On March 23, 2015, Jackson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This means we just celebrated his first “diaversary.” What a year it’s been! It may seem crazy that we celebrate the day that our lives got about a trillion times more complicated and we lost all resemblance of a normal night’s sleep, but I absolutely think diaversaries should be celebrated! That’s another year that you haven’t let diabetes stop you, and that deserves special recognition!
Speaking of not letting diabetes stop you, have I mentioned how proud I am of this kid?
After being diagnosed, he finished the baseball season, continued rocking his hip-hop classes, went to diabetes camp, played football and just finished up the basketball season.
As his mother, one of my greatest hopes is that he never lets diabetes hold him back!
In August, he started in a new school building. I can only imagine the fear that he felt starting a new school with a new nurse and a new disease (he’d had diabetes five months at the start of the school year. I’m still considering that new.) He did it, though, and is doing great academically. We had some hiccups in the beginning, but the transformation has been incredible! The teachers have very positive things to say about his work (most the time, lol), his behavior (always), and how he manages his disease.
There were many times throughout our first year when it would’ve been easier to quit. When we were up all night because his sugar wouldn’t come up, did he stay home from school? Nope, he went on to have a productive day. When the pod wouldn’t stay on in the pool and he had to get stuck with needles more times than normal, did he quit? No. He kept going and is even looking forward to being on the swim team this year (Wish me luck, lol)! When he felt bad because his sugar was high, did he quit doing that project? Nope (okay, there may have been some fighting with the parental units on this one, but still you get my point). When the pod got knocked off during football, did he quit? No. We went back behind a shed, put a new one on, and back out he went. You see, while diabetes is an enormous (please emphasize that when reading this) pain in the butt and can be very dangerous, it gives those of us dealing with it a great gift. It makes us tough!
While I may not have been able to open the pickle jar last night at dinner and I sometimes cry at even the sappiest of things, I would consider myself tough along with Jackson and the millions of others living with type 1. You gotta be tough to be up all night fighting highs or lows and not let it affect your plans for the next day. You gotta be tough to face your fear of needles! For Jackson this year has consisted of roughly 2,190 finger sticks, 121 pod changes (which involves a needle placing a tube under your skin), and 150 injections, and I’m sure these estimates are low. The growth he has shown has been incredible! He used to be terrified of needles. When we started on the Omnipod insulin pump, pod changes about killed us both! It would take so long for him to work up the courage to allow me to hit start which makes the needle pierce his skin. These pod changes often ended with both of us in tears. Mine had to be hidden in the bathroom after everything was cleaned up, but trust me they were there. Now, he changes his pod by himself! Did you hear that? By himself! And although you could always have a bad one, the majority of the time there are no tears from either one of us! I know I just tried to explain how it used to be, but words really can not describe what a change this is!
Keep up the great work, Jackson Runyon! Your mom is so unbelievably proud of 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.