Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's a milestone for all of us.

J is 12 today.

I remember holding back the tears on his first birthday. He was so tiny and skinny…but he was there. Alive and there to celebrate.

We almost lost him when he was diagnosed. He was 8 months old when all of his symptoms came to a head. Subject to the dreaded Ketoacidosis, his breathing was hard and labored and he was so dehydrated they couldn’t find a vein. A surgeon was called in to cut into his ankle so they could find one. It was an awful awful experience. I often explain the day this way: If you would imagine you are standing on a cliff, with your toes clenched over the sides on a gusty day…that’s where I was. Ready to fall…fall into despair and on the edge of completely losing it. When the doctors swooped in, and he started seizing…I fell apart, I had to leave. My hysterics weren’t helping the doctors, or J. The nurses pushed me into the waiting room and I knelt on the floor and sobbed and prayed. I often feel guilty I wasn’t there with him every minute…but at that moment, I wasn’t strong enough. I was only a puddle of emotions.

I am stronger now.

And so is J.

He is such an amazing kid.

He is strong, funny, smart and stubborn. He is a tween through and through…but a momma’s boy at heart. He was bolusing himself in Kindergarten, he was guessing correct insulin amounts in 1st grade, and counting carbs in 2nd grade. In third grade he lied to me for 3 weeks, calling me with fake blood sugars. We found out it was because he hated being last on the playground. We fixed the problem by having his teacher excuse him 5 minutes before snack, but he will forever have me double checking his meter because of it. He was put into the gifted and talented program in 4th grade and has done all he can to pass without effort ever since. He has spent the last two years getting good grades by doing the bare minimum. If it’s not math, he is not interested. He is a leader, a mentor on the lower grade playground and a voracious reader. He has no tolerance for bullies. He has stood up to more than one on his own behalf, and for others.

Diabetes does not define him. It is a small inconvenience, but is not the determining factor on how he lives his life. He has no idea how amazing he is. He doesn’t know that when he had contests with his brothers, on who had the better blood sugar number, he made diabetes easier for them. He doesn’t know that going first to have his set put in, and smiling saying, ‘it doesn’t even hurt,’ helped his brothers to be brave. He doesn’t know that his bravery and his nonchalance about what he endures have served as a wonderful example to B and L. Diabetes is all he has known. He doesn’t lament his life, wishing he was without it. He has done something I don’t think I ever could…he has accepted diabetes as part of who he is. I see it as something foreign, something I wish would go away. He sees it as his normal…right down to his soul.

Happy birthday sweet boy.


  1. What a great post about an amazing boy... I can't wait to meet him. Your story about his diagnosis had me in tears. I can't even imagine what that must have been like for you. Once again I am thankful that Elise has such an amazing pediatrician and we found out early on.

  2. Yeah, totally in tears. What an amazing boy! Good job, Momma! And Happy Birthday!

  3. Happy Birthday J!
    Your diagnosis story hit close to home. I will never forget that sound of Lainey's breathing.
    One thing I'm grateful for is that Lainey, and J, will never remember life before diabetes. Counting carbs, finger pricks, and shots is their norm. They don't know anything different. I think that's why it was easier for them to adjust.

  4. Oh meri you have me in tears and what an amazing boy he must be. You are a great mom and it reflects in all your boys !!! HB J!!!!!

  5. I agree... what an awesome post.
    Tell him HAPPY BIRTHDAY from us :)

  6. Dang Meri.. I'm crying too! What an amazing kid and I KNOW how proud you are!
    Happy Birthday J!!!

  7. Me too! Tears are flowing. What an amazing tribute to an amazing boy by his amazing mother. I hope I have the chance to meet you all one day and give you and all of your boys big hugs. I would love for Nate to meet them too!

    Thank you for your awesome post!

  8. I can't even begin to tell you how much I relate to this post. I was diagnosed at three. I do not know what is is like to live without diabetes! When I was younger I was always scared that I would face complications because of my early diagnosis. In recent years, however, I have learned that is actually a blessing in disguise. I don't know life without diabetes. I never really went through a "rebellion" phase like a lot of my other friends who were diagnosed later. I didn't have to transition. To me, checking blood sugars and taking insulin and keeping track of my food is second nature!

  9. Oh my gosh Meri, the story of J's diagnosis brings me to tears too..poor little guy and poor mom and dad.
    He sounds like an amazing boy who does and will continue to inspire his brothers and all of us out here with his strength and courage.

  10. Happy Birthday J and well done to Mum and Dad for doing such a great job!

  11. This is so sweet. I can relate to so much of what you said but I think you put it into words so much better than I could!

  12. When he was little you were so worried that he didnt understand why you had to "hurt" him to test him and give him shots. One day you walked in on him holding his teddy giving him a fake shot and telling the teddy "I love you this will make you all better." He knows you love him soo much and he is a great kid. I took the picture of him covered in berries

  13. I am with everyone, I can totally relate to your dx story with J. You definitely got the water works going here.

    I hope he enjoyed his birthday!


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