Here we go again!
Actually, it crossed our minds that maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't walk this year - then I heard the words, "Teagan is hiding
her diabetes" and the world as I knew it, changed again.
Look at that face in those photos. There's no doubt she's smiling - even while she's checking her sugars at the foot of the Spanish Steps! And that's what she does, wherever we are... out come her test strips, her cotton balls, her meter, and she checks. She gives herself insulin if she's high or has sugar in its various forms if she's low. That's what we've been doing for 5 years now. That's what she'll do for the rest of her life... unless she doesn't.
From the minute Teagan was diagnosed, we've told her that diabetes is just a disease, it's not who she is. We've told her that she's brave, strong, smart and able to do anything she wants. We've encouraged her to advocate for JDRF as an ambassador, enrolled her in Diabetes Camp (which she loves), taken her to Barbados, Myrtle Beach, Europe and spent hours in hockey rinks watching her do the thing she loves best, play hockey. We've made it absolutely clear to her that we just deal with the number and get on with life... unless we didn't.
I was not prepared to hear those words. Not yet. I mean, she just turned 11 ... adolescence is on the horizon. I knew that eventually I'd be dealing with a teenager who might be more concerned with being accepted by her peers - and boys - than worrying about her A1C. That she might not want to stand out, be different, from her friends and that we might have to find strategies to help her deal with finger pokes and bolusing insulin more discretely... but not yet.
So when I could breathe again, I did what every Type 1 parent does. I asked what we'd done wrong? How did we not instill in Teagan the knowledge that she is a warrior? Our hero? How did we not give her the confidence she needed to ignore the teasing, the hurtful comments made by ignorant people? How did we not teach her that no matter what, she must stop what she's doing when her Dex goes off? Then I cried. Then I asked for help.
So Teags' got to spend some quality time with her social worker, while I sat in the waiting room. That's a life lesson right there, people. When they came out, I had to bite my tongue and listen to why and how this happened. I had to ask what strategies Teags had come up with to help her be more responsible at school, and what she would do if the teasing started again. Then I had to book the next appointment... this isn't going away in one visit.
So look at my beautiful, funny, athletic, smart-assed kid, and tell me - can you see it? Can you see the worry that someone will think less of her, because she has to poke her finger? Because she has to take insulin, just to live? I still can't and I know it's there. My daughter hides it well... like she was hiding her diabetes.
So my friends, no year off for Team Hulse. No letting this one slide.
This year we walk, and fundraise and advocate even more loudly. We show Teagan that we have her back, and that as long as we're here, no one will get away with making her feel less than the awesome little girl she is. And hopefully, she'll believe it again.
This year it's not about the technology that helps her manage her disease, or the insulin that keeps her alive. It's about Teagan and how SHE feels, living with all that this disease brings. And giving her the hope, that someday there will be a cure and she won't ever have to hide a part of herself again.