Get Well Soon
Lucy tore into the yellow envelope. It was one of dozens she received in the hospital at diagnosis. As she slid the card out, I saw cute little bears pictured alongside those familiar words:
Get Well Soon
Back when I didn’t know much about type 1 diabetes, I probably would have sent that card too. It makes sense, right? If someone is in the hospital, you want her to get well so she can get home and get on with her life. People who care enough to send a card, truly want what is best for you, but sometimes they don’t understand that their wish is not a possibility.
There will be no “getting well soon” for our daughter, Lucy. As much as we have committed to staying positive and helping her manage type 1 diabetes (T1D) well, we don’t forget that her body is never completely well.
Every single day her fingers are poked and bled.
Every single day she has to keep up with the medical device attached to her body.
Every single day she has to consider the carbohydrate count on the food she eats.
Every single day her body goes through the torment of blood sugar levels that skyrocket and then plummet leaving her both physically and emotionally affected.
Every single day she lives with the risk that if her blood sugar levels are not properly managed she will either experience highs that will damage other parts of her body or lows that will leave her dead.
As her mother, that last one is not something I like to think about, but it is the reality of T1D. Lucy, and the other millions of people living with T1D will never get well until we find a cure. Those of us who live with them know the day in and day out, never-ending burden of T1D. It can be exhausting.
After years of injections, Lucy recently began using an insulin pump. Shortly after we had adjusted to life with a pump and Lucy seemed to be handling it as if it were “no big deal,” we had a malfunction. I freaked out because we had just transitioned to life with a pump. Injections were no longer part of our daily routine, but I knew we would have to temporarily go back to them until we could get the pump situation worked out. I took a few deep breaths and called Lucy’s endocrinologist. We figured out a game plan to get us through a couple of days before we could get the pump up and running again.
That first night following the malfunction my husband, Joey, was out of town. Somewhere around midnight Lucy wandered into my room and whispered, “I had a bad dream Mommy.”
Because I had a big empty space next to me that night, I pulled back the covers and she climbed in beside me. She rolled over a couple of times to get comfortable and because she did not have the pump tubing attached to her she said quietly and happily, “Look Mommy! I can roll all around without getting tangled up. It’s like I’m a regular girl!”
She said it with a smile and although my own lips curled up to reflect hers, my mama heart cracked inside. I fought back tears because although she shines bright
and fights hard
and adjusts well,
on some level type 1 diabetes always makes her different. It always keeps her just slightly separated from the freedom that comes with being a “regular girl.”
I was reminded in that moment of our choice.
As a family dealing with chronic illness we can choose to live in discouragement or we can choose hope. There are rough days in which discouragement and despair take us over, but always we fight to find the hope in hard places. We keep looking and digging until it surfaces again. We remember the ways our family has grown, the way Lucy has gained a sense of responsibility, the greater compassion that we all carry for others with medical conditions, the friends this community has provided to us, the ways our family lives a healthier lifestyle. We remember all these things because when the worst thing happens, it’s never all bad. A diagnosis of T1D has given our family something to overcome together. It has not destroyed us; it has united us.
Living her life with type 1 diabetes will never be easy for Lucy, but hope shines brightest in the hard places—and so she shines.
Read “Type ONEderland” from Elizabeth Maxon.
Elizabeth offers more hope in the hard places in her e-book Type ONEderland. Find out more HERE.