Monday, June 24, 2013

To the newbies.

I got an email a week ago from a mother whose son was just diagnosed.  Her words were amplified by her aching heart and I scarcly could internalize the emotions within.  I have since been battling my own eternal round of grief so I was unable to respond right away.  This afternoon my thoughts returned to her, and I knew I must write back without delay.

I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to you my new, dear friend.  This letter is for you, and for all the other families that have recently been thrown into the fray, and to the ones that will be.

Dear Newbie,

I’m sorry.  I hate that you are hurting.  I hate that I know you are suffering through the death of a life hoped for.  I know your heart doesn’t know what to do with the worry right now, and the wonder for the days ahead are at times, too much to take in. 

I know you try not to think farther ahead than today, but I also know your mind wanders anyway…wanders to a hazy future with no solid lines.  One that you can only guess at.  You are mourning your child’s old life.

And I want you to know…it’s ok.  It is all part of the process.  Let those tears fall, but while you do, don’t let your hope fall too.

Take your hope and hide it away.  Hide it until you have the courage to take it out of the box and let it become a guiding force in your life.  Until then, it’s ok to be a little lost.  It will take time to settle into this new world.  Each step is a new adventure, but you will become an able captain to this new life soon enough.

From a parent that has been there, (three times,) I can make you two promises.

1) Your child will surprise you.

2) Your child’s future will be just as bright.

All is well.  Lean into the love you have for your child.  Lean into your family.   Lean into this life knowing that others have traveled before you, and have made it to the other side.

Sure, the other side still has worry.  The difference is the experience behind the worry that tells us things will work out.  You are building on that experience now.  Each day is a fence post that will hold your life together in the future.  Fence posts are notoriously hard to line up…but the time you take engaging in the learning process will be worth it.

We’ve never learned anything worthwhile from the easy things in life.  Hard things are our greatest professors.  Diabetes will bring you battles, and in the end victories that will lay a sure foundation for your happy future.

You are not alone.  Read those words again, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  Continue to look online for others who are “same.”

You are doing a wonderful job.  How do I know that?  Your hurt, endurance and unending love for your child is powerful witness to that.

Don’t let the numbers ruin your day.  They aren’t going anywhere…so make it your business to someday make peace with them.  They show you the next step, letting them stab you in the heart will only make for a heart full of holes.

Even still, Diabetes hurts.  I know.

But in a twisted way, it blesses too. 

You’ll find those blessings one day.  That is another promise for you.

Until then, keep soldiering on.  And if you can, don’t do it all alone.  Don’t hide…find your family, or your loved ones and get them involved. 

You can’t do better than your best.  And all that love you have for your child?  It only yields the best.

And on the subject of sleep:  I can’t make any promises there.  But one day your child will grow up, and the hours of sleep will lie before you like a magic carpet ride.  And then you will wish you could keep doing those checks for your child, to take away the burden just a little bit longer.  We are parents.  There is just no winning with this one.

One day at a time new friend!  YOU CAN DO THIS!  I’m cheering for you!

All my love, and understanding,


  1. As a Newbie--at this for not yet 7 months--we're taking it one day at a time. Such words of wisdom, thank you. Love to you too Meri.

  2. "You can't do better than your best" I hear that in my mind everytime we get our A1C report card! So much truth in that Meri. Your words of wisdom always brighten my day! Today our grade was 8.2 A1C and I'm proud of that! Thank you!

  3. I am a registered nurse of 13 years. I have worked in ICU for at least half of that time directly and have been a nurse supervisor for 3 years. My 10 year old son was getting up out of bed for about a week and a half before he got the same stomach bug I got. I told him that I knew he did not feel good, but he would be okay. Then within a hour, our lives changed. He started to look bad. My nursing gut said he was not right. Went to the local ER. We were taken back, and nurses and doctor were all over him. they were throwing IV's in him and ordering tests. within 30 minutes, they were talking to transfer him via ambulance to the children's hospital for possible appendix. I thought, "okay, We will be okay. Yes, we are scared. But we are ok." Then lab work started to come back. The ambulance was changed to a helicopter. The nurse inside me went, "We only call for helicopter in extreme emergencies. He only needs surgery." Mom gut was already falling apart. The scariest was the bedside glucose said too high to read. I knew what that meant. The glucose was 769. I got to fly with him. I would have flown on the blades if I had too. Luckily my husband was too tall. We have slowly picked up the pieces. We have fought the medical people in our family about what needed to be done. Fought the people that have said rude and hurtful things. I blamed myself for "not catching it". I am a nurse. I should have been able to stop this. It has even been said in family talks. This sucks. But the doctor at the hospital said it best, " your son is not a diabetic. He has blond hair, blue eyes, and has diabetes. He is not the disease. He is your son." I still cry, and then I laugh and thank God that he still lets me shoot life into him everyday. It does get better. Find support. If they say bad things, go away. Find people that have been there. It helps.

    1. Wow, your story reads a lot like our families. Both my husband and I are RN's( well my husband still is, now I am a stay at home; homeschooling mom). Our family had been sick with a cold for about a week, my son was sick too, but not with cold symptoms..... I kept thinking it was so strange and something was wrong, but I kept ignoring my gut. I felt so guilty for not taking him in sooner and trusting myself. My son's sugar was 723! Even as a nurse I had no idea what this new reality was going to demand of us! I think it is funny how words can change how we feel about this condition. I still remember only hours after my sons diagnosis when the nurse came in and said bla bla bla, this is what we do for our diabetics, I was so angry! I kept thinking he is my beautiful boy, not a disease. Anyway, I agree that support is so important in helping us find "others like us" and helping us heal.

  4. Meri you ate such an inspiration! I just love reading your blogs. The helpe me more than you could ever know!! I have a 7 year old girl who was diagnosed 3 years ago and I still have good and bad days. Its so nice to know that I'm not alone even though I feel as though I am!! My absolute favorite blog you wrote was sailboat. It's absolutly have I feel. I feel as though you wrote that just for me!! Thank you much for writing for us....I know I'm not the only one how feels this way! Thanks agai and God bless!

  5. Merri, I have been following your blog for two years now. I have laughed and cried as I've read your blog over the years. You are a inspiration to me, I always look forward to hearing what you have to say. When my daughter was diagnosed with T1D, I thought there is no way I can do this. When my son was diagnosed last year, it was almost even harder then when my daughter was diagnosed. I thought... if Merri can have 3 of her kids with T1D, then I can do this this too. Thankfully, most days my kids are awesome with dealing with their diabetes. They live very happy normal lives. We do have days that both of them feel like throwing their pumps and meters in the trash, they just want a break from all of it. I would do ANYTHING to give them that break. Thanks again for all you, you inspire me in so many ways.

  6. To Meri, and also to the Anonymous commenter above: you are truly inspirational, calming, and motivational at the same time. I think I speak for lots of people when I say: Thank You.

  7. This is a perfect excerpt for a book I'm writing. Could I include it? Message me

  8. Meri, as always, thank you. I suppose I am no longer a newbie (on the 4th it will be 2 years since our son's diagnosis), but diabetes has a way of sometimes still making me feel that way anyway. Your posts always resonate deeply. Much of the wisdom within your letter is universal and can apply to many situations. You mentioned your delay in answering the mother's letter was due to your own round of grief. I truly hope some comfort can be found for yourself in your words to others. WE hate that YOU are hurting. You are not alone either.

  9. Meri, you are amazing! Love reading your words.

  10. Having a family member with diabetes specially kids is quite difficult coz they need a lot of attention and focus. But there are so many natural ways to combat it and they should live a normal lifestyle. My kid has diabetes but i make it a point not to let him feel he's sick with so many limitations specially on food. Discipline is what they should learn best.

  11. i am sitting at work reading all your stories, making me realized how wonderful God is and he help my baby come back to me. my daughther was DX 2 years ago. We found out the hard way, she went into a coma for three days with a sugar of 1600( eveything i see that number i cant help but cry. I knew sit was bad when the nurses who were assigned to her didnt want to go home until they felt she was getting better. I know she wont be the last and that is the scarry thing. We have to get up each day adn fight for our kids and stay strong so they can one day be strong individauls. Every time i look at her i am amazed how strong she is and love her more and more. she is my baby and i spoil her and i will not feel guilty for that.

  12. I just subscribed to your blog (and the captcha was the word "blessed" which I feel in an odd way - we all are) we were diagnosed on 10/22/12 at 13 months old. It surprises me how resilient my daughter has been. It's only been 2 1/2 months...but it feels like years! I feel like this wasn't the life I had imagined for my daughter or for our family...but God wouldn't give this to us if he didn't think we'd be able to handle it. I have my daughter alive and everyday I will fight to keep her alive. The T1D community has been more welcoming, helpful and loving than I could ask for. I'll be sure to keep reading your blog.

  13. I just read this post as a newbie single mom with a 10 year old sweet girl who was diagnosed 8 months ago and I can't begin to say how much it touched me. So many days I feel alone in this battle and the numbers scare me as do the possible "complications". Thank you for this message.


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