Eli

“Stop! No mommy! Please don’t hurt Faif! Please stop!  WHY are you hurting her??”

Ugh…how my little Eli’s words stung.

I wanted so badly for him to understand that I wasn’t hurting his baby sister – that I was only doing what was best for her.

I wanted so badly to really understand that myself.

Type 1 Diabetes is a disease that affects the whole family.  The younger the diagnosis is made, the truer this is, I think, because the family assumes all the care of the diabetic.

When Faith was diagnosed at 9 months old, Eli was barely 2 years old.  I remember, he was fine with all the needles and poking while we were in the hospital.  But, when all of that followed us home, he had a really hard time with it.  It was harder on him at first than it was on Faith.

Every time I pulled out any of Faith’s new diabetes supplies, Eli would melt down completely.  He is normally such an easy going, laid back soul, but he just couldn’t handle this new scary stuff that I was doing to his sister – and have you ever tried to explain to a hysterical 2 year old about the immune-attacked cells in the islets of Langerhans?

No?  Me neither.

But, I couldn’t get him to understand that this was our new normal, and that I wasn’t hurting his sweet baby sister.  I was at a loss for what to do.

This is one of the first ways that my Type 1 mom friends stepped up to help out.  It was so great to have someone to call that knew what I was going through.

Some of them offered ideas for me to try.

Others only listened and offered to pray.

But, they all offered hope.  They had been where I was, and were now on the other side of the storm.  They could tell me it would get better and I could believe them, because they’d been there…and you know what?  It DID get better.  Eli is 3 now and – not only has he gotten used to all this diabetes craziness – he is now an active part of Faith’s support team. Watch this video of Faith recently checking her blood sugar (for the first time, at 29 months!!) to see how supportive he has become (that’s him sitting next to Faith, cheering her on):

Maybe you’re new to this like I was, or maybe you’re a veteran, but are entering a new phase with this whole thing.  Whatever it is and wherever you are, just please know that it will get better, and there are others out there for you to lean on for support.

We’re all in this together and we all need each other.

Find someone that has been where you currently are – or if you see someone entering a storm that you’ve already battled – reach out to them.  And if you can’t find anyone, let me know, and I’ll try to put you in contact with someone.

Because, every ONE needs support!

A Hand to Hold

When my youngest daughter, Faith, was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at the age of 9 months, I could never have anticipated how much our local support group would come to mean to me.  From their first visit the day after diagnosis, to the ongoing friendships I’ve gained at the support group meetings, Tyler Type One has been invaluable for our family.  Rarely a day goes by that I’m not connecting on Facebook with someone I’ve met there.  I often say that I am not thankful for diabetes, but I am SO thankful for the wonderful people that it’s brought into our lives.

Faith is too young to really see the benefit yet, but her siblings have formed some special bonds with the other children they’ve met through Tyler Type One.  It’s just about the only place we can go that no one asks them what’s wrong with their sister, or why we have a dog.  It’s also good to see older diabetic children so that they can see that the future is bright for Faith.

Recently, Faith and I traveled out of town to speak at a fundraiser for a little girl with Type 1 Diabetes.  They were raising funds for sweet Lily to get a diabetic alert dog like our Ruby.  Faith and Lily had never met before, but just a few minutes after we arrived Lily noticed Faith’s insulin pump – and that it was pink, just like hers!  Lily asked her mom why Faith had a pump, and when Angie told her that it was because Faith had diabetes like her – Lily couldn’t believe it!  In the 3+ years that she’d been diabetic, she’d never met another little girl like her!  She thought she was the only little girl with diabetes.

How sad is that?

Later that night Faith’s infusion set needed to be changed.  Lily walked in the room, climbed up on the bed, and held Faith’s hand while I inserted a new set.  It was the most precious (and heartbreaking) moment, because who knows better what Faith is going through than Lily?

Faith thinks Lily is a good friend to have when she gets her pump changed.

Lily was diagnosed at 18 months so she, like Faith, doesn’t remember a time before diabetes.  For these two sweet girls, a life of constant poking, checking, and monitoring is all they know.  How sweet to have a friend that “gets it”!  What a blessing that these girls have each other for support!

Sweet friendship.

Type 1 Diabetes is isolating enough when you know there are others out there fighting the same fight, but to think that you’re all alone in this is too much for anyone to bear.  I am so thankful that because of Tyler Type One, Faith will never know a day of thinking she’s alone in this fight.  She is growing up with a strong support system all around her!

My prayer is that Type One Diabetes Foundation support groups will pop up everywhere, so that no one has to think that they are all alone in this fight!

Because, every ONE needs support!

That one meeting between Faith and Lily left such an impression that sweet Lily calls Faith her "best friend ever". They were both diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at a very young age, and now both have Diabetic Alert Dogs (who actually happen to be littermates). What a sweet, unique friendship they have. 🙂