Thursday, March 17, 2011

Diabetes is 11 today OR Why won't it leave me alone?

Eleven years ago today, Diabetes announced that it had permanently moved into our lives. Its silent presence before that was masked and hidden. It appeared as the flu. The ER doctor called it an ear infection. I wondered if it was two year molars giving him a hard time. We were all wrong...dead wrong.

I have relived that day a million times over. I can see every second as if it was yesterday. I can still feel that lifeless little form that was my son laboring to breathe while resting in my arms and me praying that he would continue. Everything is vivid and detailed and yet so many years have passed.

We have moved from a meter that took a lifetime to tell us what was wrong and required a gallon of his precious blood to glucometers that give us a reading in five seconds and use only a pinhead amount of blood. We have gone from structured meals to a teen who permanently has his head in the refrigerator and "meal time" is every hour. We have gone from five injections per day to an infusion set change every couple of days. We have gone from a vial of insulin having to be thrown out after one month because we have not used it all and it has expired to using a vial of insulin easily in a week and looking for more to get him through.

Times have changed and we have moved forward. My son no longer has to be forced to eat but rather forced to slow down. I am no longer the only person in charge of his care--he now carries some of that responsibility. I am still the one up at all hours to test. Lows still keep me up for hours on end, forcing carbohydrates into his sleeping mouth. Highs are more common now as his body grows and hormones rage. Our fight to keep him healthy has never waned.

My son doesn't remember that day eleven years ago. He doesn't see it coming every year. He doesn't remember the weeks in the hospital. He doesn't remember the fight for his life. He doesn't remember not being injected. He doesn't remember not testing his blood. He doesn't remember not counting carbohydrates. He doesn't remember going anywhere without his meter. Yesterday I mentioned that Diabetes turns 11 today. He looked at me and simply asked, "Why doesn't it leave me alone?" I told him that I had kicked it out. I had given it its eviction notice. I had even moved and not provided it with a forwarding address but it would not take the hint. We are stuck with it I guess.

And so we make the most of it. We hate Diabetes. It remains the unwanted house guest from hell but we count our blessings. My son is alive! He is here to stress me in puberty. He is complication free to date and lives a "normal" life for the most part. We have made many wonderful friends because they sadly belong to our exclusive "club". We have helped others to learn about this disease and we keep teaching.

I will quietly remember this day eleven years ago. I will remember racing through a storm. I will remember my son being given twelve hours to live. I will remember how far we have come. I will reflect on the amazing young man he has become. I will be proud of how his brother has taken all of this in stride as well--how he looks out for him, how he treats him like a "normal" little brother--black eyes and all. I will focus on the blessings and move on to deal with year twelve.

11 years ago



  1. Gosh...I am really moved by this post. I can almost see myself here in another 6 and a 1/2 years. Weird.

    Happy 11. I am thankful for your posts, your wisdom, and your insight Barb.

  2. WOW!! That was great!! I look forward to being able to say that 11 years from now!!!!