Two years ago this night, I was freaking out. Two years ago this night, I was panicking. Two years ago this night, I was certain that it was entirely possible to actually be scared to death.
Two years ago this night was the last night Emma had before starting to receive her insulin through an insulin pump. I barely slept that night. I knew in my heart that we had made the right decision to begin pumping, but I was terrified anyway. I knew that her blood sugar levels would improve. I knew that it would give her more freedom. I knew that it was a good thing. All of these things that I knew though...did absolutely nothing to help calm my pounding heart.
I was afraid. I was putting all of my faith in this little pink device that runs on one single AA battery. I was forcing myself to leave my comfort zone of injections....where I had been for about 3 years. I felt like I was closing my eyes and taking a leap off the edge of my reality....where I would land, I had no idea. Would I be able to do it? Would I screw up and somehow give her too much insulin and kill her? Would I insert the infusion set incorrectly and cause the insulin to not be able to flow into her body and wind up killing her? How was I going to be able to do this?
...and here we are two years later...
Life with an insulin pump is not easy by any means. It's not a magical device that acts as her pancreas for her. It doesn't automatically know how much insulin she needs or know how to keep her alive on its own. It is not her pancreas....it doesn't compare to the real deal. Nothing could compare to the real deal.
We have had many ups and downs these past two years. The first time I inserted an infusion site into her belly on my own at home, I was terrified...my hands were shaking...I was sweating...stuttering...stammering...laughing like an idiot over the smallest things because I was so nervous. I put the DVD Animas sent us with her insulin pump in and pressed play. I followed along with the how to insert an infusion site section...step by step with the man on my TV screen I would watch a step...pause the DVD...do the step on Emma...press play...watch the next step on the DVD...pause...and do it on Emma. It took me about half an hour to get it done...but I did it...and she was fine...and I was proud of us....proud of myself. I proved it to myself that yes...I could in fact do what needed to be done to keep my child alive every day.
I managed one time to insert the site into her thigh muscle instead of the soft tissue next to it. The tiny plastic canula that goes into her body hit the muscle and bent at a 90 degree angle....causing the insulin to not be able to flow through into her body. I did not know this occurred because I can't see inside of her body. I didn't know she wasnt getting any insulin until about 3 hours later when I checked her blood sugar and the meter simply and horrifyingly said "HI"....which means her blood sugar was so high that it wouldn't register on the meter. That was a definite low point. In fact it was one of the scariest moments of my life. Emma would switch from hysterical crying...to hysterical laughter and back again in a matter of minutes...all because of her blood sugar.
We have gone on two nine hour road trips to the US. She has gone to at least 100 two hour long gymnastics classes while wearing her pump. She has had two birthday parties...two Christmases....two Easters...two Halloweens....all while wearing the pump. She has educated her peers about it. She has educated her teachers and school staff about it. She has had numerous fundraisers...came up with the idea for wanting a diabetic doll like Barbie....all because of her pump. She has spoken with other children who were afraid of the pump..but still wanted to get one too. She has comforted them...reassured them...made them see that it's not so scary. She has met some incredible people along the way.
Her Animas Ping insulin pump has made our lives about as close to how they were before diagnosis as we can possibly get. It has given us freedom...allowed her to regain more of her childhood...allowed her to just be a kid. We have gained a whole new family in our support system at Animas. We aren't just a number to them. We aren't just another customer. We are family....for life.
So, I dedicate this post to you, Jumanji (that's what Emma calls her pump). Thank you for being by my side over these past two years. Thank you for being my greatest tool in this fight. Thank you for all the joy you have given her. I love you and I would be lost without you. Thank you.