I asked my mother to write about my diagnosis and the years following. I’ve always wanted to get her perspective as being a mother of a Type 1 Diabetic. Now that I’m a mother, I can empathize with a mother’s love and how far it will go. I wanted her to share her thoughts, fears, and doubts. Now that I’m older and wiser I’ve been able to mourn the loss of the life that didn’t consist of diabetes—and close that chapter in my life. Finding out that diabetes has made me who I am. That when I thought I was handed the wrong card, it actually led me to where I was meant to be. It’s made every success, achievement, or victory just that much sweeter.
Mother Of a Type 1 Diabetic: (My Mother’s Perspective)
As a mother your first instinct is to love and protect, that is what I sought out to do. From the day she was born, I felt an overwhelming sense of obligation to fulfill.
But nothing prepared me for what life had in store. In 2002 when she was at the age of 12, I woke in the middle of the night to my child rocking in our recliner. I found it quite odd and I asked: “Brittany what’s wrong”? She replied, “mom I have no saliva and I’m very thirsty”. I knew then something was terribly wrong.
I took her of course to the emergency room. We sat there for what seemed like an eternity. I was told she had to be transported to All Children’s Hospital. Her blood sugar was over 900! By the grace of GOD, she didn’t slip into a coma. That was the day that changed our lives as we know it—even more so for hers.
It felt like someone ran me over. “Type 1 diabetic?” I asked in disbelief. “For how long?” Forever I was told. I didn’t know what to do. I was now a mother of a Type 1 Diabetic, and trying to process all of this at once. I knew nothing about this disease, for this was all new to me. This child that I vowed to protect, I couldn’t protect her from this. I felt like I had failed her and gave her this burden. I didn’t know quite how to feel. I was angry, hurt, and utterly scared for her.
It was life changing. I didn’t know how to keep it together but to see her face look at me, all I knew was that she needed me for strength. I watched her sleep every night, I set my alarm clock because I had to wake her to make sure her blood sugar didn’t drop. I was terrified! This child is my world and I learned quickly how serious this was.
As she grew older of course, like any teenager would she resented being a Type 1 Diabetic. It’s hard enough trying to understand life especially when you’re coming into your own. There’s enough pressure on kids and I tried understanding the pain of what she was feeling. No one her age that she knew was going through this. Having to take injections every day and checking her blood sugar several times a day. Being a mother of a Type 1 Diabetic was hard especially when she was growing up. I knew how difficult it was for her during these years being a Type 1 Diabetic. I wanted to take this from her but I couldn’t.
She was rebellious as all teenagers but more so in the fact, I don’t think she felt normal or understood. I watched her go into the very dangerous low numbers. It was tough because she was incoherent, I couldn’t get her to eat or drink anything. I would call the paramedics and it would take sometimes 20 min. for my baby to come back. There’s nothing more frightening in the world to fear that your child could slip away from your fingertips in the blink of an eye.
It is an absolute life changer, however, it’s not a death sentence. I’m truly grateful we survived those close calls. Looking back I wish I had educated myself more, was involved in support groups and learned more about diabetic cooking tips. I could have never planned for this, but I dealt the best I could and stayed strong for her.
My beautiful daughter has overcome huge obstacles and knows the adversity and the many challenges of this disease. I admire her for her strength and her ability to turn a negative into a positive. Her beauty not only radiates on the outside but on the inside. Her devotion to this cause is not only helping those who need the support, education but also striving for a cure.
I know that because of her energy and drive, she’s going to make a difference. I believe she has found a purpose in this life—that some of us search for in a lifetime.
To all those battling diabetes you’re not alone in this fight.