Jaimey & Grayson: A Year with T1D
In honor of our Goal! and Gay Paree raffles to support Gales Creek Camp for kids with diabetes, members of our community have reached out with their stories of how chronic illness has affected their and their children’s lives. Here, longtime gMum Jaimey shares the story of her son Grayson’s diagnosis with type 1 diabetes at the age of 6.
If you had asked me one year ago what the next year might look like, it never would have included the words “type 1 diabetes.” Sure enough, as dumb luck would have it, a year ago from today I was sitting at my friend Michelle’s kitchen counter testing my 6-year-old son’s blood sugar with her 6-year-old son’s blood sugar monitor for “peace of mind.”
After waiting what seemed like an eternity for the number to pop up (which in reality, took like three seconds), Michelle looked at the 360 on the screen. “That’s not peace of mind, you need to go to urgent care right now.” My brain went both numb and into full blown chaos in that moment.
The rest of the day and next two were a whirlwind of diagnosis at urgent care, packing a bag, emailing everyone who might need anything from me, working out the details and spending the next few days at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. Grayson did indeed have type 1 diabetes.
I was 5 months pregnant with walking pneumonia I’d had for weeks because I kept getting the brush off, and had 2 other kids and a husband at home. I struggled with how to make this our new normal and not let Grayson see me panic. He loved the attention at the hospital and eating whatever he wanted, unlike at home. He hated the shots and being held down both literally and figuratively. I started bribing him to get shots and blood sugar checks and hoped I wasn’t setting us up for failure long term. He hated not knowing what was happening to him and so did I. We both very much like to know the plan.
Type 1 has its own agenda and usually it’s not in alignment with mine. I have learned a lot in the last year but learning to let go has been a struggle for this mama. Learning to let him continue to be a kid, while managing his blood sugars has its moments of utter frustration and exasperation. We have struggled with friends who don’t get it at all and don’t really care to, and those that have kept their distance. Out of the wood work have come people to help, kind friends who brought us meals in the first days home, friends and family willing to learn the ins and outs of his care and friends who are just willing to be there.
Through it all I have never let him see me cry. Not because I want him to think it’s not okay. It is, of course. But because this is something life altering, NOT life ending. Because if a t1d is cautious and takes care of themselves and manage to the best of their ability, t1ds can live amazing, fulfilled, normal lives. That doesn’t mean we won’t get burnt out sometimes or upset, but we manage and we just keep pushing through. That’s life.
I want to teach my children that, yes, life sucks sometimes. Sometimes the cards we are dealt are awful and sometimes we can’t control what is happening to us but that you can pull on your boots and muck through it. I want them to learn the values in the challenges and know that everyone has a story. Everyone has hills of challenge to climb and valleys where life just passes easily but without one you’d never know the other.
One year ago today, as I watched my sweet little boy lie in a giant hospital bed, I knew only one thing. We would get through this one day at a time and it would be okay.
Huge thanks to Jaimey and Grayson for sharing their story. Thank you for your support!