Find The Blessings Through The Trials
As I sat outside the room looking at her through the glass windows, my heart broke for her future. She was sitting in the hospital playroom smiling and talking with her dad, her mind was distracted from the new life she would have; a life of shots, pain, worry and the constant obstacles that come with this new diagnosis. All I could think was, “Why? Why my little girl? How will we do this? She is so young.” The tears would not stop falling from my eyes. I had a small idea of what she would go through. We had received the same devastating news just a few months ago for our oldest son.
Just 3 months earlier, my son was not feeling well. He was constantly tired and very thirsty. I knew something was wrong. After what I thought would be a quick doctor’s appointment, we found out he had type 1 diabetes. I was in complete shock. He was healthy, played baseball daily and was thin and very active. How could he have diabetes? How is this even possible? What I soon came to learn is that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. Anyone at any age could get it and there is nothing you can do to avoid getting it. I remember while in the hospital with my son I was completely heartbroken for him. As I struggled to understand and learn more about the disease, I asked the doctor, “What are the chances any of our other children will get this?” My heart became at ease when I heard, “There’s only a 3% chance of his siblings getting type 1 diabetes.”
For the next few months we learned how to deal with this new diagnosis for my son. We soon found out that it was a tedious, constant, unrelenting disease that would never go away. I watched him suffer through more than 6 shots, 8 finger pricks, emotional ups and downs, pain, sadness, and hardship every single day. There wasn’t a day that he could take a break from the disease. As a mother it was painful to watch him struggle and know there was nothing I could do to take this disease away; nothing I could do to alleviate the pain he was going through. I would find myself in tears late into the night, worrying about a diabetic seizure, or other complications with the disease. After a few months, I finally felt like, “Okay, we can do this, it’s going to be really hard, but we can help him have a fulfilling life despite this disease.” I felt like I had come to terms with the diagnosis; then another blow to my heart-my 4 year old daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
This new diagnosis was devastating. I watched her cry and had to hold her down for the doctors to give her shots, knowing that she needed to get the insulin to live. She would look into my eyes with an expression of fear and sadness. I had to tell her, “It’s ok, it won’t hurt too much.” I felt like I was lying to her. She would have to go through this pain every single day just to stay alive. The next 2 days were filled with diabetes education, shots, finger pricks, and trying as hard as I could to help her understand that all of this pain was necessary; something that is really hard for a 4 year old to understand. After the second day, I decided we needed a break and we would go to the hospital’s playroom. My husband had just shown up and we walked down the long hospital halls and down the elevator towards the playroom. When we got there I said, “I’m going to sit out here for a few minutes.” My husband and daughter continued to the playroom.
There I was, looking at her sweet little face, an innocent, carefree young girl but that carefree life was going to be filled with difficulty and pain that no child should have to endure. I sat there caught in pity for her life, sadness for her pain, and worry for her future. After about an hour we decided to head back to her hospital room. We walked into the elevator. After going up one floor another child entered the elevator. This sweet little girl was in a wheelchair and had an IV in her arm. A nurse was accompanying her to a different floor. I looked over at my daughter and she was hopping around, smiling and then did a ballerina twirl. She looked so carefree and happy to be active and unplugged from her IV. Right then it hit me, “She is going to be just fine. We can do this! She will go through the daily struggles, but she will still be able to run, play and live her life!” At that moment I knew that I had to stop feeling sorry for her and help strengthen her.
In the following weeks I helped her become independent in checking her blood glucose. She was so excited to be able to finally do it by herself. She felt accomplished, brave and strong. We decided to do something for the children still in the hospital. We gathered gift bags filled with toys, books, and crayons to deliver to the hospital for the children who were still there. My daughter and I delivered over 50 gift bags to the children’s hospital for those children who were not able to leave. I thought back to just a few weeks before when I was caught in my own sadness. It had distracted me from the reality that I was truly blessed in many ways. I was reminded of that little girl in the wheelchair in the hospital elevator. Although that little girl didn’t know it, she had helped me. That moment in the elevator helped me out of my pity slump, find gratitude for the blessings in my life and seek out ways to serve others. Sometimes in life things can seem unbearable until you realize the blessing sitting right in front of you.