Teenage hands.

When we (yes, I typed ‘we’) were first diagnosed almost ten years ago, my son was a baby. A real live 4 year old baby. A baby in many other people’s eyes too. I mean, c’mon, 4 year olds are still adorable, cute, funny, silly and well, babies.

I used to test his blood using his teeny, baby fingers. I would hold his little, yet chubby, hand in my hand. I would separate one tiny finger away from his chubby friends and I would make him bleed. I would poke a needle into my baby’s chubby finger, to make blood flow, to check his sugar. Check his sugar to see if it was too high, too low, or just right.

I remember thinking and even saying out loud to some of the more seasoned moms, “I will never be able to do this to a teenage boy hand.” I mean, c’mon, teenage boys are smelly, gangly, goofy, and sometimes even obnoxious. Never mind thinking where there hands have been. Teenage boy hands are in places that no mama wants to think about. Sorry for making you think about that.

But, alas, here we are. Here I am with a teenage boy. A 13 year old to be exact. And I can now tell you first hand, that teenage boys are indeed smelly, gangly, goofy and sometimes even obnoxious, but yet, he is still my baby boy. The world sees a 5′ 10″ pre-man, yet, for some reason I still see my 4 year old baby. I still see his chubby cheeks, his two missing front teeth and his teeny, yet chubby, baby hands.

I see his little chubby hand when I dig it out from under him while he sleeps. And in the wee hours of the morning, as I hold his now larger than my hand, if I take pause for a moment, I can still feel his tiny, baby fingers. The slight weight of his tiny hand in mine. How his little fingers curl in tiny fist as I try to separate one friend from the others. So much time has passed since our diagnosis, but in the dark, for those middle of the night checks, it’s just us. My baby and me. Tiny hands turned big. Broken heart turned strong. Little boy turned almost a man. Forever my baby. Forever my heart.

My baby and me.

 

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Eight years…

Eight years feels like a lifetime. But I certainly know it’s not. It flew by in the blink of an eye, or rather a

click of a poker.

 

I want to share with you some things I’ve learned over these last 8 years A TOP TEN list if you will.

 

1.The experienced T1 moms were and still are right. They are the BTDT of my world. Everything they

told me and continue to tell me is like a look into my future.

And they will be surviving.

 

2. Those same T1 moms (that I kind of hated in the beginning ‘cause they knew everything) would

become my closest friends, cheerleaders, advocates, and shoulders to cry on.

And they will tell you that you will survive.

 

3. I would send my son to school with a sugar of 400.

Correct that nonsense.

Peck on the cheek.

Slap on the butt.

Have a nice day!

And he will survive.

 

4. Number 3 does not make me a bad mom, in fact, it makes me a great mom.

And survival seems like we’re low balling.

 

5. There will be people that refuse to learn about type 1 diabetes, people that know ‘too much for their

own good’ about type 1 diabetes, those that know nothing but want to learn, and those that are

completely indifferent to type 1 diabetes. It’s my job to be educate and be patient with them all.

You pray for their survival in the meantime.

 

6. Both you and your kid forgetting you have Type 1 diabetes can be a good thing in most cases.

Survive, hell, thrive.

 

7. When you are 50 miles from home, your POD (diabetes insulin pump) will fail, and you will not have

any insulin.

Or the test strip container sounded like it had more strips than it really does.

Or the insulin you thought was fast acting, was indeed, long acting. Why do they look so similar?

And you will cry, and then survive.

 

8. You will stay awake checking blood sugar and blood ketones every hour on the hour for as long as it

takes when your child with Type 1 diabetes is sick.

And you will drink coffee likes it’s air, and survive.

 

9.Swimming in oceans, going on bike rides, sleepovers at friends house, roller coasters and other

activities that out of arms reach are going to cause stress. Stress and worry like no one can ever

understand unless you’re a mom or dad of a child with T1.

And you both will hold your breath until your back on firm ground, and of course, survive.

 

10, Your kid’s friends’ parents will tell you that you are doing an awesome job with him, because of how

he handles his diabetes like a boss.

 

Like. A. Boss.

 

Survival is for amateurs…more like kicking ass and taking names.

 

Like. A. Boss.

 

 

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Dear Mr. Boss Man…

Dear Mr. Boss Man,

I am tired.

No, not the I-stayed-up-late-and-watched-Parenthood-tired, but the bone-aching, mind-numbing, I-worked-all-night tired.

Yes Mr. Boss Man, I do have another job.

Or rather, your job, is the other job. Your job is the one that pays the bills and gives us health benefits. Your job is the one for which I went to school. Your job is the one for which I have three different certifications. Your job is the one for which I got my Master’s degree. Your job is the one for which I am back in Graduate School. I work at your job from 8:00 am to 3:15 pm. But, you see, Mr. Boss Man, your job is my second job.

My first job is 24 hours. 7 days a week. 365 days a year. Sometimes minute to minute.

Forever. And ever.

In fact last nights shifts were at 11:00 pm, 1:00 am, 3:30 am, 4:40 am, and again at 6:50 am.

I am on call. I run to emergencies. I run to cries for help. I run into the danger. Nothing is too small for me. I am on call. When called. I run. My first job is on the job training. I am still learning even almost 8 years since I’ve been hired.

I did not go to school for this. There are no schools. No college. No Graduate School. No certification. July 25, 2007 I was hired on the spot. I knew nothing, and still wonder sometimes if I will know enough. Yet it is the most important job I will ever have.

No, silly Boss Man, I am not a Superhero. I am a pancreas. Yes, you heard that correctly. I am an organ. I am my son’s pancreas living outside his body. No, I don’t actually hang on his body and pump insulin into him, but I might as well. I check his sugar (or make sure he does), then I take those results and figure out WWtPD…What Would the Pancreas Do, I make guesses and hedge my bets on setting the right formulas in my son’s insulin pump so that it can act like a real pancreas.

Yes, your job in important too. Don’t get me wrong. But there is nothing more important to me than my role as pancreas. You see, because if I screw up, there may not be a second chance.

So I will take tired. I will take sleeping short clips at a time. I will take that exhaustion that is so deep it hurts. It’s my job.

No, I’m not a Superhero.

I’m a mom, of a boy, with Type 1 diabetes. And until there’s a cure, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Love,

Me

 

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