This morning Connor and I headed to Sonora Quest Labs for Connor's annual blood work. The first of many more years to come.
While sitting in the lobby one of the other waiting "victims" noticed Ol' Blue protruding from Connor's hip. She asked what kind of pump he had. Her younger son (not present) wears an Animas Ping.
As I looked at this mom there was a moment of sameness. Fear, frustration, anxiety, helplessness, hope, understanding, love, and devotion all summed up in one glance at each other. I knew, that she knew what it was to live this type 1 life, and I knew that I wasn't alone.
We talked about the upcoming JDRF Walk for a Cure. This would each be our families first walk. Our boys were diagnosed one month apart.
As our name was called we walked into our room and waited for the impending blood draw. As our lovely phlebotomist gathered her supplies another staff member came in and handed her their JDRF walk shirts. We then had a conversation with our needle wielding blood enthusiast about how Sonora Quest was a big supporter of JDRF. There were several staff members participating in the walk itself while others were volunteering at their company booth.
It was so refreshing to see people talking/advocating about the disease MY son has. Most people/companies/media associate diabetes with type 2, a completely separate and different illness.
It had been a great start to my day. Meeting another type 1 mother, and talking to someone who's company is a huge supporter of something that so deeply affects my life. It was like a had been given a renewed sense of strength and determination.
That is until.....
Connor saw the 3 vials that would soon contain his crimson blood and the needle and tubing that would be extracting it all. I could see this sense of fear wash over his face. My child who gives me strength with the amount of courage he shows me everyday, who never even bats an eye at all the finger pokes, site changes, shots etc, was afraid. I watched as all of the color drained from his sweet face. I watched as he held back the tears as the needle pierced his tender flesh. To him it hurt, A LOT.
His arm was then wrapped in a green bandage and he went to give a urine sample. Having just passed our one year mark, and this being our first annual blood work I asked this patient woman what the urine sample was for. She told me it was to test..... kidney function.
I felt as though all the air had just left my lungs. I was caught off guard. I'm sure these are standard tests that everyone with diabetes is given every year, but having a father who has been on dialysis for going on 2 years due to renal failure, my mind instantly flashed to what could be for my son. The complications that he might one day face despite all of our hard work.
As we walked to the car Connor pleaded with me about not going to school. I asked him why and he told me that he didn't want the kids to ask where he was or why he had the green bandage on his arm. He told me that they constantly ask him if it hurts when he tests his blood sugar, or why he gets to go to lunch 5 minutes early, or to the nurses office whenever he "wants" to and why he gets to eat special "treats" during class. He told me that sometimes he doesn't like being different than everyone else.
Trying to pretend that I wasn't dying inside, I offered the only words that came to my now frazzled brain. I told him that his classmates don't really know what it's like to have diabetes. All they see is that you get to do all of these different things. To them it might seem like you are getting to do something fun not really understanding everything you have to do to keep yourself healthy.
And then came the rest of the heart piercing words flooding out of his mouth....
"There's nothing fun about diabetes. There's nothing fun about high or low blood sugars and how crappy they make my body feel. There's nothing fun about having to guess the amount of carbs in your food and hoping that you guessed right and that your blood sugar doesn't go too low or high because of it. There is nothing fun about having your blood taken. There is nothing fun about all of this stuff I have to do every day."
And with that I called the school to excuse him for the day.
Today started out as a great day, uplifting even.
Now my heart just hurts.
I found this quote that I really love. It helps on days like today.
~Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow." ~ Mary Anne Radmacher