Having three kids with the same Mom and Dad you expect similarities. All my children started life with blond hair and blue eyes, like their Daddy. All my children were born earlier than my due date after my blood pressure began to rise and the doctors determined it was just time. All three were born on Wednesday mornings, after a light rain. Yes, all three. But that last one… well her delivery was textbook. Four pushes and there she was. Near perfect APGAR score. She was a great little eater. She was jaundiced though... a little more so than her brother and sister. The billy-bed came home with us. Back then I didn’t worry much about it. Now I truly wonder if that was what did it. Of course I wonder that about everything that ever happened to her. Every virus. Every fever. I guess I will never know for sure what caused her pancreas to go ca-put.
Today is Wednesday, June 8, 2011. It was nine months ago today that we found out. Funny ~ It was also a Wednesday and it had rained all night the night before. In fact, our electricity had gone out because of the storms. It was a crazy morning trying to get the big kids off to school with out power. I almost called and canceled her appointment, but something made me go. I knew something was wrong. I had my fears about what that something was, but I kept praying God would once again prove me wrong. In fact I think the main reason I made the appointment was that I wanted my fear erased. The only way to do that was to go and get my sweet 4 year, 2 month and 4 days old little girl checked out, even though she had just passed her 4 year check-up with flying colors 2 weeks earlier. But it was not to be. God didn’t prove me wrong. One finger prick and a long 4 seconds later and I knew. Ella Kate had diabetes.
In that moment, when the glucometer read 428, I felt like every dream I had ever dreamed for my little girl died. I felt a real pain in my chest like I had been hit. Fear like I had never known paralyzed me. I could not move. I could not speak. I think I may have even dropped something. But it just lasted for a minute, because in the next minute, my baby girl looked up at me and her little eyes were reflecting my fear. Before my mind could form a thought, my arms pulled her close and my mouth promised her “It will be OK. No matter what, you are going to be OK.” God must have been saying those words through me because somehow when I heard them coming out of my mouth, I knew they were true. I felt like God was promising that diabetes or not, Ella Kate was going to be OK. I truly believe he was. Believing that Ella Kate would be OK is what got me through that day, and every day since.
Now, nine months later, we are 9 months stronger, 9 months more tired, and 9 months more in love with our little girl. For 9 months we have been begging the heavens for a cure, for lower co-pays, and for more balanced blood sugars. It’s been 9 months of fear, finger pricks, shots that sting, and counting carbs… Endlessly counting carbs! But it has also been 9 months of friends loving Ella Kate, offering to learn to check sugars and give shots, and hugs, lots and lots of hugs.
Our friends and family have been super supportive. Of course there are questions from them too. That is only normal. People ask if we are used to it yet? If we have adjusted to it? If she has become more regulated? If it still bothers her much? The answers are: Yes and no. Had to. Some days. And yes, it still bothers her very, very much. But it doesn’t slow her down too much. She still does all the things she did before, minus the Sprite and fruit snacks. Diabetes is a terrible, terrible condition. While there is no cure, there is treatment. Though it is hard, it is doable. Ella Kate can still live a long, happy, healthy, productive life.
And so far, she has done just that. Ella Kate has not only survived these last nine months, she has thrived. She is right where an almost 5 year old should be developmentally, physically, and mentally. (Personally, I think she is years ahead of most 5 year olds in the way she thinks so deeply. I however, am extremely biased!) She is still our Ella Kate. She still gives the best hugs, says the funniest things, and has a belly laugh that could melt the coldest heart in the world. She loves deeply. She delights in her family, her friends, and just life in general. She hates diabetes. She talks about it a lot. Though I hate how fast her childhood is flying by, I pray for the day when she won’t remember what it was like before. I pray a lot these days.
God is good. He continues to bless us, as he did all those rainy Wednesday mornings. He continues to bless Ella Kate. At her last two check-ups Ella Kate’s A1C’s have been good. This one might not be so good as she has decided to test out what happens if she sneaks a few carbs here and there. NOTHING good happens! We pray and work everyday on trying to help her understand. It is hard for a 4 year old to get. HOWEVER, she is growing like a weed. She can’t wait to go to the beach this month, have a Mermaid or Hello Kitty birthday party in July, and start Kindergarten in August. We are looking at changing from insulin shots to a pump… but we are not rushing that. Life does go on.
So here we are. Nine months. One of many, many milestones I expect Ella Kate to reach in her life. I pray each one gets easier on her and that everyday we come closer to a cure. But through it all, life does go on and it is a good life, a blessed life. Here’s to nine months!