I've been living the world of type 1 diabetes, which 14 months ago I knew absolutely nothing about, for about 13.5 months now (not that I'm counting). And while I would give my right arm, left leg, an ear, or a kneecap to take diabetes away from my child, I have learned so much and met so many AMAZING people.
My first new friend was Jessica, who I admire tremendously. There we were, two moms relatively new in the world of diabetes. Jessica had about four months of experience on me, and was a tremendous help as I flopped around gracelessly trying to figure out the minute details of this crazy new world. She grounded me, gently letting me know when I'd hopped on the crazy train and fired the engines past capacity. In fact, over a year later, Jessica is still here for me. We may live thousands of miles apart, but we are both participants in diabetes. The amazing thing about Jessica is her ability to exude this complete calmness without missing a diabetes management step. She pulls me back when I start to go down the "if I could just keep her at a bg of exactly 102 for the next two week her A1c..." road - which I'll admit is still a bit too often.
Then there are the amazing adults with diabetes I've met. Probably the person who has made the most impact is Richard Vaughn, because there's NOTHING a D-mom loves to see more than a mature person with diabetes doing well both mentally and physically. Richard is an absolute inspiration. And he's become rather famous here in Sacramento, CA. As Sarah and I travel to the homes of newly diagnosed children, we bring Richard's book, and Sarah loves to relay some of his stories of early diabetes care. Nothing sooths a new D mom's soul like having a child with diabetes tell her about a man who has successfully lived with diabetes for over 65 years and is still living...and living!
Probably the most important person I've met in the 13.5 months since Sarah's diagnosis... is Sarah herself. Yes, I gave birth to her. I cuddled baby Sarah and changed her diapers. I taught her to read and multiply big numbers. I read to her every night for years. - But it wasn't until she was diagnosed with diabetes last year at age 10 that I really saw the person behind the child. Man, if she doesn't blow me away on a daily basis. She embraced her new life with open arms and a smile. She learned along with me how to count carbohydrates. She laughs at her highs and lows, while simultaneously formulating a plan to curb the next one. She hasn't shed a single D related tear since she left the hospital. She's my hero.
As much as I'd like to kick diabetes in the behind and send it packing, I can absolutely appreciate the amazing people I've met through this process. Some of my previous friendships have grown stronger, some weaker. Family bonds have been tested. I now know which people in my life I can really count on. I learned that Sarah's best friend is one of those true friends who really will stick with you through thick and thin, and I've learned that her parents are those kind of wonderful people who are accepting of challenge (they were the only ones to ask for and read the Pink Panther book).
So diabetes, for these experiences, I say thank you. We've learned so much.
But you can go away now. No, huh? Well, it was worth a shot...