Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Needles

The first time I fainted I was five years old. I was in the bathroom with my mom and she was helping me pull a tooth that should have been pulled days ago. I was a small, scared child. I remember waking up with my mom holding me in a panic. I wish I could say this was the last time this happened.

Again, when I was nine years old I was at the doctor's office. I wasn't gaining weight, was very small for my age, and was constantly hungry. The Dr. wanted to run labs on me to figure out what was wrong. They were taking blood for the test to see if I had type 1 diabetes (ten years before I was actually diagnosed) and I seized and fainted in the floor.

This has happened so many times in my life that I cannot even count. Clearly, I have a fear of needles and blood. A fear that causes me to seize and faint.

When I was diagnosed, I was pretty incoherent and in DKA. When the Emergency Room Dr. told me, "you have type 1 diabetes," I knew what that meant. A lifetime of needles.

When the world tilts like this, what do you do?

You work through it. Or else you die.

These thoughts were clear in my foggy brain. I knew I had no choice.

None.

From that moment on, I did not cry about it. I did not complain. When the nurse came in my room to let me administer my first shot, I just did it. My hand was shaking so bad I had to use my other hand to steady it. I eased the needle in so slowly, I am sure the nurse thought I was deranged. I pulled it out and looked up at my mom.

"I did it."

"I know," she said.

I cannot imagine the thoughts that were going through her mind at that moment. The one child she has that is squeamish and scared. The only one. This is the hand she is dealt.

Fast forward many years later, I check into the hospital for a cesarean. I am brave. I do not complain, though I am terrified. The world tilts again, but I am all right. I did what I needed to do to bring a new life into the world. You work through it. You survive.

I am stronger for it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Spare a Rose, Save a Child


I am not one to celebrate Valentine's Day. Just not into the commercial stuff. However, this is one thing I can get behind. There are so many people in the world who do not have the luxuries that I do. I can afford my insulin, strips, pump supplies, etc. Diabetes was not a death sentence to me. Help save a child today.

Click here to help! The International Diabetes Federation takes the selfishness out of this holiday. I just sent in my donation. Will you?


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In Sickness and in Health


Editor's Note: This is a repeat post, but I love it and it is Valentine's Day week, so here you go. Since this post, we have added baby bear to our family. I feel all of these things more than ever. I will follow this man to the end of the earth.

In Sickness and in Health


My anniversary is in two weeks. I will be married for six years.

Six.

Count them.

I have never been married to someone with a chronic illness. I am the person with the autoimmune disease. I am the one I like to feel sorry for on depressing diabetes days.

Today is not that day.

Spouses/significant-others play a role in chronic illness that cannot be defined. They are the caretaker, cheerleader, sympathizer, activist, and much more. I cannot even put it out there in a way to do it justice. What he means to me is so much more than your traditional relationship.

We were married right out of college. Not ideal in the 21st century, however, medical insurance warranted it. When I stood on the altar that summer day and held the hand of the person who agreed to love and cherish me, in sickness and in health, until death do us part, I did not quite put the ramifications into perspective.

In sickness and in health.

I don’t think of myself as “sick” most of the time. I appear healthy. I look normal (despite the infusion set and the tubing sticking out of my shirt or my pocket).

Normal? What is that?

Since my diagnosis, living with diabetes has changed in many ways. What has not changed is the support J offers me.

He is in it.

To end it.

He introduced me to JDRF. Came to my pump training. Researched insurance. Formed a Walk Team. Rode in Death Valley. Wrote to congress. It goes on and on. He is my biggest advocate.

He gets my meter in the middle of the night when my Dexcom is alerting and I am too low to move. I lift my hand and hand him my finger. He never says a word. Just is there. He makes sure every morning that I am alive as he leaves for work. Even when he is out of town, I get a call. Never misses a day.

Even when my blood sugar was so low that I said things I didn't mean. He was there. 

When I threw a bowl of crackers at him at 1:00 am because I was desperately trying to gain control. He was there. 

When he is begged me to drink juice in the middle of the grocery store so I can slip back into coherency. He was there. 

When I cry because I am so afraid that my children will one day have this disease, he holds me and makes my thoughts disappear.

Having diabetes can be a solo journey, but having someone to lighten the load makes a world of difference. Thank you for everything, especially re-filling my pump cartridge.

Until death do us part.