"A strong woman knows she has strength enough for the journey,
but a woman of strength knows it is in the journey where she will become strong."
2008 was an interesting year. My husband and I had been married for five years. We were still fairly new to parenting as the twins were just two years old. We bought our first home in the spring of that year. Little Diva broke her leg chasing Little man around the house, so we dealt with our first (and hopefully last!!) broken bone. We were a very normal, very settled American family. I was happy as a mother & wife. I worked as an administrative assistant at a software company and had a few hobbies that I enjoyed: cake decorating, scrapbooking & general crafting.
Over the summer as we settled into our new home I noticed that Little Man was drinking a lot of water. He was thirsty ALL the time. He was also urinating A LOT. He would blow out an overnight diaper most every night. On November 11, 2008 I made a Dr's appointment to have these concerns addressed. Our lives were forever changed that day when Little Man was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. On that day, he gained the title of "Child With Diabetes" and I gained the title of "D-Mom". Diabetes is a 7 days a week, 24 hours a day job. It never sleeps, and as a D-Parent, neither do you. Constant vigilance is required to keep your child alive. Your life becomes a series of numbers: Blood glucose readings, carb counts, units of insulin, ratios, basal rates, sensitivity factors and A1C results. A toddler with diabetes is even harder as they are unable to articulate what they are feeling... highs and lows become educated guess work on your part. And the entire time you constantly question if you are doing things right.... if the care you are giving is good enough... if YOU are good enough.
Before diabetes came crashing through our door I was so much more... I was a wife and mom. I was also co-provider for our family. I was artistic and vibrant. I was enjoying exploring motherhood and what made me tick as a mom. I'm not claiming life was perfect... far from it. We had challenges, but they were the challenges that you find in most households, I think: We had some financial stress... and my weight and my own health have been a constant battle for years. Before that day in November I focused quite a bit of attention on myself. I made an effort to lose weight, eat right, and get fit. I cared about myself. In the years after diagnosis I lost that.
Since November of 2008 I gained 100lbs. Compulsive overeating was out of control. I would consistently use food to temper the emotions that diabetes inflicted. Compulsive overeating has been a part of my life for years and years but this was the first time that I didn't even make an attempt at controlling it. When I would try, I would do so knowing I was going to fail before I even started. In January of this year I made the decision to get my life back. Diabetes is in our lives. Until a cure is found, that is not going to change. I feel as though I have been swimming in the deep end of the pool since that November in 2008, just treading water... hoping to keep my head above the water and not drown. I have gone under a few times, but have always managed to come back up for air. Well, at the beginning of this year I started swimming instead of just treading water. And while I am still very much in the pool, I think I have found shallower waters. I can stand on my own two feet again. I have come to learn a lot about food addiction and compulsive overeating through Overeaters Anonymous. I am working the 12 steps that so many addicts before me have found peace and healing through. I am down 60lbs and I am beginning to incorporate exercise back into my life. I have come out of the fog and I can clearly see again the AMAZING family I have. My incredibly loving and endlessly patient husband. My two beautiful kids who are now six years old. A gift that diabetes has given me is that it took me out of the work place and allowed me to become a stay-at-home mom. It is a testimony to my recovery that I can recognize that Diabetes gave me that gift... that can can call ANYTHING from that horrid disease a GIFT. Another gift from Diabetes: The DOC (Diabetes Online Community). I have found kindred spirits in other D-Moms. They are the only ones that can truly and totally GET ME. I treasure these friendships!
This is not my first blog... I used to have an entirely Diabetes centered blog. I have missed blogging, but I made the decision to re-enter the blogging world with a blog that is a more about me and my family and less about Diabetes. That is not to say that I won't write about Diabetes now and then. I certainly will because it is a part of our lives.
I tell Little Man all the time that Diabetes does not define him. I finally took that advice, too. It will not define me any more either.
"More Than A D-Mom" is a blog series that was inspired by one of those kindred spirits I was talking about. Hallie came up with the idea and invited me, Meri, Lora, Wendy, Tracy and several others to participate. Tomorrow Misty will share with you what makes her more than a D-Mom. Enjoy! :-)