I’m a D-Mom Battling Type 1 Diabetes Alongside My Hero

I'm a D-Mom Battling Type 1 Diabetes Alongside My Hero

I’m a D-Mom Battling Type 1 Diabetes Alongside My Hero

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I am a woman.
I am a daughter.
I am a sister, a cousin, a niece, a friend, a ballet teacher, a one-person business owner.
I am a wife.

And twelve years ago I voluntarily signed up for motherhood too. I am the mom of two beautiful girls. I adore being their mom. But one year and four months ago, my previous notion of motherhood underwent remodeling and I involuntarily got signed up for a title I wasn’t even aware existed.

I became a D-Mom. 

I wish I could say that the D stood for something like Dazzling or Diligent or Delightful or Dynamic or Darling or Desirable or…

Instead, the D stands for (daunting, dangerous, defiant, depreciating, disheartening) DIABETES.

On 9 March 2015, our eldest daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. And just like that, our family of four got to wave our pre-diabetes lives goodbye. Together we set out and embarked on a whole new, unfamiliar and scary journey.

A good deal of who we were and where we were heading changed…at the same time much of all of that stayed the same. We still are altogether the same people we were before my daughter’s diagnosis…except…we are…altered.

Redesigned. Revised. Modified. Remolded. Expanded. Evolved.

On a daily basis all four of us get to cultivate bravery and courage; fight battles against worry and all-consuming fear; display our best mathematical skills; employ our finest planning and administrative abilities; pray for a cure…and enough grace and strength to get us through the present day; speak a language stained with medical jargon; fight battles against worry and all-consuming fear… Oh. I already said that.

The moment Type 1 Diabetes, an incurable, chronic, autoimmune disease, arrogantly waltzed into our lives, our lives were altered forever…on various levels:

Even on the level of Motherhood. I went from being a Typical Mom caring for her flock to being a typical mom AND an on-call day/night nurse AND a medical supervisor AND a nutritionist AND a worrier aspiring to become a warrior instead AND a mathematician AND an assistant pancreas AND an advocating voice AND an awareness spreader AND a cheerleader AND a night time blood glucose checker AND a silent crier in the shower AND a researcher AND an educator AND a calculator AND a well timed clock AND a prayer warrior AND a diary keeping track of doctors appointments AND a prescription fetcher AND a co-glucose-tabs-and-snack-carrier AND a double checker of all things T1D related in our household AND a triple checker in that regards AND a quadruple checker for just in case AND an occasional tired and emotionally drained individual.

Yep, I became that mom. I became The D-Mom. My husband became The D-Dad. We became D-Parents. Our youngest daughter became The (supportive and encouraging) D-Sister. My oldest daughter became The D-Warrior. We became a D-Family.

The day my daughter was diagnosed I met Type 1 Diabetes face to face for the very first time. I didn’t know a single person with this disease. I didn’t know a single thing about this disease. Boy, has that changed…

I have learned that Type 1 Diabetes:

Is time consuming;
That it requires daily maintenance 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days, non-stop, no breaks, zero time off, no prospect of a vacation…ever;
It is a bulk of never ceasing math;
It is quarterly trips to the endocrinologist and a list of specialists you have to work your way through every year;
It is uncountable trips to the pharmacy;
It is struggling with health insurance companies;
It is constant loads of info;
It is to wave certain aspects of freedom goodbye;
It is coming to terms with a chronic disease that will never go away;
It is seeing your daughter prick her finger up to 10 times a day;
It is trying to figure out how stress, a growth spurt, puberty, illness and allergies, heat and vigorous exercise might impact her blood sugars on a single day;
It is to watch your daughter stick a needle in her leg or stomach and give herself 5-7 shots of insulin daily;
It is to hold her and cry with her when she has had a hard day;
It is tiring;
It is chaotic;
It is frustrating;
It is emotionally draining;
It is lonely;
It is hard;
Sometimes it is very scary;
It is ridiculously expensive;
It is to mourn and grieve the loss of a life without diabetes;
It is to stare fear in the face every new morning and then to choose to not be overwhelmed or be defeated by It…Until the next morning when we start this battle against fear all over;
It is a phone call from the school to inform you to come fetch your child because her blood sugar is too high and it won’t come down;
It is to get up at night to test your child’s blood sugar when she is sleeping;
It is to know how quickly you can find yourself down in the valley of the shadow of death, and it is to cry for those families who made one last trip there and came out having had to leave someone behind…

For weeks after my daughter’s diagnosis:

I functioned on auto pilot. I was numb. I was stunned. I was completely overwhelmed by every aspect and detail of this disease and the implications it held for my daughter. The impact it had on her daily life was heartbreaking for my mommy heart to bear witness to. Every day I get to watch my daughter live with a complicated and high maintenance autoimmune disease. Every day she is presented with challenges and demands that comes with this disease. Every day she has to manage this disease in order to stay safe…and alive. Every day. Not some days or most days. But. Every. Single. Day.

BUT, before it gets too depressing…

Being a D-Mom is:

To watch the bravery unfold;
It is to witness courage manifest;
It is to see a fighting spirit being cultivated;
It is to know that there is Grace enough for the steps of each day;
It is being “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair”;
It is to hear a small young voice being taught to advocate, direct and teach;
It is to experience the expansion of one’s boundaries of understanding and heartfelt empathy for other parents and families whose children are living with unseen chronic diseases.

I am very aware that we are not alone. There are thousands of brave children doing Type 1 Diabetes around the globe. Every day. And there are thousands of D-Mom ‘s and D-Dads who care for and support their children day in and day out, finger prick by finger prick, shot by shot, pump site change by pump site change, endo appointment by endo appointment.

Even more so there are millions of people who live with other unseen chronic diseases. I never used to know that almost 80 autoimmune diseases existed. Most of these diseases I haven’t even heard of. And for every single one of these people living with one (and sometimes even more than one) of these diseases, there was that moment when they heard their diagnosis for the first time; and a journey that began which they never imagined they will embark upon. There are millions of people with stories to tell. I remind myself of them often. Because my heart has embraced a new level of empathy I never knew was possible.

I’ve learned so very much these past 16 months. I’ve met incredibly brave little people fighting big health battles. I’ve met brave D-Mom ‘s and D-Dads, D-sisters and D-brothers, D-Warriors – young and old. And they are all so much more than this disease. Our family is more than this disease. So is my daughter. So am I.

I have discovered that I still am that Typical Mom I used to be – in spite of the perception that I lost her somewhere. That Typical Mom who loves, and hugs, and disciplines, and lose her temper, and give little backs back rubs at night, and sing wake-up songs in the morning, and oversee (low carb) lunch boxes, and buy groceries (and testing strips), and kiss little cheeks (and little poked fingertips), and whisper I-love-you’s, and reinforce the importance of manners, and bark at clothes lying on the floor, and cuddles her babies… Yes. I still am her. Perhaps an altered and evolved version of her, but I still am her.

I am a woman.
I am a daughter.
I am a sister, a cousin, a niece, a friend, a ballet teacher, a one-person business owner.
I am a wife.

I am a D-mom.


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