Saturday, October 16, 2010

Our Madison

This post has been a long time coming, I know. It has been quite a year for all of us, and I guess it has been harder on me than I care to admit sometimes. Although, some of you might argue with me because you've heard all of my whining.
Last December we were all carrying on with our lives. We were thinking about Christmas. I had just barely found out that I was pregnant for the third time. Brian and I were pretty excited, along with shocked since the doctor told me that it probably wouldn't happen without help this time. We were cautiously planning for the next year with three kids in our house. Brian had just started working on his classes to earn his Master's degree. Madi and Ben were growing and just being kids.
Madi hadn't been feeling well. But it was weird. I'm ashamed to admit that I really thought she was faking most of the time. In fact I was sure there was a math test or two to blame for her stomach ache and general sluggish behavior.
One Friday she woke up and I could barely get her to do anything. The night before she had argued with me passionately about going to bed. She was completely unreasonable. I look back and I remember calling my mom many times in the month before telling her how Madi's mood swings were driving me crazy. One minute she was normal and happy, the next hour or so she would be crying over everything and not making any sense.
I decided to keep her home from school to give her a break from what I thought was just a difficult school year. She complained about her stomach hurting and she was going to the bathroom every five minutes, so later that night I called her pediatrician, who suggested that it was probably a UTI. She prescribed antibiotics and made an appointment for Monday morning. That weekend she alternated between acting fine, and looking terrible. Brian and I dosed her up on Poweraid, thinking we could use the fluids to flush out her infection. By Monday morning she was alright, we thought, but I kept her home from school anyway. I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong with her. She was fine, then she said her stomach hurt, then she was fine, then sick.
I almost didn't go to her appointment. Brian had the car and I would have to walk with both kids. It wasn't far, but I was feeling irritated about it, and thought if it was just a UTI, the antibiotics would clear it up in a few days. But after some internal nudging that became harder to ignore, we put on our coats and headed to the office.
On the way there, Madi did not look good. She had glassy eyes and was telling me how dizzy she was. This was the first I really became concerned. It was less than a block, and she was acting like we'd run miles. At the office, the pediatrician did the UTI screening and found nothing, but the screening for ketones in her sample came back positive.
When the nurse came into the room, she had a look in her eyes that I've come to recognize. It means bad news is coming, and the person who has this look feels very sorry for you. She did a blood sugar test and left the room immediately before saying anything else. The doctor came in to tell me that Madison's blood glucose was over 4oo, and we would need to go to the emergency room immediately, and she would be admitted to the hospital for the next few days while we learned how to treat her Type 1 diabetes.
I wanted so badly not to cry. I didn't actually understand what the doctor was talking about. I vaguely knew what diabetes was, I knew there was more than one type. I knew that it had to do with insulin, and I knew there were some kinds of dietary restrictions for people who had it. At that moment I had no idea what I was going to do, and I was terrified. I remember thinking it was ridiculous to take her to the hospital, she was walking around and nothing was bleeding or missing. I had to walk out to the parking lot, on the pretense of calling Brian, so I could melt down not in front of Madison. I really didn't want to scare her, but I was totally freaking out.
The rest of the first day is a total blur. It involved calls to family members and work arrangements. Several very thoughtful visits from concerned friends, lots of advice that I don't remember a word of, and many, many terrified glances between Brian and I. My dad came up to help us and we took turns trying to remember the diabetic training that was crammed into our heads.

We learned so much in the next few days. Most of it was about diabetes. But the really important things that I learned were these:
-Our marriage is strong. When bad things happen to us, Brian and I really do cling together and give each other the strength we need. During the times when I couldn't take any more, Brian was strong for me. When I felt like I could handle things, it was usually because Brian didn't.
-Our daughter is so brave. Madison is the bravest, toughest kid I've ever met. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before, but Madi HATES shots. She was the worst one when she and Ben had to get vaccinated. But I watched her put on her brave face when they took her blood and gave her an IV. It broke my heart to hear her talking herself down when she knew they were coming in to poke her again and again. She started testing her own blood sugar less than a month after diagnosis. She gave herself her first shot only two months in. How many 7 year olds do you know who can give themselves a shot?
-We have the greatest families ever. We needed the support and love they gave us, and they were pretty quickdraw with it. Sometimes we didn't know what to ask for, but they knew what we needed, and made sure we got it. (Thank you!)
-We have wonderful friends and neighbors. There were people taking Ben for us and bringing us meals as soon as they knew.
In the beginning I would find her crying in her room when she knew I was coming in to test her or give her a shot. She told me so many times that she didn't want to have diabetes. I told her none of us wanted her to have it, but she did, so we just had to learn how to take care of it. Then I would go in my room and cry about it, because it wasn't fair and I wished I could take it away.
Now we have fewer and fewer of those days. Madison has really grown up in the past 10 months. She has taken control of her management, and it makes her feel good to do her own testing and insulin shots. Brian and I are so proud of her. There may not be a cure for now, but our hope comes from watching how amazing she is. She wants to help other people understand what diabetes is, and she wants to help other people who have it.
As I sit here now, on the other side of what has proven to be the most challenging year of our lives so far, I can honestly say that we are okay with her diabetes. I tell people once you get past the initial learning phase (which we are still in half the time), the thing with diabetes is that it is just a lot of work. And Madison is so great, we have no problems doing whatever it takes to keep her healthy. And honestly, there are many worse things that could happen to a child. We are just grateful we still have her, and she is happy and healthy.


At 2:04 AM, Blogger Erica said...

Wonderful post! Madison is such a brave girl! Your family is often in my prayers..!

At 8:21 AM, Blogger Angela said...

Krista you are soooo good at making me cry. I loved this post. Madison is soo brave and so awesome. We love you guys.

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Nanci said...

Love her, love you, love ALL of you!!! You guys are awesome!

At 9:45 PM, Blogger Mabeys said...

You guys are awesome!

At 1:59 PM, Blogger Emily said...

I was so impressed with how brave Madi was when we saw her at your parent's this summer. She is awesome!

At 4:38 PM, Blogger Dan said...

Madi is the best kid and you are the greatest mother ever.

At 4:57 PM, Blogger WX Ences said...

What a good mom! You really are a great mother, I know because you have always been a good friend to me and I can't imagine you being anything different for anyone else, especially your family. I hope this coming year has more ups than downs for you guys! Know that there are so many who are inspired by you and love you!


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