Please don’t throw a shoe at me. This is not going to be a Pollyanna “Glad Game” post. But I have some things to say that I think are important for everyone’s heart health when you receive a diagnosis.
I’ve read posts by parents of T1 children who were devastated by their diagnosis. I can’t say that was true of me. I noticed some of the signs, confirmed with research what I believed was going on, and our wonderful doctor at our local clinic verified what we suspected. No real surprises. No, I wasn’t happy about it. Those words have made us face fears and have stretched our faith. Katie’s diagnosis changed our lives that day, and continues to do so; but we believe that God is sovereign and loving. He does not allow things to happen in our lives without a purpose, and He never wastes time. Even in the hard things, He is still good. His fingerprints are all over this, and we are safely held in the palm of His hand. So from May 17, 2016 on, it was up to us to discover what God wanted to do in and through this new life. I’ll write more on the purposes we’ve discovered at another time. 🙂
So, why should the parent of a T1 be thankful? First, you have a name for the condition. There are parents whose child fights for life and breath today, doing battle with something elusive and unidentified. Every day is hit or miss. You and I have the blessing of calling this thing something, and knowing that because we were able to get a diagnosis, we can also get treatment. No cure yet. We pray for that; however, we can treat it. There are parents sitting in hospitals today whose child did indeed receive a “name tag” for the condition…but there is no treatment. It is terminal. I’m not trying to be morbid, only real. Be thankful that you can call this thing “Type 1 Diabetes” and you can learn how to manage it from day to day.
Second, we are living in an age of medical advances never thought possible before. When we got our diagnosis, I told our daughter that “If there was ever a time to be diabetic, it is now.” Think of all the amazing things that are available now, which were unheard of only 50-100 years ago. Frederick Banting discovered insulin as we know it in 1921, the year my mother was born. Today we have pumps, CGMs, all sorts of medications and helps ranging from Zofran to ketone strips, many avenues for support and help…and fabulous, ongoing research.
Third, I want to give you my list of things I’m grateful for…perhaps someone reading this will need this encouragement or has been searching for one or more of these resources:
- Dr. Jake Johnson and the nurses at Big Sandy Health Clinic were great.
- Primary Children’s Hospital was a fabulous experience. The nurses in the Diabetes Clinic were all top notch. Honestly, the only negative recollection our daughter has of our time there (nearly a week–she was DKA) is the number of blood draws that were required. She describes her experience in glowing terms. What a great facility and staff!
- Dr. Vandana Raman, our endocrinologist. She is fabulous. Very down-to-earth, knowledgeable and encouraging. Katie has never been afraid of her appointments.
- Support groups on Facebook like T1D MOD Squad, Beyond Type 1, PEP Squad, the Dexcom FB page(what would we do without our Dex?!?) and Christian Type 1 Diabetics Prayer and Support Group. How invaluable, especially early on in our journey, to know these groups existed and that help and advice and prayer support was available to me, literally 24/7. With no other MODs in our area back then, it helped me so much not to feel alone.
- Beyond Type 1 blog has been a great resource for us, including their Snail Mail program which connects T1 kids with a pen pal and even provides a cute stationery set to get them started.
- Daniel’s Jewelry in Rock Springs, WY, has been very supportive to us. They began the KD Foundation when their own daughter was diagnosed at about Katie’s age. They conduct an annual Color Rush for Diabetes Awareness, and support kids who want to go to diabetes camp and college with scholarships. They even provided us with our first T1 medical alert jewelry at no cost (local customers only). So great!
- Diabetic Danica has been Katie’s hero from day one. Danica has a very active YouTube channel, and provides great information and encouragement, reviews, and demo/instructional videos…always with such a positive outlook. We love her!
- Country Burgers Cafe (and Dawn & Tom!) in our home town has been wonderfully supportive of Katie. They posted things in the restaurant for Diabetes Awareness Month, and (unknown to us) even did a little fund raiser. With the proceeds, Katie was able to get something she’d wanted for a long time–a Type 1 Care Kit for her American Girl doll.
- Palace Pharmacy has been amazing in providing friendly, reliable help to us in obtaining Katie’s prescriptions. They even have a program for local customers on Medicaid/Medicare which supplies us with 150 free test strips for our meter each month!
- Debbie Rolfe at Clever Creations donated a gorgeous T1 bracelet for Katie, complete with “HOPE” ribbon and unicorn!
- Of course, our family, friends, and church have been invaluable to us along this whole way, showing love and support, and praying so faithfully for us.
I’m sure I’m forgetting things, but the point is, cultivate a grateful heart. It will do as much for your spirit as the insulin does for the body. Strengthening, health-giving.
I’d love to hear what you are grateful for…share in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org !