This weekend it will be one year since the "Beast" came into my son's life and invaded his little body. One year since one of my biggest fears came true. One year since a sweet boy, who has faced so many challenges in so few years...was given one more obstacle to try and maneuver.
Type 1 Diabetes is a Beast. A big, mean, and tricky disease. In our house, we call it the Beast because it is so tough to tame. So tough to get control of. A game of numbers and so much unknown. I know the Beast all too well. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic for almost thirty years, but even after all these years, I was unprepared for its effect on my son's life. It's effect on our entire family's life.
A year ago, on a bright and sunny Saturday morning in early February, I went for a long walk with my neighbor. I was on another quest to once again try and get healthy. I felt great when I got home. I felt refreshed and ready for a fun Saturday with my family. How quickly that feeling faded away. How quickly fear and confusion took over. I walked in the door and saw my little boy...my little three year old...hanging on the fridge door crying and whining and so distraught. My husband looked at me and his concern told me what I needed to do. Without saying a word, I pulled out my glucometer and took my little boy's tiny finger in my hand and proceeded to test his blood sugar. As soon as I started, my husband looked at me and said..."I know it. I know it. I know Brady is diabetic." I knew it too. I didn't need the glucometer to tell me. I saw it in his eyes. I heard it in his cries. I felt it in the desperation his whole body was radiating. And there it was... a blood sugar over 500. I prayed it was a mistake. He had syrup on his pancakes for breakfast...maybe, just maybe a little bit got on his fingertip. We frantically cleaned his tiny fingers and tested him again. But the results were the same. The Beast was here.
The hospital stay and the first month of diabetes were a blur. Brady didn't return to school untl almost March. Our daily routine became one of blood testing, insulin shots, limiting this and that, scary low blood sugars and carbohydrate counting...lots of carbohydrate counting. Nights out were gone. We couldn't leave our little boy with such a fragile medical condition. This was already my life – but I did not want this life for my little boy. He has so many challenges. He has barreled through so many obstacles. He has already visited the hospital more times than most do in their lifetime. As my pediatrician told me a few months after Brady's diagnosis, "this little guy has faced so much – he sure did not need this." And he told me, he got upset. He, a medical Doctor who has seen so much in his long career, was upset because he knew this disease...this Beast of a disease...would slow down Brady's progress and make everything he does, just a tad bit more difficult. But I told him...don't worry...we've got this.
So we have battled the Beast. We, as an entire family, have fought this Beast. We are learning. Brady's little body is learning. We are learning what foods do what to his blood sugar. For example, we know Cheez its don't raise his blood sugar the way mini-Nilla wafers do – both his favorites, but not favorites for his body. Our parents are learning how to test blood sugars and even how to give an insulin an injection. We are all fighting this Beast.
But no one has fought harder than Brady. He puts up with early morning shots. He doesn't flinch. He cheers me on. His eyes and his smile tell me we are fighting and yes..we are even winning. There is a connection that my son and I have that no one else can quite understand. We know the power the Beast can have on our bodies. We know how hard we have to fight it. I can look in my son's eyes and know how he feels. He can smile wide and I know his blood sugar is where it should be. I know when he rubs his head and lets out a whine his head is pounding from a very high blood sugar. I know. I hate that I know. But I do and I have accepted that I will always be the one who "just knows." Brady and I have a bond that I never would have imagined a year ago, but I have embraced it. Brady and I against the Beast.
It's been a tough year. But this year has brought my little family closer together. We are a team. We are Brady's team. We sacrifice for each other. My husband comes home every day during his lunch break to give his son a shot. My sweet daughter drops everything to test her baby brother's blood sugar or to give him some encouraging words. We support each other unconditionally and this year has showed me how important supporting each other truly is. It's been a year with the Beast, but my Brady has never stopped fighting it and I know from this past year, that he will only get stronger.