It slipped my mind…sort of…well, more so than ever before. Today is the day that Diabetes turns 17 years old in our house. Strangely, it hasn’t consumed all of my thoughts this month. I haven’t planned this post for weeks in advance…in fact I actually had another post planned for this week when I realized the date!
That is unheard of for me.
Every March I think of two things…what will I get my oldest son for his birthday and how long diabetes has been a part of my youngest son’s life.
This March has been a bit different. I was busy this March with other things. For the first few days of the month, I got to spend time with my nephews after not seeing them for a few years. I was able to meet my youngest nephew for the very first time. We enjoyed cuddles and goofing around. It wasn’t until I was home that I thought about his little life and the life of his older cousin–my youngest son.
When my son was his age, he was being stabbed with a needle somewhere in his body 5+ times per day. At the age of 3, his little fingers had tiny marks from testing his blood glucose levels 8 or more times per day. My sweet little nephew had bruises on his knees from playing outside with his trucks. When my son was that age, he had similar bruises but there were also bruises that would sometimes find his arms, legs or stomach after an injection.
I am so glad that none of my nephews have had to go through this. I remain in awe of how well my son has managed to cope. He won’t even notice this day. Life with diabetes is all that he has ever known. For him, it is simply be St. Patrick’s Day–an excuse to go out with his friends and have a beer.
I will pause as I always do. Most likely I will message a dear friend whose son shares this “dia-versary”. On this day, I will be extra grateful for the many incredible and lasting friendships that diabetes has brought into my life. I will also take a moment to cry for the friend who lost her child last year–we were brought together because of our sons’ common diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.
Today I am sure that I will slip back in time for a moment. There will be a pause in my day when I vividly recall the lifeless child that I held in my arms 17 years ago. I will remember the prayers that I said and the prayers that were offered as we rushed to the hospital. At one point today I will see, in my mind’s eye, the doctor who sent my son to ICU and told me, “if he makes it through the next 24 hours, you will need to learn a lot about diabetes.” The phone calls, the terror, the uncertainty will all come flooding back just like it was yesterday.
Today I will quietly cry for the life that was lost but I then I will wipe away the tears. As I tell others, today is about celebrating. Today marks 17 years that my son has lived strongly with type 1 diabetes. He has never let it stop him from doing anything–except for shovelling the driveway in the winter. He seemed to often be conveniently low as a child during that particular chore.
My son now manages his diabetes his way. I don’t test him. Rarely do I know what his blood sugar levels look like. I can’t tell you his insulin to carbohydrate ratio or even his basal rates. Diabetes is his disease to handle now.
It hasn’t all been perfect. There have been stumbles along the way. I still remain there to help when asked. We discuss carb counts or extended boluses. I still do site changes when required. Seventeen years later, we are both finding our way but he is healthy and thriving. I can ask for nothing more…except a cure of course.