Meet Meri S., the winner of Lilly Diabetes' Once Upon a Time contest! Entrants were asked to write about their family's experience with type 1 diabetes for a chance to win a trip to the children with DIABETES® Friends for Life® conference this month in Orlando. Here's Meri's touching story.
"When my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it was like being thrown into a marathon I hadn't trained for. I was oblivious to the function of a pancreas and the role of insulin therein. I was unconditioned in nutritional facts and flabby when it came to math ratios. I had no idea what I was in for. I ran full tilt out of the gate, but soon realized the difficulty of keeping such a pace with no sleep under my belt. Diabetes never sleeps, and with a small child...forget about it!
A lot of blood sugar testing, a lot of insulin shots and a lot of sleepless nights later, we had conquered the hardest terrain in the marathon. Sure, there were days when the hills would never end, but there were days we glided through the meadows too.
Not too many years later we hit a plateau. We were comfortable; our son was learning, adjusting and surprising us with his stamina at every corner. It was during this time our youngest was diagnosed. Familiar territory, but we were conditioned now. We knew what to expect, and our muscles were large with persistence. We sprinted through his diagnosis as a team, united in purpose. He adjusted to the pace rather quickly. We felt we were winning!
And then one year later our third son was diagnosed, and I lost my footing. I wanted to give up. My plea echoed through the clouds, 'Why...why...why?' A person can only sprint for so long. A mother can only worry so much. I sat sternly on the ground and announced that I was defeated. I couldn't take another step. I was done.
And then my son gave me his hand. And my other son braced my back while the third lifted me with all his might. My fourth son and my husband cheered me on with all the power only true love can harness. I looked at the light in my boys' eyes, and I knew I could continue.
We still run the marathon every day, my efforts inspired by my boys' resiliency. They enjoy the view, smile through the setbacks and carry me through the swampy diabetes mire. How can I give in to despair when they are setting an inspiring pace in front of me? Diabetes is a marathon. And we run. The fact that we don't give up makes us winners. The course may be never-ending, but so is my boys' determination. And in the end, that is enough to keep us going."
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.
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