It took three consecutive wins on one of the most grueling summer days that I can remember, for then eight year old Arden and her friends to become champions of their softball district in the summer of 2013.
If I recall correctly it was around the fourth inning of game two that Arden pushed open the dugout gate waving her hands at me. I jumped up and moved swiftly in her direction, she was repeating something that I couldn't make out until I got closer.
"I feel really dizzy."
Moments later I was in the dugout with Arden, I didn't bother to check her blood glucose before I gave her the first juice box. She would eventually consume over sixty carbs to get her blood sugar up to only 131.
Her BG dropped so quickly that the DexCom CGM didn't alarm until she was drinking her juice, by that time I had already tested – she was 37. The glucose monitor caught up to what was happening moments later and that's when I saw that not only was her BG 37, it was falling at a rate of greater than 3 points per minute.
Arden's spot in the line-up didn't come up in that inning and she didn't go back onto the field after her teammates batted. Arden spent that time lying on the bench with her head on my lap, waiting for the sugar to be absorbed. She told me that she was dizzier than she had ever been, her head hurt, she was flustered, a bit disoriented – it was one of the saddest things that I've ever witnessed as a parent. Until it wasn't.
Arden twice stood up during that time to check herself, hoping to feel better before her friends were finished on defense. She was beyond determined not to miss her at-bat that was due to come up when they got off of the field. Twice she stood in front of me looking ragged while pressing her hands against her temples, trying in vain to make her head stop spinning.
I told this story after it happened but I'm telling again for my #DiabetesAndFear series because even though it's only been a year, I now have a more complete perspective than I did that day.
Last year I was proud of Arden for being tough in the face of adversity. I felt resolute, if not a bit unsure, with my decision to let her hit at her next at-bat. That was the narrative then, proud with a touch of diabetes can't stop Arden.
Today I know that this moment taught us both a greater lesson. We live in a time where many parents try very hard to remove obstacles, no one wants to see their children struggle but I think that a person is made in those struggles and you find out what you're made of when challenged. In a world where I've seen kids leave a sports event because they skinned their knee, my daughter stood at the precipice of having a seizure, she did what she needed to survive – bore down and then won a championship.
This event happened almost 7 years after Arden was diagnosed. I would not have handled this the same way had it happened years earlier. When I was scared of diabetes this would have sent me running for our house and I may never have come out again. It is with great luck that I can tell you that other, smaller events like this happened before last year and they helped me to be able to find a calm focus on this day. Tomorrow, I'll tell you about one of those small moments.
I am reverent of what insulin can do and while there was a time when I was scared of it's power, watching Arden shrug off it's best punch taught me that this is the diabetes version of a skinned knee. Maybe it's not fair that this is our reality, but I am unwilling to allow the added concern to create a life of regrets. I am never reckless with my children's safety but I will be damned if I'm going to allow what was an anomalous event, to bring back the fear that enveloped me when Arden was a toddler.
Nothing diabetes can do to us – is as harmful as living in fear. You can believe me now or believe me later, but I can tell you this with certainty. I miss the time that we lost to being afraid and we can't get it back.
#DiabetesAndFear don't have to go together.