One Year With Type 1 Diabetes

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Meeting major milestones is a rite of passage for childhood. We look forward to a first smile, a first tooth, a first step, and so many more. We blissfully record them in a baby book and look forward to the day we share those memories with our children.

It was one year ago today that Harper was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Not exactly your typical childhood milestone, but it is one never the less. It's a day that I'll never forget.

There isn't one detail about that day that doesn't still hold a vivid place in my memory. From the slight appearance of Harper's malnourished body that morning to the hesitation in the pediatrician's voice when she gave us the news to the hope in the endocrinologist's voice when we arrived at the hospital.

The wave of emotions I felt from the beginning of the day to the day's end are coming crashing back at me today as I recall the events of the day. From sadness to nervousness to anxiousness to fright to eventual relief, it was, to say the least, a roller coaster kind of day.

Today, we celebrate. Yes, I use the word celebrate because it is cause for celebration. Diabetes is not an easy disease to manage. It requires constant attention and a daily, hour by hour commitment, sometimes minute by minute.

Over the past year, Harper has attended countless birthday parties, two sleepovers, played sports, gone to amusement parks, celebrated Easter and Halloween all while successfully managing her diabetes.

I'm not going to lie. It hasn't always been a picnic. There have been days when both she and I were burned out. The finger pricking, carb counting, and insulin injections can get really old really fast. But for as many bad days, there are even more good ones where her blood sugar levels are almost too good to be true. There are days when she wakes up and happily takes her blood sugar without my having to nag ask.

There are days where the stars align and numbers fall into place. There are also days where I am pulling my hair out in frustration because we can't seem to get her numbers into her target range. It's not black and white. Diabetes is filled with gray areas. What may work one day may not the next. It's very challenging.

I've gone to bed in tears some evenings wondering why this has happened to Harper. As much as I try not to ask myself that question, it's hard not to think about it from time to time. But I have to believe that she is destined to do great things because of her diabetes. Whether she becomes an advocate for research or becomes a health care provider, I know she'll use her diabetes to help others.

And so, today, we will celebrate with cake (and a few extra units of insulin!) and hugs, and a wish for another successful year with diabetes. And of course, we will celebrate the support of our family and friends who have been by our side as we navigate the ever-changing path that is type 1 diabetes.


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