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The Momma Who Just Gave Her Daughter Her First Insulin Shot

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Before 7:30 a.m. today I had to excuse myself to our pantry and have a little cry. I had to shake off the heavy feelings of anger and being overwhelmed before they choked me. I had to re-group, put on a smile and a we-can-do this attitude before opening the door to face our situation:

My 5-year-old bombarding me with questions: “Where’s the needle?” “Can I try?” “Does it hurt her?” “Why does Pippy get to have that and not me?”

My 10-month-old who hasn’t taken his eyes off me since I had to leave him the entire day yesterday to take his big sister to the hospital. 

And then Pip…

little girl playing with tissues

My little girl who has already been through so much. My little girl who bravely takes on life, like we all should. My little girl who now, has yet another life-changing diagnosis. 

little girl playing with tissues

Yesterday, we went to her eye surgeon to discuss the possibilities of surgery for a permanent contact lens for her congenital cataracts. Inserting and removing a tiny minuscule contact in a squirmy outrageously upset little girl is starting to become impossible, and we wanted to hear about other options. That appointment alone was physically and mentally exhausting. Imagine if you can, having to hold your child down in your lap while someone pokes around in her eyes. Imagine if you can, trying to distract her for hours upon hours because appointments are running behind. Imagine if you can, hearing your child potentially needs another surgery after y’all have been through more than a dozen already. 

little girl eating

Then try to imagine getting through all that but still needing to go to another appointment after feeling for a week or two like something was up with your child. Just knowing that something was wrong. Imagine thinking because of her excessive drinking you just assumed something was off with her thyroid medicine. Imagine thinking your appointment would simply be a discussion to change dosages and maybe if necessary, some dreaded blood work.

little girl washing her hands

Then imagine seeing the look your child’s doctor has given you time and time again when bad news arises. Imagine finally breaking down and crying, simply not being able to keep it together. Imagine feeling like it’s always one thing after the other. Imagine hearing your child has Down syndrome, then congenital cataracts, then congenital heart defects, then hypothyroidism, then needs tubes in her ears, then has major issues with her hips and knees. Top it all off with a life-changing diagnosis like celiac disease, and add in all the therapies, blood work, surgeries and appointments. 

Imagine then if you can, having the doctor put her arm around you and explain that your child now also has Type 1 diabetes. Imagine losing it, dropping your head in defeat, feeling the weight of her words and simply groaning “feck.” Imagine trying to reign in your emotions but not being able to stop crying. You’re almost in hysterics because you feel this must be a joke, there is no way one child can have so many things. Imagine nurses who have known your child since she was born coming over to hug you but with each embrace realizing how serious this must be. Imagine having your child rest her little head on your knee because she thinks you are upset, only to then have to hold her down for more tests, more pokes, more blood work while she just cries and screams “Momma” over and over. 

Imagine learning to work an insulin pen, how to poke your child’s finger to do blood sugar tests and get up the nerve to actually give your child insulin shots. Imagine being deathly afraid of needles yourself, to the point where you pass out more times than not. 

Imagine having to know what to do if your child goes unconscious because her sugar levels are too low or having to work out a diet that is diabetes– and celiac-compatible. 

Imagine being so scared of yet another thing that could potentially threaten to take your child away. 

Imagine thinking God or Fate or whomever is running this show, is outta their freaking mind to unfairly give your child yet something else to battle. Imagine feeling so utterly overwhelmed and never being able to catch your breath, finally getting used to one diagnosis only to receive another.  

Imagine after a day like that, rocking your little girl at bedtime, thinking she is asleep, so letting teardrops fall. Imagine her then reaching up and gently touching your cheek, wiping away your tears in her own way and snuggling in deeper as if to let you know it will all be OK.

little girl holding mom's hand

Imagine if you can, all of this. And then you will be me. The momma in the pantry needing to cry because she just gave her daughter her first shot of insulin. 

Type 1 diabetes, you don’t know what you’re in for. Pip and I are gonna kick your arse! Might take a few pantry-cries to get there, but we will.

Originally published: October 12, 2016
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