It was a day like any other when I received a text alerting me my youngest daughter, Abby was being rushed to the emergency room. Like most any other parent my heart raced. Her mother informed me she found Abby in the upstairs bathroom lying on the floor feeling ill.
Abby had recently complained to me she could not seem to eat enough to not feel hungry. She had just returned from her favorite TexMex restaurant, Chuy’s having put away an entire plate of food, chips and queso and was still hungry. When she went to the scale to her surprise she had actually lost weight. In fact over the course of only a couple weeks she lost nearly 15 pounds. She had also been terribly lethargic and was constantly having to go to the bathroom at night.
Another text from her mother: “Abby’s blood work revealed her blood sugar was around 400 (normal is around 75-90). This might be a sign of Type 1 Diabetes.”
Immediately my mind went to the movie “Steel Magnolias” the story about a girl in the South played by Julia Roberts who suffers from and eventually died from complications with diabetes.
“No way,” I thought to myself. This doesn’t make sense. I knew nothing about Diabetes up to this point.
After being evaluated and having fluids intravenously put in her body Abby was flown to Dallas Children’s Hospital. It was there we learned she did in fact most likely have Type 1 Diabetes. For 48 hours Abby didn’t eat, was barely allowed to sleep, suffered the beginning of what would be the first days of lifelong finger pricks and blood tests, counting carbs, limiting desserts and hoping you don’t get a virus because it would mean you will most likely end up in the ER. Oh, and pedicures are out, too. Diabetics are much more susceptible to infections which can lead to loss of limbs. Through it all she never complained.
At one point one of her friends came by to see Abby in the hospital. Abby actually made a joke about having Diabetes while her friend took a picture. Her friend wanted to post it on Instagram, but Abby said, “No don’t do that. People who get really upset about this stuff might be offended.” Overnight her life had completely changed, yet she still maintained her sense of humor.
I’ll never forget something Abby said while lying in her hospital bed. She said, “You know I’ve thought about it. I could be really angry about this, but it wouldn’t do any good so I might as well just accept it.” I was so taken aback by her strength and stoicism. Her Dad, the guy pecking on this keyboard, has actually studied stoic philosophy for sometime. Yet I don’t think I would have ever been able to naturally execute the practice as succinctly as Abby did in that one moment. It’s one of the reasons she’s my hero.
While she maintained poise and grace, I was a wreck. I cried, I was depressed. I was a mess. I didn’t let Abby see this, but she knew. Her first night home with Diabetes it was like having a newborn all over again. What if she went to sleep, had a bad drop in blood sugar and never woke up? This is a real possibility now.
To this day she has never complained about her disease. For someone with Type 1 Diabetes life changes forever. Abby can never again leave the house without her life saving insulin. She will forever have added medical expenses. She now has to stop and consider whether or not she can go somewhere in case she runs out of insulin. She always has to be prepared with snacks in case her blood sugar is low. Oh and sometimes her blood sugar is impossible to manage. It will spike, drop and drop some more. There is no perfect formula to get it just right. She can just do her best. The ends of her fingers are calloused in certain spots from all the finger pricks. She has to move around where she inserts the catheter for her pump so she doesn’t create scar tissue.
Wearing a pump means she always has what looks like an 80’s style beeper attached to her person with a tube attached to a small catheter for injecting insulin when necessary. Yet, even as fashion conscience as she is she never complains about the one accessory she will most likely be wearing for the rest of her life.
Besides not complaining Abby has taken the position that this is part of her life’s calling. She wants to do all she can to help eradicate Type 1 Diabetes. She has become one of the largest fundraisers for JDRF. Currently she is helping to raise money for the JDRF One Walk coming up November 16 in Plano. Please consider helping Abby in her mission by clicking the Team East Texas link and supporting this year’s fundraiser. It would mean the world to both Abby and our entire family.
Remember, don’t get angry when angry has absolutely no benefit. Instead choose like Abby to do something positive.