Inside the World of Type 1: A Mother’s Poem

This poem was written by Michele Grima whose daughter, Zoe, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes two years ago.

This is something I wrote at 3 a.m. on a difficult night about a month after we came home from the hospital. I am a world away from the sadness I felt that day, and I know we will overcome any obstacle that comes our way.

Love is, love is all. It brings you to your knees sometimes.

Although you may not fall, your heart feels the break, and there is no greater pain than that of looking into a child's eyes, full of fear, and watching helplessly as they miss their old life – a life with no pricks to their fingers, a life with no needles, a life with no disgusting smell of insulin, a life without looking at their own blood 10 times a day, a life without highs and lows.

You know their little bodies are struggling to work, and you want to reach deep inside and fix what has gone wrong, but it's not in your power.

A life when they could go on their own and take whatever they want to eat without counting every carb, and there is no way but acceptance and hope for a cure – one that, in this often cruel world, your intelligent brain knows may never come.

Money will come before others' pain, and children are just statistics to pharmaceutical companies and the elite of the world, and that doesn't only ring true for diabetes but also for cancer and many other sicknesses these poor kids have to endure – sicknesses that rob them of their childhood.

All mothers were put here to protect their babies and fix their problems, and when you can't, you begin to look at yourself in the mirror, and the frustration and heartache leave you feeling totally hollow inside, and you end up feeling like a failure as a protector.

What if? What if I hadn't seen the signs, what if I had chosen only organic food, what if something in my genes did this? How many times can one hear, "Mommy, I just don't feel good," or, "Mommy, can you take this away from me?" before your heart is just in pieces all over the place and you're searching for relief that never comes.

The days are usually easier than the nights. First the lantus that burns and hurts. Then the bedtime BS check – if it's high, there can be organ damage or coma; if it's low, you need to worry about seizures or the unthinkable, and you know in the honeymoon phase that dysfunctional pancreas can shoot out too much insulin at anytime because it still hasn't fully stopped functioning; it's still got some good beta cells.

When the lights go out and the noise of the world has stopped, there are no distractions to make her forget this monster. It hits her – "I have diabetes" – and she begins to cry, leaving you with a feeling like a 500-pound man just sat on your chest.

You explain: "You are just like everyone else, only you have a sugar problem. I will make sure you always get to live your dreams. I will always be with you. You will never go through this alone," and with your arms wrapped tight around her, she falls asleep.

Then it's quiet, only you can't sleep peacefully; you just lay there watching her breathe and wishing and praying that you could take this away. And somehow during praying you have fallen asleep by accident, and you wake up and look at the clock and it's 3:30 a.m. And this occurs through most of the night, every night, until the whole process starts again the next morning.

The second you open your eyes, there's a feeling of shock when you realize this is reality and you have to watch someone you love struggle with so many things on a daily basis.

There is so much more to diabetes than checking sugars and insulin, and I feel sorry for how misinformed I was because I have so much compassion for everyone who has to battle this chronic disease called diabetes, especially new moms and dads who are caring for infants or toddlers. My whole heart goes out to you all, and I pray that God gives you all strength and that, by some miracle, a cure arrives to restore the pieces of our broken hearts.

- -

It's been two years since our type 1 diagnosis, and I can still feel the pain in my heart, the pain I felt that day which hurt so much I could barely breathe. Fear of what her future would hold! My heart was broken as I watched the fear on her face, but we have adjusted and we have grown together so much since that day.

There are hard days, but there are also great days, and whatever comes our way we will face it together. I tell her all the time, "We are in this together, and I will be next to you, holding your hand every step of the way." She is strong and beautiful, and she is my hero! I am so proud of her and so proud that God chose me to be her mom. I know that she will achieve her every goal and I know that someday a miracle is coming for all these beautiful kids fighting a battle most know nothing about.

Most importantly, and the main reason I tell my story, is that there is not enough awareness of type 1 diabetes and doctors are not screening properly for this fast-growing epidemic in this country. Awareness is key and could save a child's life.

God bless all type 1s out there and keep them strong and healthy, emotionally and physically.

Photo: Pexels

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