Finley was diagnosed on July 15, 2011 at age 3 ½. We were on a summer
vacation at the beach and assumed his excessive thirst was a result of
playing in the hot sun during the day, and his frequent urination—a result
of all the drinking. Not knowing the symptoms of diabetes, I casually
mentioned Finley’s thirst and frequent urination to our neighbor on the
beach, who happens to be a pediatrician, and was alarmed when she
spoke the word “diabetes.” We took Finley to his pediatrician, sure that
we were being overly cautious and worried about nothing. One urine test
and finger prick later, we got the news: “Finley has diabetes.” We spent
the next five days in the hospital.
We spent those five days in a state of confusion, anger, and grief. I cried
in disbelief at the overwhelming reality that he would need 8 to 10 finger
pricks a day and a shot at every meal. I cried when I gave him shots and
cried when I comforted him afterward. I wondered what we had done to
cause his diabetes, or what hadn’t we done to avoid it.
One of our first nights home from the hospital, I lay in bed with Finley,
cuddling him and crying as he fell asleep. He saw the tears on my cheeks
and asked, “Why are you crying, Mommy?” I tried to smile and shrugged my
shoulders. He said, “I want you to talk happy words, Mommy.” Then he
added, “I like my shots.” I smiled in wonder at the capacity of a 3 year old
to comfort his mother, to shoulder the weight of diabetes, and to remind
us that he wants to be happy. He wants us all to be happy.
After all the meetings with doctors and nurses, we still learn the most
from our children: namely, how to approach each day on a quest for
happiness. Even when happiness means digging for worms in the backyard,
or belting out our favorite songs, or making pancakes together on a
Saturday morning. There’s no doubt about it—life with diabetes is hard
(and those pancakes require sugar-free syrup), but we’re going to make it
the happiest life we can.
- Katrina (and Peter) Wardrip
Sophia's Promise, Inc. - S75W14240 Restfull Lane - Muskego, WI 53150