I read a post online today from a newly diagnosed D-parent. She shared how she is only 2 1/2 months into this life and she felt like she was in denial. She asked if this was normal.
I don't know why, but this post hit me. I read countless posts every day that are diabetes related...and many of them stick with me...many I feel compelled to reply to...offering up support or encouragement. I am usually able to carry on with my day and the post is gone from my thoughts for the most part.
Except for this one.
I can't stop thinking about this parent. I think because that parent was me...six years ago.
I remember taking Emma to a children's museum just a couple of months after her diagnosis. I remember watching her run around with the other kids there...playing...laughing. I remember thinking how this just couldn't be true. I mean look at her! She looked just like those other kids. She didn't look like anything was wrong. She didn't look unwell. I remember thinking that maybe the doctors were wrong...maybe I would wake up tomorrow and she wouldn't have it anymore...maybe the doctors would call me one day and say that they had made a mistake...she didn't have diabetes...she just needed an antibiotic of some sort and she would be right as rain before long. I remember thinking if I just went to bed that night...and closed my eyes extra tight...and slept the night thru...that I would wake up in the morning and this all would have just been a really long...really horrible nightmare.
And then I took her for lunch at the little cafe in the museum.
And diabetes smacked the denial right out of my head again. I pulled out her meter and jabbed a needle into her tiny little finger...saw her wince from the pain...just for a second though...a quick second...because at that point needles in her fingertips were already no big deal to her...she didn't cry anymore...she didn't voice to me that it hurt...it was already just her accepted reality. I scoured the menu for something that I knew the carb count on...I ordered that even though it wasn't what she wanted...because at that point I still wasn't comfortable guessing the carbs in her food...and I didn't know that many by heart yet. She got her food...ate it...and I jabbed another needle in her arm.
I lived in denial for a while. It was something I held onto for dear life. I had to. It's what got me through those first few weeks.
Looking back on it now, I think I confused denial with hope. I hoped it wasn't true. I prayed it wasn't our reality.
Here we are all these years later and I still sometimes will randomly feel that waking nightmare scenario seeping in to my thoughts. The way we as parents cope with this life is really a beautiful thing if you think about it. We grieve the loss of what will never be. We strive for unattainable perfection. We hope.
So, to you, the newly diagnosed parent sharing your innermost thoughts today....I say thank you. Thank you for being brave and speaking from your heart. Thank you for allowing yourself to feel whatever it is you're feeling whenever you're feeling it. Hold on to each day...hold onto it with everything you've got...and know that you can do it....know that you ARE doing it...and it will be ok...I promise you that.