Diabetes…Type 1 none the less has been the most trying experience and exhausting disease that you can possibly fathom; not to say that there aren’t other’s but I speak from my own experience. I have this constant impending doom that swims over me like a fog, that should I slip for one moment, should I allow my guard to falter for even a second; I could potentially lose my son.
I am his Pancreas, I am his nurse, I am his provider and I am his army and to be quite frank, I am also exhausted! I endure restless nights, I withstand patiently as every little judgement and every little number is questioned. I find Pinterest recipes when eating is no longer fun and more of a requirement and is limited to him. I search for results and solutions to the questions that he has in regards to his own life. I manage his meals, his medications, his appointments, his school nurse and teacher. Should he be away from me at any point in time, I manage those in charge. I carry with me disappointment, regret, sadness and dare I say it again? Exhaustion!
The nights in ICU are brutal and the sounds of the monitors beeping, allow for no sleep. Any beep and every beep can be a potential issue I need to be aware of. Even though he is amongst professionals, I have held on so tightly for so long, I can’t seem to let go. It wasn’t always this way though.
As a woman, there is a point in your life where you truly take on the full embodiment of a mother. For some it’s the feeling of life growing inside you, for others its the nestling of a small baby in your arms and knowing that you are all they have. For me that moment took years to come. I carried a sort of resentment towards those cookie cutter moms who carried their children with such pride. The mothers that created Halloween costumes from scratch and looked forward to school events and PTA meetings. Where was my embodiment? Had I missed my moment?
There was emptiness in that department and I never truly embraced those moments that were passing by me. Some women were made for motherhood, it was apparent that I was not. So my husband and mother-in-law assumed the role that I was unable to fulfill and I searched for meaning elsewhere. I dived into a career that would be the baby I never truly embraced. It was everything for a time and in some regards it still is.
Then something happened, that I can only describe as a strange, unexplainable, unfortunate and devastating event. My youngest son was falling asleep in daycare and was pale. I never had the intuition of a mother but all flags were going off and I was not to be refused. I took him to the closest hospital and as the doctors simply dismissed it as a cold and asked that he see his family physician in the morning, I remained stubborn and insistent. I may not have always been the mother they wanted but I certainly was the mother that they needed. I would not allow my children despite my lack of emotion to suffer. I would not allow him to be ignored as he was too weak and little to fight for himself. I asked for every test possible and when his blood sugar came back at over 1000, I was shocked. I imagined something but not this. No one had Diabetes in my family, I had no idea what that even meant.
As the sudden rush of an emergency became present, all the nurses and doctors carted my son away to stabilize him as best as they could. As the plastic bags of liquid were injected and the insulin was administered at a slow drip. I watched as he cried, when they couldn’t find a vein due to his lack of hydration. I stood in silence as a nurse briefed me on my son’s condition. I was breaking inside and had to hold it inside to not scare him. I waited for my husband to arrive and once he did. I left that room as fast as I could! Something came over me and I couldn’t contain it. I had my moment, I embraced and embodied the very meaning of motherhood in that instant. My heart was broken and for the first time in my life I was terrified for my children.
I cried and fell to the ground in defeat, unsure of how to move forward with all of these feelings as they clouded my judgement. I knew that this was not about me and I needed to be by his side and silently I knew that tonight as he slept safely in the care of professionals; I would cry. As AJ was rushed to pediatric ICU, I remained calm and hopeful. I watched as they managed his hyperglycemia and prayed for his discomfort to stop. That night as he slept, with the sounds that I would soon become accustomed to; I watched intently. I watched him and saw every moment of his childhood. I absorbed all the issues he’s endured at such a young age and processed all the challenges to come. I watched my fragile, 9-year-old… 50 lb. child lie there. I watched as the wires were coming from all ends. I listened to the sounds of parents questioning concerns and their children’s faint cries through the night. I held on to the chair for dear life as the tears ran rampant down my face. I faced the decision and understanding that I was his only hope and things needed to change. That was not only the scariest moment of my life but the best decision of my life.
As the years past, I have seen more Endocrinologist then I care for, I have become a Diabetes expert, a mother with OCD in regards to his health. I have consumed my life with work but also with my family. He is the happiest child I have ever known and yet the bravest I may ever know. He has taught so much and yet till this day I still learn. Through him, I have learned forgiveness, endurance, laughter and hope. I have gained a closeness that I never knew. I have become the mother I never thought I would be and even though I’m still not a cookie cutting mom; its ok. I am a loving, fearless and determined mother. So yes, Diabetes has been the worst thing to happen to my family but dare I say it has been a gift in its own respects. I gained something that is priceless. I gained motherhood….