This is from my friend Nicole. She has a blog at One Day at a Time. She is one of the few people that I didn't shut out in the last year. She is one of the few that I have, although not enough, made a deliberate effort to visit with. She has the most beautiful children including 15 month old triplets whom I adore. After nine kids she still looks like an Abercrombie model. She might not like it (good friends can ask forgiveness later) but I am posting my most favorite photo of her. Moments after her sweet babies were born...
My name is Nicole. Heidi and I have been friends for almost 30 years.
Did I just say that? Yes, 30 years. We met in the 4th grade. (I think? Maybe was it the 3rd? It's been so long now I can't remember). I was the 'new kid' who rode the wrong bus home. Heidi was the 'nice kid' who offered me to get off at her house and her mom would take me home. What we didn't know was that was the start of a once-in-a lifetime-forever friendship. Not many people are so lucky to have a friend like Heidi.
Over the past 30 years, even if we weren't/aren't close physically, I can always feel her friendship in my heart and soul. We both married. Moved apart and moved back. Had 13 (!!) children between the 2 of us. And have been fortunate enough to be able to support each other through a rough and scary pregnancy (me) and a childs' diagnosis with a scary disease (Heidi).
When Heidi told me that Rebekah was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 1, my heart stopped. This should not happen to people like Heidi and Jason and their family. Truly GOOD people should not have to endure the pain and stress that T1D causes. And Rebekah, most of all, a sweet, kind, and quiet 6 year old should not have to go through what was to come.
All I could thinks was "It's not fair. It's not fair. It's not fair"
After that came the guilt. (And, yes Heidi, I AM going to talk about it because you told me to write about how T1D and your family has impacted me). You see, I said before that Heidi was and is always in my heart and soul. This experience was proof (to me anyways).
Most of the week before Rebekahs' diagnosis is blurry to me, as I had 3 month old triplets at home, hence the rough and scary pregnancy that I mentioned earlier. But I do remember that Heidi and I were talking much more than usual since she was literally my rock the first few months of being home with the babies. She came over and helped for entire days. She helped me with my struggle with breastfeeding, even helping me to hold a baby onto my breast as I fiddled with the other one. I was quite the site and all Heidi could tell me was "How cool and beautiful I looked" sitting on a mattress on my living room floor after zero sleep trying desperately to latch 2 babies on to eat. And when I got too tired to pump, she pumped ounce after ounce of her milk for my babies so that they never had to have formula.
Ok, sorry to ramble, back on track. I do remember the beginning of the week that Rebekah was sick, Heidi called me telling me about how sick Rebekah was. She was sleepy all the time and not her usual self, but that she didn't seem SICK. She didn't have a fever or anything, just tired and seemed to be losing weight. I told her she must just be having a growth spurt and she was probably fine. A few days go by and Heidi calls again. As we talked, she broke down sobbing telling me she felt like her daughter was dying right before her eyes and there was nothing she could do to stop it. That statement alone got me scared. Heidi is not a drama queen. She's very practical and calm. Always. I told her to make a Dr's appointment for her. She called back and said they would see her but not for (I think it was 3?) days. I told her to call them back and tell them that was NOT acceptable, that she wanted an appointment TODAY. NOW. Thankfully, they listened. Heidi stopped by my house on her way to the Dr. As Heidi and Rebekah stood in my kitchen, Heidi was rubbing Rebekahs' forehead and hair, Rebekah closed her eyes and her knees buckled just a tad. Tears welled up in my eyes and I said, "Heidi, she is SICK. Please call me when you get home from the Dr." Turns out she called me way before that. They were admitting Bekah into the PICU. Her diagnosis? T1D. I have medical training and I didn't realized the severity of what Heidi was telling me. That is my guilt. That, and as I think back and listen to what Heidi was telling me DAYS ago, weight loss, lethargic, tired, thirsty, I should have KNOWN what was going on. I should have insisted she get her to the Dr. days before. But I didn't. Heidi tells me all the time to drop the guilt. It's not something that is easy to drop though.
So, how has T1D impacted my life?
I've watched my dearest and closest friend go through more than I can even imagine going through as a Mama. I've watched her strength grow stronger and stronger with each day that T1D is in her life and the life of her family. I've watched her become a hero to her daughter and witnessed the undying love a mother has for her child. Its one thing to talk about the love a parent has for her child, quite another to witness it in the eye of a storm.
I've seen strength, fear, sadness, pride, guilt, relief, love, compassion, stress, shock, panic, joy and determination.
I've witnessed more emotions in any one person than I thought possible, most happening each and every day.
I would guess it's a similar feeling that my husband and I had when our triplets were in the NICU. A 'roller coaster of emotions'
And if T1D is going to show Heidi a roller coaster, it better get ready because it doesn't know Heidi like I do. It's forced her along for the ride and she will not give in.
I've experienced the making of a family of heroes. And it's not everyday that you know and love a family of heroes.