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With 415 million people living with diabetes worldwide, we often still feel alone and unprepared. With diabetes bags made for organization and a community of people who are just like you, Myabetic will help you feel connected and prepared for every day with diabetes.
May 19, 2002 is a date I will never forget. At the time, our twin daughters, Claire and Maggie were five years old, and we were on a fun family vacation in Florida. I had noticed Maggie had been drinking a lot more than usual, urinating more frequently, and had lost a noticeable amount of weight.
I remember one day during our trip we went to the mall. While there, Maggie couldn’t even make it to the restroom, and she wet herself. She was so embarrassed, because she hadn’t had an accident in a couple of years. I had recently read an article about Type 1 Diabetes in a parenting magazine. I had suspected for a few weeks that Maggie might have it, but I kept coming up with explanations for her symptoms. I finally had to stop making excuses for all of the unusual things that were happening with her when I noticed she was awaking from sleep to urinate. She usually slept through the night, so this really concerned me. We were planning to drive from the beach to Disney World the next day, so we decided we should take Maggie to the local hospital to get checked out.
I was in complete shock. I remember thinking “I don’t know if I can handle this. I don’t want my child to have to suffer.” There were a million thoughts running through my mind, and my heart was broken for our precious little girl. There was also so much I didn’t understand at that point. I was completely ignorant about the types of diabetes. My husband and I took turns staying with Maggie in the hospital. As I drove to our condo to pack my bag, I stopped and bought a dozen donuts because I thought we could never eat sweets again!
Since Maggie’s diagnosis, it has definitely been an ongoing adjustment for her and our family to learn to live well with diabetes. There have been countless highs and lows (literally and figuratively!) Maggie had a wonderful, happy childhood. She was very active in school activities and found her passion in singing. She had many loving friends and family who supported her with her diabetes throughout the years. We participated in JDRF’s Walk to Cure Diabetes for many years and always felt so loved and encouraged by our walk teams. Maggie attended diabetes camp for a week each summer and absolutely loved it there. She said it was the one place she didn’t feel “different.” We also helped start a diabetes support group in our area so kids with Type 1 could play together and their parents could share information/commiserate with one another. It wasn’t all easy, though.
When Maggie was a teenager, we really started to transfer ownership of her illness to her. That transition did not go very smoothly. She really went through a phase in which she basically wanted to live like she didn’t have diabetes any more. I would nag Maggie about checking her blood sugar or that she wasn’t caring for herself properly, but it only caused her to be frustrated. She would tell me that she’d checked her blood sugar when she hadn’t just to appease me.
When Maggie left home for college, we as her parents obviously had to completely let go of caring for her and allow her to learn how to do it on her own. It didn’t happen overnight, and she had to go through some health scares and even a stay in the ICU for Diabetic Ketoacidosis, but eventually Maggie began to embrace her life with diabetes.
I really saw her “turn a corner” when she moved from Arkansas to California. Having the opportunity to work with Myabetic and developing a community of friends who also have Type 1 Diabetes has helped Maggie to feel confident in who she is. I love that she has chosen not to be a victim, but to turn her trial into a triumph! It is beautiful to watch Maggie educate and encourage others who live with diabetes. Her Dad and I couldn’t be more proud of the incredible woman she has become, and we know that she wouldn’t be so strong and independent if it weren’t for diabetes!
By the way, Maggie finally got to go to Disney World (several times!)
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