I'm not at all the type to compromise my anonymity by starting a blog. Or perhaps that should be past tense; I wasn't the type.
I suppose I can blame/ thank diabetes for this sudden change in character. Although, with the amount of anxiety I am feeling as I type this and prepare to post my first ever blog entry, I'm not so sure I've undergone a character change, but more experienced something so life changing and so fraught with uncertainty that I feel an overwhelming need to reach out and find others who understand what it means to be the parent of a child with type 1 diabetes. I also long to experience the catharsis that comes with writing one's emotions down.
So here I am... sharing... purging... worrying... losing sleep...
I am the proud mother of two beautiful girls, Jaz and Jenna. The youngest, Jenna, aged 2, was diagnosed with type1 diabetes just two months ago. Any parent who has gone through what we have gone through these past two months has my complete respect.
I should also explain my blog name. I'm sure it seems a bit odd and perhaps even humorous to some...
While my husband and I were in hospital with Jenna after her initial diagnosis, learning about how to manage her care at home, I was attempting to wrap my head around it all and put everything into some sort of perspective. One day while waiting for the elevator to go to the Diabetic teaching room I stated to my husband and our Diabetic Nurse Educator that it was like we still had our same precious little Jenna but that she now comes with a pet monkey, metaphorically speaking.
Like it or not, our little girl now comes complete with a pain-in-the-ass pet monkey that we have to feed, care for and supervise constantly. That's the deal. No debate, no discussion.
I am still attempting to cope with this new "family pet" and trying to take things one day at a time. Because when I look too far ahead there are just too many worries and what-ifs. Like when she's old enough to take over her own care will she be responsible and diligent? Or will she rebel and enter into a dangerous phase of denial?
But I will stop there as it is counter productive and each day brings plenty of things to worry about as it is, like will she have a low in the night tonight? Is she ever going to get over that cold she's had for, what seems like, a month now? Did I give her enough protein and carbs to see her through the night? Did she get more exercise today than I accounted for when I decided on her bed time insulin dose? Does my pediatrician really know what she is talking about when she assures me that Jenna will awaken with a nightmare if her blood sugar drops too low or will she , perish the thought, sleep right through it?
To conclude this pilot entry I wish to concentrate on the positive side of Jenna's diagnosis. For as devastating as it has been, it has also been rewarding. I have seen a side of my baby girl that I had yet to see prior to her diagnosis. She is incredibly brave and unbelievably tough. She truly is my little hero. In fact, both my beautiful, dear girls are inspirations to me to face life's challenges head-on and not let obstacles stop me from realizing my dreams and ambitions. I have witnessed positive change in every member of our family as a result of diabetes. Personal growth does indeed arise from life's trials and challenges.
So perhaps this "monkey" isn't such a curse after all. Could a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes be a blessing in a very good disguise?? I'd give anything for a cure right now so that my Jenna could go through life unconcerned with occasionally over indulging in sweets or balancing activity, exercise and stress with carb intake and insulin doses or possibly facing the devastating long term repercussions of poor blood sugar control.
But maybe type 1 Diabetes offers people an opportunity to gain wisdom beyond their years and learn a few valuable life lessons that most of us may only learn after a lifetime, if ever. And that just might almost make it worth the ride... almost. But I'd take a cure over extra wisdom any day.