I have written and erased and re-written a few times now. I have so many thoughts flying around in my head they either all come out at once and splatter on my screen in a very unorganized, messy way….or they don’t come out at all and I am left sitting here dumbfounded. I have come to the conclusion after writing and re-writing that I just need to write…and let God handle the rest. So here I am.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Jeremiah and his diabetes.
I think because I have recently connected with a bunch of other parents of type 1 diabetics on Facebook. To hear their struggles has made my struggles seem more real. I’ve always thought about the same things and had to take my thoughts captive just the same but by hearing that they have the same thoughts going through their heads has not only made me feel comfort, but it has made it where my worst nightmares are not nightmares, but a possible reality. I don’t know if I am making sense. Let me explain.
I usually check Jeremiah’s sugar in the middle of the night. Not every night, but a lot of nights. Every time I walk to his room, every time, I get that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that something could be wrong. That maybe this will be the time that his blood sugar went low before I could catch it. So low that he isn’t okay. As I walk up to him he’s usually in such a deep sleep that I can’t see his body moving, his rib cage going in and out. I stare at his stomach intensely for a few seconds with my breath held waiting to see him move. When those seconds begin to feel like hours I put my hand on him, I shake him, I grab him, sometimes I wake him…..just to make sure he’s still okay, that’s he’s still breathing. And he is. He always has been. I check his sugar and again with my breath held wait for the beep to know if he’s okay. That trepidation is always there that maybe this might be the night that I don’t catch a low in time. This fear has always been a silent fear of mine but ever since meeting other parents who are also verbalizing this fear, it has become real. I know now that I am not the only parent who feels this way and lives this way. And that is comforting and scary…and sad.
The reality of this life was brought even more close to home today when I read the obituary of Matthew, a 16 year old boy who died this weekend due to complications from type 1 diabetes. How does that happen? It would appear that it was due to low blood sugar during the night. It makes me want to scream. My heart cries out for this young boy’s family and for all families with type 1 diabetics. It’s rough. It’s a rough life. Many people say “Well, at least it’s manageable” or “He looks like he’s okay”. And yes, he does look okay. That is, except for when his sugar goes too high and he is bouncing off the walls and I can’t hold his attention for the life of me, or he goes too low and is lethargic and sick and can die. That’s reality for us. And it is a living nightmare for Matthew’s parents.
I also know with every high and every low that Jeremiah’s body is being damaged. Damage so intense that it will last him for life. For instance, every time his blood sugar spikes his eyes are damaged. They can swell, blood vessels can become blocked or leak, and they can develop cataracts. It’s not pretty and it’s not reversible. He can also have nerve damage due to diabetes. Already Jeremiah’s fingers sometimes get stuck in place and he cries until they finally relax. It’s scary for him and for me but unfortunately it’s part of the damage this horrible disease causes.
And I carry the weight of doing everything in my power to keep that damage at a minimum. To make sure I am doing everything I can to keep Jeremiah’s body healthy so that he can live the longest, fullest life possible. It’s a job I wouldn’t trade for the world, but it’s a job. A heavy job. A job that one day I will pass on to him to maintain on his own. What a scary thought that is!
For now, I pray. I pray first and foremost that God would heal Jeremiah. That this disease would leave his body forever and we can sing praises to God for the miracle He has done. Beyond that, I pray that Jeremiah’s relationship with the Lord will grow stronger and stronger. I pray for strength. This disease can be tough to deal with as an adult, as a child I can’t imagine. But God is great and He is doing amazing things in Jeremiah’s life. I am so proud of my son I can’t say that enough. I AM SO PROUD OF MY SON. With God’s help he handles checking his sugar, getting shots, having to count carbs, waiting when others don’t have to, having to be woken up at night by his crazy mommy…and he takes it all in stride, knowing this is where God has him.
God gave Jeremiah diabetes. It wasn’t an accident. He didn’t get it without God’s knowledge. It isn’t a punishment. God gave this to Jeremiah, to our family, for a reason. To glorify Him. Everything God gives us is for our BEST. Whether or not we always believe this, whether or not it always looks this way, everything God gives us is what is absolutely the BEST thing for us. And so we glorify our God. And we pray. And we trust. And we hope.
And we take it day by day by day. I speak truth to myself on a constant basis, reminding myself of the promises of God. I take my thoughts captive. We cherish the time we have. We don’t let our lives become consumed by diabetes. We live to glorify God and bring honor to Him. And we rest in His goodness, in His care, in His peace.
And by God’s grace our souls are restored….