A guy in my high school had a saying: sometimes you get the elevator, sometimes you get the shaft. I never thought about life that way even though I’ve experienced some really rocky times. And just last week I was contemplating updating my facebook status to read how lucky I am to have the life that I live. Little did I know that life was about to come to a screeching halt.
I took my eleven year old daughter to the doctor on Friday as she had been tired and lethargic for a few weeks. She had also lost quite a bit of weight and was becoming emaciated looking. We spoke to him before about the weight loss, but he wasn’t concerned. She just started dancing and we attributed the weight loss to that.
Her doctor checked her out and called for a nurse who administered a glucose test. The results came back sky-high - over 500 which is about 5 times higher than the normal range. He had her in the emergency room within the hour. We spent the next 48 hours in a step-down unit from the Pediatric Intensive Care and as nice as everyone was to us that weekend, I’d rather be just about any place else on earth.
My daughter has Type I diabetes.
She will be insulin dependent for life. She needs six insulin injections and four finger sticks a day and she will continue to need this until a cure is found. FYI - there isn’t one on the horizon any time soon.
My daughter, 5th grader, friend to all, advocate for the less-fortunate, lover of animals, sister, daughter, granddaughter and niece. Best friend to Alex who she rarely gets to see since she moved to Washington State. Ballet dancer, actress, piano player. Child of God. Diabetic.
I can’t begin to express the shock, the grief, the anger, the suffering that I’ve experienced this past week. It’s hard to be positive and it’s hard to be serene when the light at the end of the tunnel is a train barreling down upon you ready to wreck life as you know it. I found a forum for children with diabetes. The first thing they say is “welcome to the club that nobody wants to join” and wow, isn’t that true? You bet it is. I want my kid to be normal - I don’t want a ‘new normal’. I want things to be the way they were last week when we laughed about Pants on the Ground on American Idol or last month when we visited New York City.
But by some miracle, we’ve gotten up each morning and she got her insulin shot and I successfully checked her sugar. I fed her healthy meals and got lots of rest. We’ve also came into a new level in our mother-daughter relationship. One where you can actually feel the closeness it so fills the air. So that’s what I’m doing today - I’m opening my arms and holding on. To my daughters, to as simple a life as I can create for my family, to the ability to do the best that I can - no more and certainly no less. I’m just holding on today. That’s all. And that’s a miracle.
So when you see me and my arms are crossed and my fists are clenched and my jaw seems to be etched from stone, know that although I am mad at the world, this too shall pass. My arms are crossed because I've embraced something new and different and I'm holding on tight because I'm in survival mode right now. And when you see me know that even though I look terribly stressed, well…I am but serenity is on the way. And know that I know with all my heart that God will see me through this darkness. And know that beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am going to find a miracle where I can find none today. It’s out there. And when I find it, I will recognize it as the gift that it is. And I will embrace it.