Dear Diabetes

dear-diabetesDear diabetes,

It has been three years to the day since you came into our lives. I can still remember so vividly my daughter lying on the hospital bed in the emergency room that day and how pale, sick and scared she looked. I was terrified & heart-broken. Overwhelmed by information, sadness & worry – the first few days after the diagnosis was a blur and yet there are certain parts of it that are etched into my mind forever. Like the shirt she was wearing that day. It had brown polka-dots on it and a pink crocheted flower. I still have it, actually. I can’t seem to let it go. Or the way she grimaced as they were checking her IV. Or the smell of her hospital room and the stark white floors with black scuffmarks all over them. She looked so small in that hospital bed and yet I knew she was about to embark on the biggest journey of her life.

I wondered how we were going to tell a little 5-year-old girl who just a few days before was asking for her nails to be painted pink and was having so much fun sliding down the slide at the park near our home – that from that day on she was going to have to check her blood sugar numerous time a day and get four shots a day? I mean, how do you do that?

This picture is her on that slide just a few days before her diagnosis:

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I can’t help, but think of how much more simple life was at THAT moment that picture was taken. It always brings tears to my eyes when I see it. I also can’t help but think of how we didn’t how much our lives were about to change just a few days later.

Diabetes, you showed up unwelcome and uninvited. I was angry. I wasn’t sure what the future would look like with you in our lives and I was mourning the life that I thought my daughter could no longer have because of you.

Gone were the days of being carefree. Gone were the days of innocence. You took that from us; from my sweet little girl.

Honestly, some days are still as overwhelming as those first few days. The worry cuts to the bone and aches in my heart at times. The greatest hurt is the hurt that sneaks up on you as you are just going about daily life. It comes out in those simple moments and surprises me and takes my breath away a little bit. I know it’s you reminding me that you are still there.

Trust me. I know you are there.

  • I am reminded of you when Caylin wants a snack, but doesn’t want a shot for it.
  • I am reminded of you when Caylin has to stop what she is doing (no matter what it may be) to have her blood sugar checked.
  • I am reminded of you when I get that question, “Why me, Mama? Why did I have to get diabetes” during the nighttime prayers and then I have to comfort her with tears running down both of our cheeks.
  • I am reminded of you when the first thing I think about every morning is if my daughter will wake up. I can’t truly start my day until I breathe that sigh of relief when I see her bouncing down the hall with that big smile on her face and her crazy bed head.
  • I am reminded of you in the stillness of the early morning hours when I wake up to check her blood sugar at 2 a.m. I see her sweet face there in the darkness and I can’t help but hurt and cry. The nighttime is the hardest for me.
  • I am reminded of you when she feels different than other kids. No parent wants that for their child.
  • I am reminded of you every time I go to give my daughter food and I have to measure EVERYTHING, count EVERY carb, account for ALL activity and inject her with insulin.

Yes, there are a lot of reminders of you, but do you know what else I am reminded of? My daughter’s resilience. Her strength. Her bravery. Her good and kind heart when she wants to shield her little brother from what she goes through because she knows it might scare him or worry him.

She makes me SO very proud.

So diabetes, you may be a part of our lives, but remember this – you are only a SMALL part of our daughter. She is so much more than you. I know that as the years go by, she will thrive and succeed. She will be happy and healthy and do SO much despite you being there. You don’t define her. Your presence has made her stronger; it’s made us all stronger.

Oh, and diabetes, if you’re wondering if I am still mourning the life that I thought my daughter could no longer have, that answer would be no. I’m not mourning that life because I’ve come to realize something. She is still living THAT life. It might not look exactly like I had thought that it would, but this life of hers is wonderful and full and blessed. She makes me so proud! What’s not to love about that kind of life?

Today we are celebrating that life with donuts, a trip to Toys R Us and a smiley face balloon.

10 Responses to Dear Diabetes

  1. Traci says:

    Such a touching post. I’m sorry you and your daughter have to deal with the constant worries and work of diabetes. Sounds like she is beyond lucky she has you, though. You’re a solid team. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nichole-the bestie says:

    I am crying! This is so beautiful written, Kristina.
    My goodness, diabetes is dreadful and I am just so sorry Caylin has to deal with it, but God provided her with the best, most kind and caring parents she could ever have in you and Michael. You guys are AMAZING!
    Your attitude is inspiring, truly.
    Continued prayers for her. For you.
    I love you both very, very much!

    • Kristina says:

      Love you, bestie! Thank you for your continued support and friendship! God blessed me when he brought you into my life! :)

  3. Teegee9 says:

    I was just about to start my freelance work for the day and I always check my daily blogs, even though no one posts on weekends. I’ve never left a comment but just know that you always make me smile and today I’m crying – I thank you anyway. You are such a lovely person to read and you are doing a wonderful job. I’m sure it’s very hard to have Caylin deal with this but she’s thriving! Keep it up! I love reading you posts and seeing your projects. This post made me, for a split second, want to go wake up my 18 month old from his nap and hug him but of course I won’t :) Sending love!

    • Kristina says:

      Thank you so much! You are so sweet! I bet your 18-month-old got a HUGE hug when he woke up! ;) Sending you love back! Hugs to you!!

  4. Leighann of D_Mom Blog says:

    It’s strange how vivid the memories are and how certain things remind us. I still have those fish pajamas, folded neatly on her shelf and every time I see the photo of her on her first real bike, I can’t believe that was just weeks before Q’s diagnosis.

    I look at Caylin and her sticker project and her joy and I know that even if diabetes has changed her path, this path is pretty good too.

    (Of course I would still take away diabetes from these kids if I could.)

    Hugs,
    Leighann

    • Kristina says:

      Thank you, Leighann!

      Yep, this path isn’t too bad at all! We are blessed and I know God has great things in store for her! Thank you for your encouragement, support and friendship! So nice to know other D-Mamas fully understand. I would totally take diabetes away from these kids if I could, too. Praying for a cure every day. Sending you hugs back!

  5. Jillian says:

    OH Kristina,
    You warm my heart so much. Its a combination of your talent, your love for your family, and your transparency as a really lovely woman and mama. This post made me cry for many reasons. As a Type 1 super woman my self, I know what your little girl goes through on a day to day basis, and I have cried those same tears and said “why me?!” many times. I feel like when God puts these heavy situations on us, he gives us the opportunity to be a strong and courageous example through his strength. Diabetes is UGLY, no doubt, but how beautiful is it that he chose your little girl to be one of those special people. And at 5?! My goodness, she must be truly incredible. :) Also, she is so blessed to have you. Do you know that? You should. I don’t know where I would be without my mama waking me up in the middle of the night to check my BG, or her always carrying around sugar, supplies and syringes. Its a full time, worrisome job, but God knew you were the best person for it. You are just as impressive and incredible as she is!

    Also…I celebrate my Diabetic birthday with donuts too!

    Keep up the amazing work! And my prayers are with you all.

    xo, Jillian

    • Kristina says:

      Sweet Jillian!

      I am going to email you. All I am going to say here is thank you. Sending you LOTS of hugs and love. :)

      Be on the lookout for an email shortly. ;)

      XO!

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