Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Seeing Positives in T1D

Since the girls' diagnoses with type 1 diabetes, I have not been able to see much in terms of positive outcomes from such a disease.

I knew in my heart the girls could do whatever they wanted -- granted they'd have to take a lot of precautions to do it, but... the sky was still the limit.  Yet, my fear, my anxiety, my grief was so deep that I continued to dwell on the negative.

What was lost.  What was hard.

Recently, something in me clicked and the fog of grief finally started to lift. I could see glimmers of bright, blue sky.  The haze wasn't quite so thick.

I can't say it's fully gone - that fog.  Some days it creeps back down and hides the blue.  But, more days are bright and sunny now than they've been in a long, long time.

I've been thinking about the positives that I can see, feel from the girls diagnosis. The positives in our family; their little lives; even in me.

This post is just a glimpse of some of those things that now have a positive twist.  A spin I thought might never come.

The girls strength.
They are SO strong.  Each day.  Each hour.  Each minute.  I see it in them.
Do they have fears?  Sure, but are they overcoming them?  Without a doubt.
They steel themselves against the pain of injections; against the sting of  ignorant words;
against the day to day trauma of high and low blood sugars.
The girls bravery.
Such bravery.  
I think of how we as adults don't like to get 'shots' when flu season comes.
I think of how we as parents fret when our children need vaccinations b/c the shot hurts.
I watch my girls, day in -- day out, take their insulin shots.
Get their pump inserts; their Dexcom sensors.
Sure, they flinch, they may even panic a bit... yet.... at the days end.... they handle it like champs.
I see how they push through when their blood glucose levels are low, high.
When they are shaky and unfocused from hypoglycemia they still persevere.
When hyperglycemia hits and the fear of DKA sets in, yet, they go about their day as usual.
The girls independence.
I've watched the girls go from relying solely on Techno and I for their care,
to now doing most of their care completely on their own.
They can figure out carbs; determine insulin doses; change pumps; check blood sugars;
know when they are low or high and need a snack or correction and figure how how much of either.
Day to day confidence.
Since the girls' diagnoses, I can see a definitive increase in their confidence.
They are more self-assured.  More outgoing.
Yes, they are still shy - it's who they are, but not painfully so.
They also aren't ashamed of their disease.  They have embraced it.
I'm so thrilled about that.  There's nothing to be ashamed of, but many with this disease feel shame.
I know their confidence and willingness to embrace T1D will aide them as they grow.  
Will protect them from depression and rebellious behaviors 
as they become teenagers and young adults.
My growth.
When the girls were first diagnosed I was devastated, scared, confused.
Techno knew all about carb counting, insulin rations, treating hypoglycemia, giving shots.  
All things diabetes.
Me?  I knew very little.  
I knew it could cause long term complications if blood glucose levels 
remained too high over a long duration of time.
I knew Techno had what he referred to as 'insulin reactions' 
where he'd need to drink juice or eat candy.
Initially I didn't want the sole responsibility of caring for the girls.
I leaned on Techno.  Panicking when decisions were left to me.
What if I calculated wrong?  
Dialed up the wrong amount of insulin?  
Gave too many carbs for a low?
Eventually, however, I grew.  I learned the ratios.  How to calculate the carbs.
I made the hard decisions without first asking Techno.
I poured over the information given by the doctors.  I read on-line.
I learned to 'be' the girls' pancreas along side Techno instead of on the sidelines watching him.
Family bonding.
We've always been a close family, but this disease has brought us even closer.
Everyone watches out for the girls and their blood sugar levels.
We all pitch in when the hard times hit.
We pray for a cure.
We protect the girls - collectively.
We share our fears and triumphs.
We monitor other family members for signs of this wretched disease creeping up.
Compassion for others.
I believe the girls being diagnosed has helped us all have a little more compassion.
Compassion for struggles others may be facing we can't see.
I've felt first hand how difficult it can be when someone doesn't understand your situation.
When others don't seem to care to TRY to understand.
The difficulties we all face.
Now, I hope we have a bit more empathy for those walking hard paths we know nothing of.
Their very life.
Sometimes I let the fear of how this disease can ravage it's victims paralyze me
to the point I forgot to embrace the fact our girls are.....
We have insulin we can give them that keeps their bodies functioning.
Yes, days can be hard.  Nights harder, but when it's all said and done,
we have the ability to strive toward keeping them healthy.
The many tools at our fingertips.
We are blessed with decent insurance that affords us many options
in managing  a predictably, unpredictable disease.
Insulin pumps which result in far fewer painful shots.
Allows for more freedom in eating and better overall control in blood glucose levels.
Continuous Glucos Monitors - a device that gives us blood sugar reading in 'real time'.
Instead of relying on finger pokes every 3 hours, we can see readings every 5 minutes.
Catching lows, treating highs are so much easier, quicker.  
Again, allowing for overall better control.  Hopefully better numbers long term.
This particular tool also gives a little peace of mind -- especially at  night.
Alarms go off to alert of highs, lows.
This also translates to more ---- sleep.
No more need for multiple blood glucose checks in the middle of the night.
Yes, alarms may wake us, but it's not EVERY night, several times a night.
The likelihood of a severe low overnight is lessened b/c we can 'see it coming' most of the time.
What peace of mind and peaceful rest that brings.
Life saving tools.

I know there are more.  

I also know when days are tough, when diabetes isn't playing nice, that these positives can get lost in the shuffle; overshadowed by the 'fog'.  But.... on average days, when the girls are flourishing,  I can now see these magnificent things.  These positives.  These streams of sunshine breaking through the clouds and murk.

I thank God daily for our girls.  That they are still here with us.  Some don't have that same fate.  Some have lost their loved ones to this reprehensible affliction.  I also thank God for his goodness.  I know in my heart that this, even this horrible disease, will be used for HIS good in our girls lives.  In our family's lives.  In other's lives.

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