.

So it began...the whirlwind diabetic boot camp that saw us sitting in a specialist's office for two full days. Two full days of still trying to process the diagnosis, two full days of blood being taken from a very scared and confused child, two brain-swimmingly full days of trying to comprehend what they were trying to help us learn---the ways in which our lives were about to forever be different.

We practiced giving each other shots in the office so we could be assured we knew how to give them (and that they really didn't hurt). We learned about counting carbs, and counter-balancing them with insulin. The crash course was necessary, since you have to dive in and start correcting high blood sugar right away. We'd check her blood sugar and give her four shots a day, effective immediately.

I remember it all like it was a few weeks ago. Suddenly I felt like watching her put food in her mouth was equivalent to watching her eat poison. Eating out, which we had to do between appointments, was ridiculously scary, since their food didn't have nutrition labels on it. I needed to balance out that sugar, but I didn't yet understand how.

I was afraid I would permanently damage her by doing something wrong. I panicked several times, though not in front of her. I, my husband that second night, because I couldn't fathom that God thought I could take this on. Not me, who was already perpetually overwhelmed by the humbling task of parenting and home-educating these five children.

(This is Emma Catherine captured in a scene where the Lord gave me peace...told me we'd be okay. She's asleep in my bed loving on her new diabetic bear that her doctor gave her. "Foofie" is his name, and he wears a medic alert bracelet, and has patches on all the places where he can get shots.)

God's grace was evident throughout. He graciously allowed us to be diagnosed without a traumatic experience. He graciously allowed Emma Catherine, who previously would cry about things like getting her blood pressure taken, to act like a brave hero about those shots. He got us through the hardest part---those first few weeks---with relative smoothness.

And He's seen us through this year.

Thank you, Lord.

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