It was a raw, helpless moment.
And it was very, very real.
Weeks turned into months, and I wondered if I was the only mother of a child with diabetes who had no idea what she was doing. I felt as if my CWD had drawn the short straw for life or something, because her mother couldn't seem to get her act together. Every forum I scoured was filled with happy-go-lucky parents who spoke lightheartedly about beautiful A1c's and the day-to-day management of this disease. Meanwhile, my heart was heavy. I worried that my daughter's fate of a life with horrible complications had already been sealed, because I couldn't make any sense of her numbers, and she had experienced far too many "bad lows" for a rapidly growing brain to withstand.
Dramatic much? Perhaps.
That's when I started reading blogs. I lurked and hopped from one blog to the next. At the time, there seemed to only be a handful of blogs about life with T1D, and most of them were authored by adults who had grown up with diabetes. Their stories helped me realize that I wasn't crazy. Managing this beast is a relentless grind, and even the most seasoned veteran can have ruts of frustration.
It's real life.
Even still, as a parent, I was having a hard time finding other parents I could connect with on a deeper level. I had found an entire network of amazing adults with T1, from which I was able to learn and draw inspiration from, but none of them could relate to the challenges I faced, as a mother trying to manage a growing CWD using current technology. Insulins that peak faster and pumps that can lead to DKA quickly if something goes wrong with the site. An insulin sensitivity factor that stayed above 250 for years, pre-bolusing a picky eater, trouble shooting patterns, birthday parties, and figuring out how to send all this hoopla to school.
Everywhere I turned parents who had already raised their CWDs were telling me to "lighten up", "let go", and "let her be a kid"...as though I wasn't already trying my darndest to do just that! But no one seemed to be able to offer any practical suggestions, because they hadn't ever managed a 3 year old using rapid acting insulin in an insulin pump. They could relate to being a parent of a CWD, but couldn't relate to many of the modern day challenges I faced, because their parenting experiences reflected a different era of technology. I don't mean to suggest there was nothing to be gained from their insight, but deeper connections still seemed elusive.
And so I started blogging.
It has always been my goal to build relationships. I have always wanted to learn more about the PEOPLE behind the stories. I love to see pictures and snapshots from other people's lives, and I feel privileged when given the opportunity to read someone's transparent reflections about their journey. I very much enjoy the friendships I've found through my blog, and tend to use Facebook as a way to keep up with my pals on an everyday basis.
My life is real. Sometimes it's downright messy. I have real emotions, and tend to care deeply about others. It's not about page views or blog stats. I'm not artificial or materialistic, and have no desire to make a million dollars off my daughter's busted pancreas. (Well, unless, of course, that million dollars could be used to support programs such as Life For A Child. I guess then I'd go for the gusto.)
Building relationships. That's why I'm here. That's why I started blogging. I knew there were other mothers out there who were just like me. It took some time, but eventually I started to find them...one by one, and I'm still finding them. Along the way, I've found some heart-to-heart connections with PWDs that I'd consider irreplaceable, and I've been able to learn a thing or two from the parents who traveled this road before me.
This is real life.
So, anyway, when I had the opportunity to attend the Friends For Life Conference, it meant more to me than just attending sessions and gaining insight from renowned resources. It meant real life hugs and conversations. It meant introducing my girls to the children of people I've come to love as if we've known each other forever. It meant strawberry-mint mojitas and laughter and deep breaths shared within a common bond of understanding.
I like to keep things real over here. In the coming days, I'll be sharing more from FFL 2012, but felt like I needed to say this stuff first.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me.