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at one year


March 6 marks the first anniversary of Madeline’s T1 diagnosis. Somehow, a year seems like such a long time when you’re in the midst of it, but it’s no less than a drop in the bucket of time when a lifechanging event occurs. A year is, at once, everything and nothing. And because of this, I still feel so lost in this disease. It’s a true effort to release its grip, even for a few moments, in order to reclaim some perspective.

So here’s my effort, today, to accomplish that goal.

In the past year, I have realized that…

…Madeline is one of the strongest, most intelligent, most amazing kids anyone could ever hope to know. And I get to call her mine.

…this disease arouses the most bitter of feelings while also revealing one’s deepest strength.

…I can survive on sleep gained in two-hour increments for months on end.

…I can explain, to anyone who wants to learn, about the suspected etiology of Type 1 and its profound differences from Type 2. These are not the same disease and should not even carry the same name.

…glucose test strips make their way into the strangest locations.

…I should not feel badly about waking up the on-call pediatric endocrinologist at 1 a.m.

…control of this disease is an illusion.

…managing T1 takes an enormous team effort.

…I can program a bolus while driving a car. Thank you, Animas, for the meter remote!

…the impact of a failing pancreas is interminable.

…having a child with a chronic health condition takes a considerable toll on a marriage.

…I can’t expect everyone who takes care of Madeline to be an expert in T1.

…I can store the carbohydrate content of countless foods in memory.

…managing diabetes changes the course of every single routine, event, activity, and experience in our daily lives, for every person in our family. Even the dog.

…it’s important to stash sugar sources in the oddest of places.

…Madeline’s teachers and caregivers are amazing partners.

…it takes a long time to truly understand the biology of T1 and learn the art of managing it, and that I need to forgive myself for feeling so utterly inept.

…wishing for Madeline to be able to do things just like every other kid has brought me nothing but sadness and resentment.

…I’m committed to teaching Madeline everything I can about managing T1, and living in spite of it, so that she can live her life fulfilled.

…gratitude is a choice that must be made.

…things could always, always be much worse.



About Heather Garcia Queen

I am… a mother of 3 spectacular children. A wife of an architect extraordinaire. An MSW. A psychologist in an elementary school. A (wishful) writer. A protector of family and spirit. A worshipper of the natural world. A seeker of knowledge. A lover of the arts. An introvert. A silver-lining kind of girl.


7 thoughts on “at one year

  1. I am in tears as I read this as my son has had an unexplained illness plaguing him for 7 months now. It has been the longest 7 months of my life. We have met more doctors and he has had more tests than most adults do. Your post made my smile at times, tugged at my heart other times. While I know my son does not have T1, I understand the sleepless nights, the constant search for information and toll this takes on life. You and your family are in my prayers. -Kassy (friend of Jaz Queen)

    Posted by Kassy Hoiriis | 03/03/2012, 12:27 am
    • Kassy, thank you for the kind words. I will certainly keep you in my thoughts as your family sorts through what is going on with your son. And thank you for your fierce support of my brother-in-law and his family. We’ll get to meet next weekend!

      Posted by hmqueen | 03/03/2012, 3:18 am
  2. As someone who can relate to many of the things you have realized, I just want to say that you are an amazing, strong, wonderful woman and mother. Your children are lucky to have you. Don’t forget to take care of yourself through all of this!!! Hugs!!

    Posted by Steph | 03/03/2012, 12:33 am
  3. Hallelujah! Type One needs its own name. Really I guess Type 2 should move out and get a new name but it has already sullied this one. Juvenile Diabetes maybe was on the right track…as a PR move…to associate it with our sweet, blameless children. Oh. I’m too bitter about this.

    Posted by Katy | 03/23/2012, 11:57 pm
  4. I realize I will probably develop Type 2 myself, just for poetic justice.

    Posted by Katy | 03/23/2012, 11:57 pm
  5. i found your blog thanks to the links in katy’s post, and have enjoyed the bits i’ve read here. speaking as a mom of a kid who is about 2.5 years into the T1D thing, i can relate to so much you’ve written here after one year. thanks for reminding me of the good and bad.

    Posted by shannon | 04/30/2012, 6:17 pm

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This work by Heather Garcia Queen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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