Tag: d-mom

The Tribe Of The Unglamorous Heroes

The Tribe Of The Unglamorous Heroes Of The Night

The Tribe Of The Unglamorous Heroes Of The Night

– Written by Michellè Dreeckmeier

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Last night I probably saved our daughter’s life.

It was not the first time I had done that.

And neither would it be the last.

Do you want to know what it feels like being dubbed a so-called ‘life saver hero’?

I’ll tell ya. It feels (unglamorously) TIRED.

My ‘heroic act’ – if you want to call it that – comes wrapped in a frenetic package made up of a malfunctioning organ, erratic sleeping patterns, math, carbohydrates, pajamas, insulin, alarm clocks, blood sugars, quiet wee hours of the night, a bad case of bed hair, worry, the promise of a manifesting head-ache the following morning and a young brave person who is inestimably loved.

I am the mother of a daughter who has a chronic, life-threatening, high maintenance, autoimmune disease for which there is no cure…yet. Without any warning our daughter’s body turned on itself and killed off almost all of the insulin producing beta cells in her pancreas. The result: erratic blood sugars which (drama alert) could potentially take her life without much notice. It was two years ago when we received this diagnosis which we wish weren’t: our 11 year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. In that single moment our lives changed forever.

Since that day our daughter has been called:

BRAVE.

COURAGEOUS.

A HERO.

A WARRIOR.

I too use these words when referring to my daughter. Because in my eyes she certainly is all of these things – as is every person living with Type 1 Diabetes.

Each day my husband and I act mostly as standbys – we offer our support wherever and whenever she requires or might need it. Our daughter prefers to manage this complicated autoimmune disease mostly on her own. She’s been like this forever. Independant. Self-reliant. Responsible. Conscientious. She is so (wait for it) BRAVE and COURAGEOUS.

At nighttimes, when she sleeps, we take over and monitor her blood sugars and keep her safe. She needs her rest and we are thankful to do this for her. And since a (much desired!) continues glucose monitor is not covered by our health insurance we get to be on ‘night time pancreas duty’ every single night.

My husband and I have been dubbed brave and courageous heroes as well. Yet, owning these words does not seem real and neither do we feel worthy to be even called that. Let me be clear, my picture of a hero most certainly does not match the tired individual with weary eyes who stares back at me in the mirror in the morning after one of those D-nights. None of our family pursue or aspire to the title of courageous, brave hero. We just do what we have to do to keep our daughter safe and alive.

What we do chase after, however,

is LIFE,

and the HOPE for a cure.

D-life is not about titles and labels and feeling brave and courageous and parading around like hailed surviving heroes. There certainly is no time for that! And even though I myself call my daughter a brave and courageous hero I am very aware that she more often than not does not feel like she is any of those things. In the end it comes down to LIFE and living it to the fullest, and enjoying what life offers us in the gift of FAMILY, the gift of TODAY, the gift of NOW.

Like me sitting here, in the NOW, typing these words while drinking a big mug of strong caffeine laden coffee. Because I am a D-mom. Who slept little last night and now own a pounding headache but, thank GOD, did caught an awful episode of hypoglycemia just in time before things got really ugly last night. This cup of coffee may as well be a glass of champagne. Because despite me losing hours of sleep each month thanks to Type 1 Diabetes I am so very thankful that I did caught last night’s unforeseen and unexpected hypo since I almost opted to not check her blood glucose during that specific time slot. I prefer to not ponder any further on the ‘what if I didn’t’ scenarios pertaining last night.

Right now, for a brief moment, I will silently acknowledge the following to myself: Last night I probably saved my daughter’s life. I fought Type 1 Diabetes and I won that round. And because of that my daughter woke up this morning and I am now the proud owner of war scars in the form of exhaustion which will last for the remain of this day. But thanks to the gift of coffee and GOD I will prevail.

During nights like last night I often like to remind myself that I’m not alone. Somewhere in the quiet of the night there are other parents who also fight for their child’s life, sustains them and help keep them alive and safe.

It might be a different disease or a disability or another condition but ultimately we are fighting the same fight.

And to that I raise my big coffee mug and declare:

Here is to us, the tribe of the unglamorous, reluctant heroes of the night who fight battles of life and death in our pajamas.


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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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