Would our life have been different if Jada had not been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes? Would your life have been different if you or child had not been diagnosed? I've been pondering that question the last couple of hours and at first, I told myself that "Heck yeah...it would be WAY different!" And then I began to reflect over the last 20 months since her diagnosis, and realized that not a whole lot about us has changed.
We were living in Katy, Texas at the time of her diagnosis. Jeff was working for a restaurant chain and we had just moved from Alaska to Texas a few months before. When we move, (and we're DONE moving by the way) we spend a lot of time exploring our new surroundings and enjoying the benefits of living there. Our first road trip after her diagnosis was to McAllen, TX a month after her diagnosis. Jeff was spending a few weeks down there for work, so the kids and I drove the 6-8 hour trip to go and see him. That trip included time on South Padre Island at the beach. Diabetes didn't stop us that time.
A few months later, my cousin in Iowa was getting married, so we took off again. I'll never forget the myriad of supplies that I had to take along with me. Traveling with diabetes is a pain! It was on that trip I felt like I was packing for a newborn baby and all the gear that goes with them! It was on that trip, that I realized that I didn't have to stop the car to give her insulin before we ate! Have diabetes...will travel! Again...diabetes didn't stop us- but it was a PAIN on that trip!
Later in the summer, Jeff was promoted and we moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was scared to death about leaving our endos and had even been discouraged by them to move so quickly after a diagnosis. Her last appointment with the endocrinologist in Texas happened the day we left- with the Uhaul sitting in the parking lot of the dr.'s office! But- we moved and survived! Again, Diabetes didn't stop us.
When we moved Tulsa and had cooler, less humid weather, we jumped back into one of our favorite past times. Hiking. I remember the first time we went- I was so worried about Jada and that she would have a low and I wouldn't have enough food with us, so I way over packed the granola bars and snacks! We took our Kelty backpack with us so she could ride on Jeff's back. But, she was a trooper and didn't ever want to ride. Diabetes didn't stop her that day.
Moving back to Alaska suddenly came to the forefront of our minds again. We missed it and the life we had here so much, but my biggest concern was for Jada's health. There are no pediatric endocrinologists in the state and the closest endo to us is 6 hours away. So, I called the diabetes center here and was able to talk to the C.D.E and she was more than helpful in easing my fears. It was she who told me about the two dr.'s here in Fairbanks who have taken on diabetes as their "specialty" and were doing a phenomenal job. At that point, Jeff and I were confident in our ability to care for Jada and whatever issues may come up. So, the search for a job began and we didn't let diabetes get in our way.
Jeff got a job and we made plans to move. Everything just seemed to go our way.... until we got on the road. We had major vehicle problems in Wyoming and Montana, drove through a blizzard on the way out of Montana and into Alberta and we kept having LOW BLOOD SUGARS!
When we pulled into Ft. Nelson, British Columbia, Jada had the lowest blood sugar she had ever experienced to that point. It really scared me, because we were in a VERY remote small town- and if there had been an emergency, I don't know what would have happened. However, we pulled through and diabetes DIDN'T stop us.
And now we're here. And we're still not letting diabetes get in the way. There are times when it has to take the forefront. For the last month, the d-monster has had our attention, because it's been a bear! I'm not comfortable leaving Jada with anyone right now, because of these lows that just seem to happen out of no where, but they are fewer and far between now.
So, I don't know if it would have been much different for us. We've just added some things to our day- like finger pokes, shots, midnight checks and at times, what seems like endless worry and fear. But that worry and fear isn't always there....because I know that we have the right tools to take care of her and to teach her how to take care of herself.
I do know one thing..... I would not have met some absolutely INCREDIBLE women if it weren't for this diabetic journey. My life is better for knowing you and so is Jada's and the rest of my family. You have helped me to keep my sanity and have encouraged me to reach deep inside so that I could pull myself back together. I know I'm not alone. I would have missed out on all of you if it weren't for diabetes. Maybe that's the one thing that I can thank the d-monster for!