As a continuum (totally had to Google how to spell that) to my post the other day HERE, I wanted to finish up with a couple of thoughts I had after I hit "publish". First, I received lots of great feedback concerning the blog post itself, and I am glad that it was perceived as well written and hit all the emotional bullet points that I had wanted. When I wrote it, I had been up since 3 that morning, after correcting Hannah's high blood sugar, thinking non stop about what I wanted to say...what I HAD to say. It was like I was vomiting emotions onto the screen, via my fingers, and could not stop until it was all out in the open. My opinions usually don't matter, in my personal opinion (heh), but in this case, it absolutely does matter. Every parent of a child with type 1 diabetes has an opinion that deserves to be heard and taken seriously.
Our feelings, emotions, and opinions come from a place of knowledge; knowledge that we wish we didn't have. We know that every single child lost to an undiagnosed case of diabetes COULD have been our own child. We know that every child, teen, and adult that suddenly passes away in their sleep from a low blood sugar COULD be our own story one day. We know that every stomach bug, every cold, every cut on the foot has the potential to bring many more health complications, and even death. We know that having a stock pile of insulin, test strips, Dexcom sensors, pump sites, and syringes brings peace, as sometimes life throws curve balls at us and the main source of income and insurance is unexpectedly gone. We know how to fight insurance companies for the supplies that our children require to simply live. We know that Glucagon pens are a MUST have item and that at any time we could be pulling it out and using it on our children to bring them back from the brink of death. It is knowing that waking up every morning and calling out to them to make sure they are still alive to answer is normal for us now. It is seeing the judgmental glances from the parents who are big on healthy lifestyles, as we walk by in Costco with 3 crates of juice boxes because they are on sale that month. You stock up. Those juices save lives, but, at the same time, we know that the outside world doesn't understand the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, so we get memes, jokes, and rude comments about sugar causing ALL diabetes. It's trying not to overreact when having to explain (for the 10th time that day) that yes she can eat that, so long as she covers for it with insulin. No she doesn't need a sugar free or "healthier" option. She can have whatever your child has...she just wears her pancreas on her hip.
All of these things are just a small snippet of what we know and deal with every single day. We don't sleep. We don't ever relax. We have our guard up constantly, ready to throw down with ignorance and misunderstanding. As long as I live, Hannah will always have what she needs. I will never let my daughter carry this burden alone. We are a team, and a damn good one at that. I have personally grown closer to my daughter through this disease, and we have so much to be thankful for. I try and focus on the blessings rather than the bad, though some days I have to just let the negative emotions work their way through me to be able to get to my happy place again. I grieve over the loss of my healthy child, and rejoice that we live in a time where we have insulin to keep her alive and thriving. Diabetes is no longer an automatic death sentence, but it is a constant reminder to me that life is precious and every day I have with Hannah is worthy of praise and thanks to my Heavenly Father. He is in control; I am not. This has been one of the hardest lessons I've ever had to learn, as I am a self proclaimed control freak. Some days I wear that badge proudly, and other days I wish I could take the badge off and leave it sitting on the kitchen counter, to be buried in junk mail and forgotten for a time.
I am thankful for each of my friends and family members who have been in Hannah's corner, supporting her and loving her and praying for her. You all mean the world to this family, and I know I can speak for Shane when I say we love you all.