This story takes place a few days after Arden's diagnosis in the summer of 2006...
If you've ever read our diagnosis story you know that Arden was diagnosed during a family vacation, just a few weeks after her second birthday.
With the exception of one day, Arden spent that 'vacation' sick and waiting for us to figure out that she needed medical attention or in the hospital - she was released on a Friday, the day before we were scheduled to make the long drive home.
This was a day full of firsts for us. It was the first time that we gave Arden an injection in a restaurant, first time Kelly hung over the front seat to test a BG, first time I worried about driving with Arden and the first time I cried standing next to my car. It was also the first time I thought my son had cancer (he didn't and doesn't - keep reading).
It was a few hours after we ate at a roadside restaurant, the people at the hospital said we should retest after meals and so I drove as Kelly contorted herself and performed a finger stick from the front seat. The meter revealed that Arden required insulin. Of course we didn't know what the hell we were doing and had packed the insulin in the back of our SUV, I pulled onto the median and got out of the car to retrieve it.
I closed my door and watched Arden in her car seat as the dome light faded to black. Traffic was racing by us with such force and volume that I felt unsafe, this was;t something I would have done prior to diabetes. It was so dark and I couldn't see where I was walking, my eyes began to fill up with tears as I made my way to the rear hatch. A moment later was the first time that I drew a syringe outdoors, or in the dark for that matter. I had to lean over my son Cole to get to Arden's thigh because her door was on the traffic side of my car. I remember that feeling wrong to do.
Life seemed about as unfair as I could imagine as I plunged the needle into Arden...
I rubbed her leg and then turned my attention to Cole as I wondered what all of this must feel like to him. I smiled and put my hand on his face in an attempt to make everything feel okay, that's when I felt the bumps on his neck. I asked him to turn his head and saw that he had large bumps, that to my untrained eye looked like enlarged lymph nodes. The lumps were on both sides and ran down his neck from his ear to his chest. I though in an instant that he had cancer. Keep in mind that I had no reason to think that, it was just what popped into my head, "Lymph nodes > enlarged > cancer > Arden has diabetes > Cole has cancer".
I've never been hit in the face with a shovel but I bet I could describe the sensation with a grand amount of accuracy. The last thing that I felt that night was my hope leave my body. Every sense that I possessed shut off. I couldn't hear, think, smell, I stopped worrying about the traffic whizzing by - I was bereft in every way that we count ourselves as human beings. It's a good thing too because the ride home would have been unbearable if my senses were intact.
The next morning we took Cole to the doctor, he of course did not have cancer and we were told that it isn't uncommon for the lymph system to become enlarged during an infection.
With hindsight I can see that this moment was among the first in a long line of lessons that Arden's diabetes has taught me. Before this moment I thought of myself as someone who didn't panic, I believed myself to be cool under pressure. As it turns out, I had never been under this level of pressure. I know for certain that I wouldn't respond like that today because the person I have become, or perhaps I should say, the person diabetes has forced me to become - doesn't break so easily and doesn't give up so quickly. Diabetes takes far more than it gives but the stuff it gives is valuable - it's one of my goal to pass that message onto Arden and to all of you.