About a week after being diagnosed, it was time for Ella to go back to school. On the way there, I was explaining to her the new routine: blood sugar checks and insulin injections by the school nurse in the office and blood sugar checks pre and post-PE. I asked Ella what she thought about the new routine and she said, with a hint of excitement, "Well, I guess today is the first day of my new life."
I was still an absolute emotional wreck (I'm pretty sure I hadn't showered, eaten or slept since the day of diagnosis), so I was wearing these huge 1980's sunglasses that covered up the majority of my face which were able to strategically hide the tears that immediately sprang to my eyes as I thought, "Yeah, a real sh*tty one."
Growing up there was this plaque that hung on the wall of my childhood home:
Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life
As a kid, it never made much sense to me. I mean, wasn't my birthday the first day of the rest of my life? Yet here was my 6 year old daughter who had just been diagnosed with a disease that changes every single aspect of her day-to-day life not only grasping this concept but embracing it. And me, a grown adult at 34 years old, so overcome with grief and a bad case of the "why me"s still unable to do so.
You have to understand that at the time, I was unable to see the "life" in "today". I was mourning some type of loss that I couldn't even put into words...still can't. Yes, my daughter was alive and yes, there's a treatment for it, but this wasn't the life I envisioned for myself or for her. It was almost as if I was mourning the loss of my "pre-diabetes" daughter. I couldn't look at pictures on the wall because every one I saw I would think, "Oh, that was Ella before she had diabetes."
I remember asking a group of T1D Moms,
"...will I ever laugh again? Will I ever feel joy again?"
The reply I remember the most was:
YES!! Life WITH diabetes is not life IS diabetes
I didn't know how this could be true.
We're a few days away from being 6 months into this whole diabetes thing. I'm happy to say (and to re-assure those of you who are perhaps going through the initial grief and shock of diagnosis) that life WITH diabetes is not life IS diabetes! I laugh! I feel joy! And Ella is no longer pre/post diabetes Ella...she's just Ella!
I'd be lying if I told you it was all rainbows and unicorns. I still have moments that hit me out of the blue...like when I started blubbering like a crazy person during Spin Class to Kelly Clarkson's "What Doesn't Kill You" single.
But I know that my daughter's life is and will be anything but a sh*tty one. I know this because I won't let it be... and she won't let it be. Because diabetes will be the big fat loser in our household. Yes, we will have our bad days. Yes I will still have my pity-parties and yes, I will still from time-to-time think, "Why me? Why us? Why Ella?" But...
Today is the First Day of the Rest of Our Diabetic Life
So I'm going to do my best to get out there and laugh a lot, love a lot and to make the most of this amazing & crazy adventure we call life...come what may.