Thanksgiving is done and we are fast approaching Christmas. For me, these holiday times have been filled with so many beautiful blessings that I would be remiss if I did not note a special article to the one person who has held me up in my most challenging of times. My husband, Kevin. To describe him as my rock and my foundation somehow fails to really describe exactly how enmeshed my heart is to him. He is the yin to my every yang and despite the random frustrations that is born of that level of connection, he continues to love me and support my role as the caretaker of our home and children.
Normally my articles are about the emotional and day-to-day “life” that I have to adjust to now raising a son with Diabetes. But my whole goal in documenting my journey is to try and help other people. What better purpose can my life be for, in fact, than to use the trials I've been given to try and shine a little light into the lives of others? So, stepping outside my personal journey for a bit, I would like to take a moment to showcase Dr. Julie Talaiver. Her wonderful approach, not only to my boys but to J’s diabetes, is what gave me the idea to include her in the series of interviews.
I’ve done several articles to date about my life with a Type 1 Diabetic child. In truth, it’s been cathartic for me but I do hope it’s helping others in some way. I hope somewhere, some poor mother who is scouring the net looking for answers comes across my words and reads them and says, “YES!!!! I FEEL THIS WAY TOO….I’M NOT ALONE!!!!” If that’s been you, YAY! YAY that we found each other and YAY that I was able to use my love of writing and this AWFUL situation we are both in to somehow make a difference. But if I may shift gears a bit, I’d like to sidebar my usual awareness and education emphasis and discuss a gift my life has been given since our family began down this road.
I wrote in my last column about learning to pray and let go. The constant dance, and struggle, to balance both the NEED for caution AND my innate ability to worry on an epic scale. You wanna hear something really crazy. I wrote that article on July 10th. It was published on the morning of the 11th. That was to be a pivotal day for me and my life. God had clearly lined up the stars in such a way that I would have a true moving moment in my faith. My own personal “burning bush” if you will. I call it…
You know the surprise things you learn about yourself as a parent are never ending. I remember when my first son was born and that wave of immense love washed over me as I stared down at his face, both of us crying. I also vividly remember the intense instincts I had towards protecting him…my Mama Bear side as hubby named it. I was SO protective of him at times that my own husband had to REMIND me to let him go long enough for Daddy to get in there. I never saw that side of me coming. I also never expected to be so structured, or so consistent with discipline. Heck, I never expected to BE the disciplinarian but it just came naturally to me and it seemed that a structured and firm hand was what my boy needed as he grew and tested his boundaries. Finding out he was diabetic was no different in that whole new aspects of my personality, who I was, came to the surface. Parts of me were amplified, other parts of me began to fade away, and I’m still not done yet. But two things of late have really stuck out to me.
As I sit and type this my kiddos are tucked away in bed after another busy Sunday. I will rise, up and early, in the morning with the two new puppies, drink my coffee while watching the rain fall and prepare myself mentally for what the day will bring. Those quiet early morning minutes are my sanctuary in life. I have a peaceful moment to reflect, let my mind wander, and enjoy my coffee while it’s still hot. Perhaps I consider the day’s to-do-list, or perhaps I let my mind drift into planning some project for my husband. But that moment, those few precious stolen minutes, are often all I get. Once the first child’s eyes are open, the real work begins and the impact of T1D kicks in.
So it’s been in a bit of time since my last article and honestly it was just due to life getting in the way. That happens. My family moved into a new home…hopefully, Lord willing, our forever home. And as most big moves happen, it was with us. A blur of boxes, helpers, adjustments, administrative junk, hidden costs, money flying out the window, and scrambling to just get us all re-settled into a new rhythm of life. But during my move it kept rattling around in my head that often times, life with diabetes relates in some ways to a big family move. You think you plan and prepare and pack everything you need. You expect to have lots of help on hand and end up scrambling to adjust to some unforeseen stumbling block or expense you didn’t see coming. So that is why I’m dedicating this particular article to just that …
So for those who know me, my foray into the diabetes one was a long-winded drag into the ER after multiple appointments with our pediatrician before finally pushing hard enough to be heard. Needless to say my anger, initially, was well channeled towards that pediatrician who long heard my concerns and routinely dismissed them. But upon meeting other people in the Type 1 diabetes world I’ve come to learn – it’s not all that uncommon. In fact, in almost EVERY medical field you’ll come across some story that some doctor dismissed the patient’s questions or concerns and in fact, the patient was right. Doctors are people too...people are human….people err and make mistakes. Doctors are not God, All Knowing and Ever Present, and these days navigating the world of medical lawsuits can leave any doctor often second guessing the paranoid-patient’s concerns. However, there is a line….a line whereby the doctor has to begin to realize this patient – no matter how crazy you THINK they are – needs desperately to be heard. So to that end, to maybe help other mommies out there with babies that they think aren’t getting the care they need, I give you….
It is weird how life can take such unexpected turns and lead you to a place you never knew existed. A place you now call “home”. My life has been a series of these ‘out of left field’ turns that have steered us in directions we never saw coming. My husband and I moved from Texas, to Idaho. While there we struggled with years of infertility and loss. I finally got pregnant, and found my bliss writing a book on the rigors of Infertility and Pregnancy Loss. I was and AM so impassioned about the plight of other marriages out there that would be struggling as we once did. I wrote a book while on bedrest, and 6 weeks after our first son was born we moved from Idaho to Tennessee for hubby’s job and I received a contract from a publisher on my manuscript! In Tennessee hubby started a new job, I moved forward publishing my book on Infertility and Pregnancy Loss and we adjusted to being a family of three. No wait – FIVE ‘cause I got pregnant with twins when my oldest turned one. WHOOPS! Never saw that coming. Hubby changed jobs AGAIN to work from home and we sold the SUV for a Minivan. When I was about 32 weeks pregnant with twins I had my first book signing on my new book – about infertility – and began radio and print interviews on the subject. The irony was fabulous, I know. Then shortly after my twins arrival things got REALLY crazy. Mommy got sick, one of the twins had surgery, and then whammo. The biggest left-field hit we have ever had to date. My oldest son, then 2.5 years old, was slammed with Type 1 Juvenile diabetes. I say SLAMMED versus diagnosed because that’s what it was. A ton of bricks swung upside our heads while we looked blissfully the other way.
Hey there. My name is Heather and my life is crazy. That statement alone, although simplistic at best, could be the single most crystalline description of my life. Ask almost anyone who knows me, and at any given time I’ve got a billion things going on. Some of them are things I have scheduled myself…others are things that have been scheduled for me.