the sorrow of motherhood
i realize for some this may be an unusual way to start a post…but as mothers everywhere know, the moment you give birth to a child, a piece of your heart lives outside of your body…& so we feed them, kiss their boo boos, snuggle them & such…we try to protect them & simultaneously prepare them for the world…& sometimes the unthinkable happens…so today i am going to share some very personal details about our lives & my journey of motherhood…please note although i will address some serious health issues, i am not a medical professional…if you are concerned about your child’s health, please seek professional medical help…my goal is to simply share our story in hopes that i might help another mother with their own…(some of the images may be a hard to look at) & so here is our story….
this is my SON…
he is vibrant & funny…an incredible athlete…
a subtle mix of tenderness & independence…..
& this is my son…a child with everything in front him who can be anything he wants
and on january 4th, 2012 he was diagnosed with
let me share a little background on how we got to this…the holidays were hard this year…between my husband & i and our three lovely children…if one of us catches the flu, it seems to make it’s way through our home making us sick one by one…so this christmas was less cheer & more coughs…we all battled a variety of symptoms…slight to serious fevers, aches & pains, throwing up…ughhh…it was a drag…but i am well equipped for these situations…i make tea & administer medications…i run baths & make little beds on the couch…i am good at this kind of mothering…i love to give comfort when one of my babies doesn’t feel well…sooooo, my SON got it rather bad…as if the flu took hold of his little body & wouldn’t let go…i was not too concerned because i had felt pretty bad, so i thought i knew what he was dealing with…he just started to look so frail to me…he was so hungry but seemed to be loosing weight…i guess that’s because he was still throwing up from time to time…my mind made me think it was all so normal…yah, he was so tired…but he had the flu, so that’s was normal…he was peeing the bed alot…but truth be told my SON has always been a bed wetter (oh, he’s gonna be so mad at me for sharing that)….so one night i started plugging in his symptoms in GOOGLE…shockingly, he had several symptoms of TYPE 1 DIABETES…i was at once alarmed & dismissive…WTF…my mother had in passing a week or so before noticed how my SON always seemed to be thirsty & that that was a sign of DIABETES…WTF…i hadn’t given it much thought until that night on my computer…& everything started adding up to the unthinkable…so in the middle of the night i left a frantic message on my SON’s pediatricians voicemail…i was ranting into the phone about DIABETES & is there any chance my sweet little athletic sharp witted sensitive son could have it ??? when i woke up in the morning, i instantly regretted leaving the message…i was an annoying mother, trying to self diagnose my SON…i made an appointment with our pediatrician & was already working on my apology for leaving the intense message…our pediatrician would then gently scold me for googling his symptoms & tell me everything was fine, that the flu was going around & he’d be better in a day or so…WRONG…she walked into the examination room took one look at my SON…and said “oh my goodness, what’s happened to him?”…her face was kind & serious…& i began to panic…within 5 minuted she had tested his URINE & BLOOD…she walked back into the room & looked my squarely in the eye & said “i don’t want you to panic”(ummm, too late)…”i have called for an ambulance”…she continued, “you were right, your SON does have diabetes & he NEEDS to be in the hospital”…WTF…deep breath…hot tears start running down my face…even though i googled this, i don’t exactly know what it means, but somewhere deep inside i know it is not good…then i remember we are only a few blocks form the hospital…i remind her, & suggest i just drive him there…she looks at me & says he is in SERIOUS danger & NEEDS to be in an ambulance…WTF…the next moments are a bit of a blur…
i am in full blown panic…i am simultaneously having a bit of a breakdown & comforting my son who is rather stoic & calm…we are in the ambulance & then in the emergency room….a little side note about emergency rooms…most mother’s know a trip to the emergency room is unpleasant & is usually met with several hours of waiting…my SON was immediately given a room & a bed…he was hooked up to an IV & a series of doctor’s were checking on him & explaining things to me…i secretly wished they would ignore me…i knew the prompt attention meant only one thing…this was BAD…really bad…somehow amidst all the commotion, i called my husband & told him everything…he was pulling our daughter’s out of school & heading to the hospital…so there i was with my sweet little SON…he looked so frail & sick…my brain could hardly digest was was happening…several doctor’s said we were so lucky…WTF…lucky??? OMG…then my SON was whisked into ICU…seriously WTF…connected to tubes…they kept poking him…& began administering insulin…i learned he was in DIABETIC KETOSIS…his blood sugar was over 900…none of this really meant anything to me…it was just all so scary…i kept trying to feel lucky, but somehow all i could muster was desperation…to add insult to injury…my SON is afraid of shots…yup, he literally tries to escape anytime he has to have one…so as the information unfolded & i realized the TYPE 1 DIABETES is an autoimmune disease, that currently there is no cure for…he will need 4-5 shots everyday for the rest of his life…serious WTF…how do i explain to my SON what my brain can hardly understand…& so here we are…my son has TYPE 1 DIABETES…& i am inexplicably now immersed in the sorrow of motherhood….
(my son had this, but for us it was not completely unusual, as i explained he was a bed wetter)
(my son had this too, but he plays hard & so it only made sense that he would be thirsty)
(he had this too, this was most hard to explain away,
because he wanted to eat all the time but was loosing weight)
-Unusual weight loss-
(again he has always been a lanky kid, but when i look at the photos now,
i am stunned by how thin he is, he lost almost 10 pounds in 2 weeks)
-Extreme fatigue & Irritability-
(look, he is an eight year old boy who plays hard & has mood swings,
so i hardly thought this was a symptom, but in hindsight…wow)
(this is the saddest part to me…after his diagnosis, when the nurses asked him
about his eyesight, he said he was having a hard time seeing…i had never asked)
(yup, he seemed so tired, but he was eating alot & active…this so could
have been a growth spurt, easy to explain this one away too)
but all of them together = the unthinkable
to all mothers out there…the one small token of advice i’d like give is this…
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
i knew something wasn’t right…i felt it…i wanted to be wrong…i still want to be wrong…DIABETES is hard to diagnose, becasue it does look like the flu…it is easy to miss…our pediatrician visited me the first night my SON was in the ICU…(i love her btw…she is smart & patient & kind beyond measure)…anyhow, she looked in my tear stained face & said “i think you saved your son’s life”…WTF…i looked at her baffled & said “what do you mean?”…she said “because of the voicemail you left, the fact that you mentioned DIABETES, made me look at your son through a different lense”…she continued, “i may have thought he just had the flu, like the rest of your family”…you see, my SON did have the flu…& that somehow trigged the DIABETES…it is not an obvious diagnosis…TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS…risk being wrong…or annoying or whatever…
….this is the day we left the hospital….
our days & nights are full of finger pricks & injections…
my sweet little SON has become a human pin cushion…
& we are truly trying to embrace a “new normal”…..
on the mend…this was taken last week at home with his SISTERS…xoxo
i plan to post from time to time about his progress…i know there
are mothers eveywhere dealing with their own unthinkable sorrow
…my heart goes out to you…