That's probably a lot longer than it should have taken. And to be honest, I didn't expect there to be one actual point in time when I reached this milestone.
What am I talking about?
Healing. A reversal of my view of my daughter's T1D diagnosis. The moment I said to myself, "I am so glad we know what to do now" instead of "I remember how sick she was."
It was like an avalanche, rather than sinking slowly in quicksand. I was in the car driving, with the kids, as it happened. In this week, I had been doing a lot of back-searching. Everyday through out the summer, I would say to myself, "This time last year, I remember looking at how thin she looked in her bathing suit," or "I remember how many times we had to visit the bathroom when we went to the ball game last year." (Four times in one inning.) The week of her "diagnosis" was the worst. In my mind, I could revisit the PICU room like it was yesterday, remembering so many details.
Interestingly enough, the day I stopped doing the "remembering" was the anniversary of "Diabetes Boot Camp." (For those who do not know, care of a type one diabetic child requires so much knowledge - nutrition, math formulas, medical techniques, emergency responses, and so on - that those discharged with the diagnosis are required to spend one full day in intense training, and then follow up with several more sessions.)
It was the day we brought her home from the hospital. So much like the day we brought our first child home as a newborn. We thought we knew enough, and pushed away the possibility that we could never really "get" it. We had all the basics, but had to learn how it would apply to our specific child.
We were new parents. Parents of a child with special needs.
You know how when you have your first baby, your other friends who do not have children try to fit right in? They try to say comforting things like, "Sleep when the baby sleeps" when they don't really know. Then they call you during nap time and ask if you are getting sleep. They want to go out with you and assume you have someone to take care of the baby.
This is similar. I was showered with sugar-free recipes. (Diabetics measure carbs, not sugar.) And friends were afraid to watch our "baby," so we didn't go out much without her.
When you have that first baby, you gravitate toward other parents of newborns. That way, you can talk about midnight feedings, sleep schedules, and colic. When you find out you have a special needs child, you also gravitate to those who know because they are there too. And those who are a step ahead of you are a priceless treasure.
We found friends in that latter category. They helped guide us to an endocrinologist who could meet our needs. They were up and on-line at 3 am when we weren't sure if we should change the pump site or wait out the insulin. They recommended the supplies that actually worked and hurt the least.
But their feelings were what helped the most. I had one dear friend tell me that the first year was the worst, but it got easier to deal with after that. (NOTE: Not EASIER. EASIER to DEAL WITH. There's a difference.) So I was waiting for that first year to end.
Waiting for the pain to ease. It's not easy when you hear, even in her sleep, your daughter's gasps of pain each time you inject her. Shouldn't that be gone now? Shouldn't she be used to it? No. It's pain, and she still has functioning nerves. It still hurts.
There was place in the back of my brain that knew the pain we inflicted on her each day was essential for her survival. But the front of my brain was a Mommy who never wanted her baby to hurt. I wanted to cry every time I hurt her.
No, that pain was never going to stop. It isn't going to stop until there's a cure. So in the meantime, I needed to toughen up. Not stop caring, just bring what was in the back of my brain to the front.
Little did I know, I couldn't do it on my own. I apparently have no control over my own mind and emotions. I had to wait on God's grace.
Low and behold, the day had come. My sympathy gave way to the bigger picture. It was the day I accepted her lot and decided to move on instead of whining about her problems. Feeling bad for her wasn't helping her.
She still deals with the pain and discomfort of daily pricks and injections, not to mention the headaches, irritability, hunger, and everything else associated with the disease. And I still try to comfort her with hugs and prayers, because they are really the only help I can give.
It might take my daughter longer than it took me. She's only eight. She's smart, and she's tough, but she's got a lot on her plate. (No pun intended.) Her life is in the hands of the same God who gives the same grace, but it's a whole different ball game between those two.
For me, though, God has given me the gift of seeing our blessing. I've come out the darkness of "why?" and entered the lighter stage of "when?" There will be a cure, and my daughter will go back to where she was before the pain. She will eat without checking her blood sugar. We will go out without packs of quick-acting sugar. She won't have to sit out at the pool due to low blood sugar, and we will ALL sleep through the night every night! (I can't wait.)
It will come. Until then, I can give thanks. Thank you, Lord, that we aren't living and dying in 1921. Thank you, Lord, that there is no question about whether or not we can obtain insulin and have a way to get it in her. Thank you, that it always works. Thank you that we have not had to go back to the hospital. (For her anyway.)
I spent too long being sad and worried. I still have some sadness and worry. But now I am glad to introduce hope and optimism back into my life. Here's hoping that might make the rest of our time go a little quicker.
Passion Under Grace,