One year ago today, you were diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. At the time, this was a devastating blow to us. We had no idea what to do. We hardly knew the first thing about diabetes alone-- not to mention the immense care that is required for Type 1 Diabetes.
We spent 3 days in Children's Hospital learning how to care for you. We learned how to count carbs and inject insulin. We learned how to check blood sugar and monitor activities and snacks. We made tough decisions as parents that week (like having the nurses give you two IV ports so that they wouldn't have to keep pricking your arm to get labwork done through the night). We learned what to do at 2:00am if your blood sugar was 68. We learned how to check for ketones by sticking cotton balls in your diaper. We functioned on little sleep and even fewer showers. We forgot to feed ourselves as we practiced and practiced the steps we'd need to master in order to be able to go home. We met your fantastic endocrinologist and had a glimmer of hope that things might actually be okay. We learned what DKA actually was and how close you were to dying. We learned that our touch and our arms could comfort you when everything around you was changing. We learned to lean more on each other and be each other's support system. We learned more of the value of family and how their presence can make the world of difference to us.
It took me three months to realize that I could look at you as my precious little boy again instead of a tiny human who was dying and who I had no idea how to help. Soon, diabetes became a part of our daily routine and it wasn't frightening all the time.
I had my share of tears, I'm sure we all did. Your daddy was such a rock to me. He's always been that way-- from the moment we brought you home as a newborn to the moment when we carried you out of Children's Hospital with a plastic container filled with ice and insulin.
We have learned to adapt to what life throws our way because it's a daily task now. Diabetes doesn't play by the rules, and it involves no rhyme or reason. Ratios and correction targets change from week to week. Eventually, I came to accept that this type of change is inevitable, and that I should never get to used to a meal-time ratio.
It was hard to let you be a toddler and to also have to control so much of what your world was about. Those first few sicknesses after diagnosis were heart-wrenching and very very hard. We learned to rely on God more than we ever have before and we came to realize very quickly that He loves you more than we can, and that Type 1 Diabetes was not a surprise to Him.
August 11, 2014 was the day your life was saved. It was the day when we were sent straight to a hospital emergency room and you were admitted to the hospital and started on an IV of insulin. We hardly slept that night as we held you and all of your cords and tubes. The movie "Planes" played over and over on the TV and I still have trouble watching it today because of the memories it brings back of being in that dark hospital room with a little boy and an uncertain future.
Through this year, we've made great strides. We attended an insulin pump introduction class to learn about pumps. You grew immune to finger sticks, and tolerated injections quite well. We got much better at eye-balling a plate of food and guessing the carb counts. We started paying more attention in our own diets and were floored when we learned how many carbs we had been eating that we shouldn't have. We struggled with A1Cs and ear infections. We battled through the holiday season filled with treats-- and we didn't shun you away from participating in events. We made a decision 10 months in to get you on an insulin pump. Yesterday, we had our final appointment to finish our "start-up" sessions of the pump. Not many people can say that they've been back at the exact hospital 364 days after diagnosis. We can. You've been on the Omnipod for two months now and you are thriving. We've seen more "normal range" blood sugars now than we ever have before.
We're doing it. We're bringing diabetes along for the ride. With each passing day, I believe we will notice it less as it becomes more woven into who you are-- and who we are. I'm very much a realist and I know that Type 1 Diabetes will not just go away, and that no amount of crying or begging on my part can turn back time and stop this from happening. Type 1 Diabetes is a part of who you are and I can never hate it, because I can never hate you. That "little" baby (I used little loosely since you weighed 8lbs 14oz at birth) who arrived at 4:32pm on August 28, 2012, and who made me a mommy, is the same "little" boy who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes just 17 days before his 2nd birthday. He's the same "little" boy who is about to be 3, who has now conquered that first year of Type 1 Diabetes, and who is acting just so incredibly normal. He's the same little boy whom I will always love no matter how challenging life gets.
Although being the parent of a Type 1 Diabetic is hard, it's kind of nice to know that when you throw your temper tantrums and have screaming fits-- your blood sugar is in normal range, and therefore, you're just being a normal nearly-three-old. I know that Type 1 Diabetes will always be harder for you than it is for me, and please believe me that I would take it from you in a heartbeat if I could.
I pray every night for your healing. I know that God can do mighty things and I pray that He chooses to allow a cure to be found.
I love you, dear Michael. Through the good and the bad, through the highs and the lows.
Today, we celebrate. We celebrate the life that you are still living. We have reached our first "diaversary." We got take-out chicken for supper and had a "picnic" on the living room floor as we watched "Cars 2: World Grand Prix." It was the perfect way to celebrate the accomplishments of a little nearly-3-year old boy who has endured so much over the past year.
Always know that we love you deeply. We are so very proud of you.
PS: To read about diagnosis, click here.