Nine years ago this month, I was told the best and worst news of my life.
Nine years ago this month, I spent five days in the hospital, two of which were in the ICU.
Nine years ago this month, I was told my disease had no cure.
Nine years ago this month, I hit rock bottom.
Nine years ago this month, my life changed forever.
Type 1 diabetes isn't the "end of the world," though it very well could have been the end of my life.
I was sick for 1.5 years without a diagnosis. I saw five medical professionals who failed to diagnose me properly. I was guessed to have anorexia. I was depressed, emaciated, fatigued, numb, hungry, thirsty, scared, and angry, particularly angry at God.
The day my husband took me to the ER, I was on my death bed. I was in a state called Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) where the body is essentially being eaten alive by itself: toxic and deadly. I was shaking from being cold, I was 97 lbs (I'm almost 5'8" tall), I couldn't drink enough fluids, I could barely breathe.
Upon having my blood tested, we learned my a1c (an average of one's blood sugars for three months) was 16.9 (a normal a1c should be below 5.7). My a1c was so high, it's not found on any a1c charts. My average blood sugar over the three months before D-day was around 400. A normal blood sugar is between 70-120. According to the Mayo Clinic, I was gravely ill.
It was on day four of my hospital stay when I caught a glimmer of hope. As a nurse talked to me about my new life of counting carbohydrates, dosing insulin, and checking my blood sugar 8-10x a day, she asked us if we planned to have children. We said yes, and she went on to talk about diabetes and pregnancy.
I stopped listening. Because a word popped into my mind, so powerfully clear. Which, after having 1.5 years of blurred memory and serious illness, was a bit of a surprise. That word was ADOPTION.
You'd think after nine years with this disease, I wouldn't let March take me back there to that dark place of fear, anger, confusion, and hatred for the disease that haunts me daily. But every March, I find myself feeling anxious, emotional, gray. I can't shake the seriousness of knocking on deaths door, of the blessing of a second chance to live, and of the reality that diabetes is here to stay.
Ironically, as I was leaving the hospital, Daniel Powter's song Bad Day was playing on the radio:
"You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost/They tell me your blue skies fade to grey/They tell me your passion's gone away."
Then a few years later, Her Diamonds by Rob Thomas came out. I cannot listen to this song without bawling. Thomas wrote the song about his wife who copes with a chronic illness (lupus). He sings,
"And she says, oh/I can't take no more/Her tears like diamonds on the floor/And her diamonds bring me down/'Cause I can't help her now/She's down in it/She tried her best and now she can't win/It's hard to see them falling on the grounds/Her diamonds falling down."
There are so many songs that have brought me hope in dark times, these two in particular:
This March, as with every March, I'm fragile. I'm shaky. I'm off. But I remind myself that this disease gave me three incredible miracles, my babies, and God's not finished with me. Every single hardship has presented me with a springboard to greatness.
And spring is coming. It's almost here. I've got this.
"I'm trying to hear above the noise"
(Need You Now, by Plumb)