2015 … the year that nearly killed me. I say this with a humorous tone, but seriously, it was a tough one! Jackson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just three months into it and we were set on a roller coaster. Throughout 2015, I experienced a variety of emotions to a depth I never had before, been exhausted like I never had before, and learned so many things I never knew before.
I had to dive into new (and frightening) territories. I’m not one for confrontation, but I’ve learned how far I’ll go to stand up for my son and my family. I’ve taken the insurance company on head first and I’m not through with them yet! Although I’m not always proud of the way I acted (or the words that came out of my mouth) it has taught me that people will try to run me over and I can not let them! My mom doesn’t hesitate to question things, and I always admired how she takes charge. She always said she was meek and mild before I was diagnosed. I get it now.
Speaking of insurance, I think I was absent the day that organization skills were passed out in the characteristics department, but as of March 23, 2015, I had to grasp some kind of system! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a long way to go, but there has been improvement! They sent us home from the hospital with a stack of prescriptions to get filled and more paperwork than we could read in a month. I had to organize and keep track of it all! I’m tearing up remembering the fear that came over me when I got home and realized it was all on me! Honestly, being a married, homeowner with two kids had never made me feel like a grown-up but this sure did and I was panicked! Which lead to Medical Mondays — if you haven’t read about my Medical Mondays before, they’ll be making appearances in future columns, so stay tuned.
I learned how type 1 is managed now a days without a pump. You see, I’ve been on a pump for about 14 years. I had heard about insulin pens and this stuff called Lantus, but didn’t know anything about them, and to be honest they frightened me! I now am more than familiar with them and thanks to Jackson having to learn the hard way how much better a pump is rather than taking his mom and dad’s word for it, I now know how to switch from the pump to injections in the middle of the day! My doctor always asks me if I know how to do this in case my pump fails. Now I can answer that truthfully
I also did my first ever 504 plan for the start of this school year. This was the pinnacle of panic and fear! You see, a 504 plan is set of guidelines to accommodate a student who has special needs of any kind. These weren’t around (at least they weren’t common) when I was in school. They’re not usually needed, but it’s nice to know that Jackson’s rights will be protected if we ever do need it (all 19 pages of it)!
The past year has shown me the strain that having a child with a chronic disease can put on a family, but it has also shown me how great things can be if you stick together and make the most of life! It has shown me just how incredibly knowledgeable Justin is about t1d and how he has an eerie intuition about it like he’s been living with it for nearly his entire life as well! It has also shown me how much he loves his son and how much he’s willing to take on so I can manage my t1d. And, it has shown me how important it is to have great friends that will listen and care even when they don’t fully understand exactly what it is you’re talking about!
I could go on and on about how 2015 has changed me and the lessons I learned from it (perhaps I will in another column) but for now, let me wish you a Happy 2016! May the year find you healthy, strong, and looking on the bright side no matter what comes your way! You are strong enough to do this…whatever “this” is for you!
Jennifer Runyon is a freelance writer who shares her life stories living with Type 1 diabetes for 28 years and whose young son also has been diagnosed with the disease. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.