I am not Irish. I have never really thought much about St. Patrick’s Day. As a grade school child, it was a day to make shamrocks and wear green to school. Over the course of the years, it was just another day. That was until the year 2000.
That was the year that we all spent wondering if the banks would shut down. Would the Y2K issue crash everything that we had come to rely on? How would our lives change? Well, Y2K never really seemed to impact much but the year 2000 did forever change my life. It was the year that my two year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and was given just 24 hours to live.
For 15 years, March 17 has been a day of sadness and celebration. I grieve for the life my son never got to have–a life without carb counting, injections or blood glucose tests. Its been a day when I relive every minute of naivety, fear, panic, and gratitude.
Fifteen years later, I live in a city that celebrates St. Patrick’s day with a holiday. I have had the opportunity to go to Ireland and fall in love with the country’s rich history. I enjoy listening to many lively Irish tunes. Its listening to those songs and thinking of this day that led my mind ot wonder if perhaps it was that Irish luck that protected us all of those years ago.
Perhaps it was the whisper of a leprechaun that put my son to the front of the cue in the doctor’s office on that St. Paddy’s day so many years ago.
The doctor who would go on to look after my son from ICU to an independent teen could have been an oversized leprechaun…with a different color beard of course. He was definitely a stroke of luck. He was one of the few doctors in that area who were forward thinking with their prescription of insulin regiments. He also believed in allowing us to learn and grow with my son’s diabetes care.
It was definitely the luck of the Irish that led me to make one of my first ever online searches for “parents of children with diabetes”. It brought me to an online email support group that would become my lifeline. With the stroke of a few keys, I “met” people from all over the world who would become my family. I met people who knew exactly what I was dealing with and could help me to find my way.
I found mentors and friends who would be with me through the highs and the lows. We would stay connected, meet on occasion and always been there for one another.
Through them, I would find the strength to go forward and help other people. I would find a way to make a mark and hopefully improve the lives of other families living with diabetes.
March 17, 2000 changed our world. It showed us the insidious nature of type 1 diabetes. The luck of the Irish has been with us in many ways however. We have received numerous gifts along this bumpy path.
Fifteen years later, my son is on the verge of graduating high school. Type 1 diabetes is just something that he has lived with for as long as he can remember. I would still give anything for him not to have to deal with this but its a part of him that he has come to accept. March 17 is a day to celebrate the luck of the Irish, the blessing of those tricky little leprechauns, and the day that my son received his first injection of life saving insulin.