Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Our Biggest Supporters

Since diabetes is truly a family affair and since the youngest member of our family has it, we all support one another in different ways. 
Jenna gets support from all of us.  We manage her diabetes care and all the emotional stuff that goes along with it as a team.  And when things just get to be too much for her and she’s sick of being a human pin cushion or has been riding a stubborn high for too damn long and is feeling pretty rough we rally behind her and let her know we are there for her through thick and thin.  Sometimes, when she’s had it up to HERE with all the finger sticks, we will offer to let her give one of us a check.  She likes being on the other end of the lancing device for a change and I enjoy taking the occasional peak inside my own internal glycemic workings.  There are times when she doesn’t feel like doing her own check that her big sister happily offers to do it for her.  And when Jazmine does perform the check, she is always so proud to report the reading to me; She’s eight point two, Mom!  She needs a correction!  I'm left to quietly wonder how my six year old knows that eight point two warrants a correction.  It amazes me just how much Jazmine has absorbed in the last two years.  Evidently, she’s been paying attention!
But like I said at the beginning of this post, diabetes is a family affair and the rest of us need support on occasion as well.  Jazmine has had some difficulty in the past with witnessing the physical trials Jenna has had to endure.  She has been known to make a hasty exit when we’ve had to restrain an unwilling Jenna to have an injection or a sight change.  Recently, during some routine blood work at the lab (which I will be blogging about next week) Jazmine became quite emotional reacting to Jenna’s upset.  My heart broke for both my girls that day.  I was busy holding Jenna during the blood draw and was unable to comfort Jazmine while she watched her little sister endure yet another physical assault. 
J and I are always there for each other.  There have been many nights when I’m feeling tired and burnt out from too many wee hour checks or when diabetes seems hard pressed to relinquish control and I get feeling down.  Sometimes when we just can’t seem to chop down a high I get almost panicky at the though of just what kind of damage could be happening inside my baby’s body.  J knows just how I’m feeling, being the other half of this parenting team.  We both curse the “D” together.  Literally.  Nights like that--if diabetes was an ass, my shoe print would be all over it!  
My mother-in-law has also been a source of support.  She has been willing to learn all the diabetes “stuff” in order to fill in for us if we need her to.  She has mastered the blood sugar check and is presently in the process of becoming more comfortable with dosing Jenna using her pump.  She has even spotted a low before things got too crazy!   I’m thankful that she is open to this.  I’ve heard of other grandparents who are so afraid of learning these tasks that they refuse to care for their diabetic grandchildren.  As much as I can understand their fears, I find that to be terribly sad for everyone involved.
I’ve also had friends from my childhood support me in numerous ways.  Upon hearing of Jenna’s diagnosis, friends I haven’t seen since high-school graduation who have families of their own now and, like me have moved away to various parts of North America have let me know I’m not alone!  Whether it’s been a few kind words of encouragement on Facebook, donations to our annual walk to cure diabetes or offering their creative expertise to make things to sell to raise money for our cause, I have been reminded of the generosity and sense of community that is so much a part of the small town in southern Ontario from which I originally hailed.  
But some of the best support I have gotten as the mother of a child with type 1 diabetes has been from you.  That’s right, YOU!  The Diabetes Online Community.  And I’m so proud to be a member of this strong, supportive community and to be able to give support back.  No one knows quite as well as we do what we go through as people living with type 1 diabetes or as parents of diabetic children.  You truly have to live this experience to understand it.  
I have wondered many times in the past two years since Jenna’s diagnosis how parents got through it all twenty or thirty years ago or longer.  Odds are they didn’t have any other families in their social circles who could relate and there was no internet, no “online community” to draw support from; not to mention the less advanced methods of blood sugar monitoring and insulin delivery--the less predictable insulins they had to work with as well as the far more strict dietary regimens their children had to follow that they somehow had to enforce.  I salute those parents.  They have my utmost respect.
That’s why after only three days into this Diabetes Blog Week I am determined to see this project through to the finish line.
When I signed up for this I questioned my own sanity.  Committing to blogging every day for seven days straight?  Ya, right.  I can’t even get a solid five hours of sleep on any given night.  How am I going to write seven consecutive blog posts?  But this has been a pretty amazing experience so far - to read other blogs and realize that what we go through every day isn’t that different from what most of you go through every day.  You share my fears and frustrations; you know the 24/7 of it all.  
The wind is at my back as I blog with all of you.   
...but we still have a ways to go to get to the finish line of this blog-a-thon.  Three posts down - four to go!  Quick!  Someone hand me some sort of sport drink to throw back!  
I’m in it to win it, people!

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