Raising a child with a Type 1 Diabetes isn't easy. I've never done it myself but since I diagnosed when I was seven years old, I feel as though I understand the weight put upon on the shoulders of parents when their child is diagnosed with a chronic illness. I admire the strength put forth by parents to keep their child not only alive, but healthy and able to live as close to a "normal"life as possible. Some of them have given more injections than some nursing students and taken one too many rides on the emotional roller coaster powered by high and low Blood Glucose (BG) levels.
In honor of this past Mothers Day, I've written a letter to my own mother who has put aside a large portion of her life in order to keep me in good health and spirits while living with this disease. To all the moms of Type 1 Diabetics: Thank you for being superheroes. For being selfless and brave. Happy Mothers Day!
When I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in March of 2002, you stepped up to home plate with a bat in hand. You prepared yourself to knock all of the responsibilities and different roles that would be thrown at you, right out of the park. You were hired as a full time, in-home nurse able to give injections and not faint at the site of blood. You were a student taking in the enormous loads of information doctors lectured you on with foreign words like hyperglycemia and bolus. You became a carbohydrate counting machine who could spit out information about how many carbs were in all my favorite foods to make sure that I could eat whatever I wanted. You learned how to be a diabetic before I did.
I complained constantly of the pain from injections and pump sites (remember those gnarly harpoon-like sensors?). I have no doubt that you felt the same pain in having to give those injections and insertions into my fragile arms and legs. I may have been the one crying, but I’m sure you wanted to. Seeing you be brave showed me that I didn’t have anything to worry about. Things would be okay and if they weren’t then you’d be there. This was set in stone when you made sure that the substitute who refused to let me treat my 40 mg/dL BG level would never again work in the same school district.
There was also a time you stormed up and down the aisles of a stopped train to find some form of glucose to treat my hypo. Remember when you drove an hour to help me recover from DKA when I was living on my own? You stood up for me when I wasn't invited to a birthday party because they assumed I couldn't have cake. Situations like these I won’t understand until I’m a mother myself. How you're able to put aside your job, your sleep, and your life to take care of me is incomprehensible.
You might roll your eyes at the utter cheesiness of this letter. But none of this is false. Despite our petty arguments and disagreements, nothing can make the care and selflessness you’ve put into raising me with Type 1 Diabetes seem insignificant.
So despite all the roles you were assigned that horrible day, thank you for being my mother, always. Happy Mothers Day!