Diabetes is ugly. It's an ugly disease. Let's face it, there's blood...there's needles...there's ketones, mood swings, blood sugar swings, complications, tubes, pumps, insulin vials.......it's not pretty. It creeps into our lives causing such chaos when we are so completely unprepared and so utterly unsuspecting. We are forced to make it work...to gather up all of this ugliness and somehow make it our own...make it into our own version of pretty. We are thrust into this life blindly. There is no time for setting things right in our own minds and stealing ourselves for the fear and stress that we are about to endure. The sleepless nights...oh how they weigh so heavy on our hearts. Those deep dark moments in the middle of the night...those that seem to never end...they are perhaps one of the most ugly things about this disease. Those moments where we have to endure the screams and cries of pain and fear coming from our babies mouths...echoing forever in our souls...pure ugliness. Those moments that we find diabetes becoming glaringly obvious in our babies lives even though we make it our top priority to make it not so...to make our kids see and believe that they are not different...that they are just like every single one of their friends...those moments sting with the slap of an ugly reality. Those moments of low blood sugars...be it during a sports activity, a play date, at school, at home, during an illness, for no apparent reason at all....or while our kids are fast asleep in their warm beds in the middle of the night...those moments for me are probably the most ugly thing about diabetes. Knowing that no matter how hard I try..no matter what I do...what I think is right..what mistake I may make...while she is sleeping, I have no way of knowing what is going on in her little body.....because she is not awake to share with me how she feels. Those moments that diabetes steals the re-energizing necessary sleep that my body needs to survive....because I stay awake to play the role of Emma's pancreas while she rests her body and mind. It's pure and total unfair ugliness. The moments where I sit here in the quiet sleeping house and think about what Emma's future holds...will she have any complications? Have I already made too many mistakes causing too many crazy blood sugars that will cause her body to be damaged later on in her precious life? How much time will she spend during her life going to doctor's appointments...getting bloodwork done, testing her blood sugar, giving herself insulin, making adjustments, making her own mistakes with this? Ugliness. Will she blame herself for mistakes like I blame myself in my head when I make mistakes? ugly. Will she be ok? Will she live to be an old woman? Will she have a good life? scary ugly thoughts.
Then I realize that even through all of the ugly horrible aspects of diabetes, there is beauty. Even through all of it's many terrifying and despicable moments...disgusting and unfair moments, there is a light. It leaves a strange and bitter taste in my mouth to say this, but in some aspects I am greatful that diabetes came into our lives. *GASP! have you lost your mind, Amy?!* I am greatful for all of the ugliness of diabetes, for one reason and one reason alone.
The ugliness has shown me what TRUE beauty looks and feels like.
I have had the honour of meeting some of the most beautiful people in the world. Other parents of diabetes children, other diabetic children themselves, people who have the same fight in their hearts that we do...people who want a cure just as badly as we do...people who will do absolutely anything for you or your child...people who cry tears of frustration and anger over this disease with you...and then will pick you up, dust you off, make you laugh, and help you continue on again. People who love your children as their own, people who truly care about you. If that isn't a thing of incredible beauty....then I don't know what is.
Diabetes IS ugly. For me, it will always be ugly. However without that ugliness in my life, I would be missing out on so much beauty...and that would be an unfortunate thing.