Today was a day like any other. Nothing of great significance happened--the usual routine. It's what happened exactly one year prior to today that makes this day significant for me and my family. Jenna was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 365 days ago and my maternal heart broke like it had never been broken before.
One year ago tonight I had just settled my girls to bed and James had stepped out to purchase more night time diapers for Jenna--as she was using an ever increasing amount of them--when the phone rang.
I remember the sound of the physician's voice on the phone that night, so kind and full of compassion, enhanced by a comforting Scottish brogue. She had placed an urgent call to me regarding the results of a random blood sugar that had been drawn on Jenna that morning at my request. I knew she had to be a mother too as she was genuinely sympathetic to my anguish while she told me I had to bundle up my two year old baby and go to the hospital emerg where they were expecting our arrival. I asked her if Jenna's blood sugar was high. Her reply was heavy with regret when she said "yes dear." I asked her what it was. She wouldn't tell me the lab value but only said, with still more regret "...very high, dear." I sobbed uncontrollably.
James came home moments after I hung up the phone and I had to tell him our baby was in trouble and we had to get her to the hospital right away. I remember pacing non-stop and repeatedly hitting and kicking the couch with all my might while James called our neighbours to come stay with Jazmine until his Mom could make the hour drive up island to stay the night. I couldn't stop hitting and kicking. I had to release the pain somehow. I was so pissed off. I felt cheated on Jenna's behalf. I knew what this diagnosis meant for her. I knew that life would never be the same. And she was so very young--still very much my baby.
I remember during the weeks and months after Jenna's diagnosis having a heartache that took my breath away each time I would remember a time or event before her diagnosis. It was such a painful realization; knowing that she would never again start a day without a blood sugar check, that she would forever be dependent on pharmaceuticals for her very survival and that simple viral infections meant potential hospital stays. I grieved profoundly for the simpler days before her diagnosis when my daughter didn't have any broken organs and her body hadn't yet betrayed her. But those days were gone and knowing that left me feeling desperate for the passage of time to help ease the pain of remembering as only the passage of time can. I kept my eyes firmly fixed on the one year mark. I knew that getting through all the 'firsts' would bring about a healing acceptance that I so badly needed.
A year has passed. Acceptance has taken place. Jenna has had to tap into reserves of courage and strength that no two year old should ever have to. And we, as a family, have had to adapt to our new way of life--of carb counting, blood sugar checks, boluses and corrections, walking the fine line between hypo and hyperglycemia on our own personal, lifelong quest for "control".
But we are grateful. Our girls are thriving. Life is still good.
And life goes on.