It seems crazy to me that today I'm celebrating 4 years of being a Type 1 Diabetic. 4 years of seeing the Lord's handprints on so many moments of hardship and joy. 4 years of being able to declare every day "You have sustained me. Today is yours, do with it what you will."
November 27, 2017, will forever be a special Ebenezer moment. A day I can look back on and say "Look! Look and see what the Lord has done since then."
Every year I've done something different to celebrate it. This year, I want to invite you all along with me on a trip down memory lane. Below is a piece I wrote for a personal narrative assignment during that year.
I hope that as you read you might join me in praising Jesus for his faithfulness towards me and towards my family!
The Plan He Has for Me
“She’s losing consciousness, hook her up to the heart monitor!” A clatter and a bang came from the other side of the divider curtain and I woke up. I was absolutely exhausted. Leaning over the guardrail attached to the bed, I rummaged around on my nightstand and produced my watch. I pressed the night glow button and numbers lit up and danced across the screen, 2:00 AM.
So what could possibly be going on? Just as the thought ran through my head, my night nurse, Lauren, came into my side of the room and sat down on the bed next to me. She explained that they had finally brought in a roommate, but that she wasn’t taking to the move very well and was battling for her life. “You want to pick a finger for me?” she asked.
“It’s that time again, isn’t it? Here, try this one. It doesn’t look bruised, it feels a little tender but I’ll get over it.”
“How have you been feeling? Any headaches, shakiness, or trouble going to the bathroom?” She wiped my finger down with an alcohol swab and counted to three. Before I knew it, a nice dollop of blood squeezed out and she slipped it onto the test strip of the glucose meter.
Finally, I responded. “No, I’ve been feeling fine.” I couldn’t take it any longer. The short five seconds of time seemed like an eternity to me. “What’s my reading?” I asked, knowing that if it was high it would merit another insulin injection which I was not too keen on at two AM in the morning.
“152! Look at you! You are getting better and better. Looks like you can go back to bed kiddo. I’ll take your menu orders down to the kitchen now and Kera, your day nurse, will see you at eight tomorrow.”
“Lauren, you’re going off duty soon aren’t you?”
“Yeah, I am. Tonight was my last night. Why?” I could tell by the look on her face, that she had no idea why I wasn’t looking forward to her leaving.
“Oh, I just wanted to tell you that you’re an amazing person for this job. I love you and want to thank you for being willing to work with me.”
“No problem kiddo.”
As I fell asleep once again, knowing nothing about my roommate next door, I began to pray for her. (I later found out from her mother on the day that I got discharged that she had been in the ER to be flushed out for substance abuse.)
It was 2:15 AM on my second night at Boston Children’s Hospital. I was on the mend, if all went well I would be discharged the following day. Things were looking up for me, but they hadn’t always been that way. For most of October and early November, I was in and out of “good health”. I often had days where I couldn’t even get through half a class of my five-period homeschooling curriculum.
It all really went downhill when we went to New York for Thanksgiving weekend with my Dad’s younger sister. I had vomited the night after our family feast. I rarely vomit, and when I do, something is usually drastically wrong. (Like the time I had Mono, or prior to discovering I had a violent reaction to vinegar in middle school Physical Science.) I told my parents when I woke up the following morning, knowing we were going back to Massachusetts that day.
My dad could already tell at this point that it was some kind of nutritional issue. He had noticed that oftentimes, I did not have an appetite. I craved orange juice and sugar, whereas before I didn’t have much desire for those things. What my dad didn’t see, my mom did. She looked at me that morning and said “You’ve lost weight. Your jeans are sagging on you, they don’t look like they fit the way they did last month.” She circled one of her hands around my neck and noticed her fingers overlapped her thumb. I had outgrown her hand measurement in 6th or 7th grade, so we knew I had to see a doctor.
Since it was Sunday, we stuck to our travel plans and drove home. My aunt, who is Dad’s younger sister and an ultrasound technician, made me promise I would remind my parents to make a doctor’s appointment. For her to be worried, I knew it had to be bad.
On the way home I asked for a soda and said “sipping it made me feel better”. Which, mind you, soda is not a go-to beverage for me. That was yet another pointer for my parents that I was really not myself. Both of them noticed my lack of desire to be moving around. I was constantly in the bathroom, refilling my water bottle, or in my bedroom trying to do school but feeling so sick I never accomplished anything.
The following day, at 1:00 in the afternoon, I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled with my pediatrician. And believe me, I was so grateful.
My symptoms were only getting worse and more intense, instead of better. When we called the pediatrician the night before, she had an inkling I had some kind of flu or virus, except the fact the I craved sugar didn’t fit in with either of those. It was 1:10 when the pediatrician finally called my name.
She took us to her little alcove of an office. A nurse who was there took some blood to run tests, and she also had me do a urine test. And then we all waited, the nurse and doctor had a battle of wits, trying to figure out why I had the symptoms I had. At two PM, all the lab results came in and she pulled my dad out of her office and closed the door behind them.
Alone in her air-conditioned office with my winter jacket on, I near cried. I felt so awful. I had no idea why the doctor wanted to talk to my dad alone. I sent up a silent plea, “Lord, you are able. Please, take this from me. Unless it is your will and if so make the symptoms appear all at once. Make the doctor and her nurse see. Please, Jesus please.” I continued my prayers as the lyrics to Chris Tomlin’s Good Good Father song flowed through my lips and heart.
After a significant amount of time passed...
“We think you have Type 1 Diabetes, but we can’t be sure.” I smiled at the confusion on her face and I smiled for the relief that came over me. “Okay, so what’s next?” I quietly asked.
The pediatrician and my dad discussed a few more things, and my dad called my mom who had just gotten home from picking my sister up from school. The doctor rattled off a list of three hospitals and told my father to pick one and that I needed to be admitted to the ER right away. He called another of my aunts who works for Boston Medical Center and listed the hospitals to her. She practically yelled into her cell phone I think, because even though she was in New Hampshire, I could hear her very clearly say, “Boston Children’s.”
With that, my dad and I walked to the car. I don’t remember much after that. When I woke up again we were already in the parking lot of Boston Children’s ER and all I could remember feeling was that I was going to fall over as we walked in level after level of the massive hospital building.
A few hours later found me in a hospital bed for the night, I was told I couldn’t eat or drink until they had run more tests and brought my body functions back to normal. I had an Intravenous Dripline in each arm. One contained a glucose-saline water solution. The other contained what I can’t live without now, Insulin.
It’s been nine long, and fragile months since I got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on November 27, 2017. Every day, I’m so grateful for the ability to wake up. Every day, I have proof of God’s plan for me. I have pinprick marks on the sides of my fingers, reminders that He is sovereign and that He cares. I have pockmarks on my stomach and thighs as daily proof that God’s not finished with me yet. I have a swollen vein on one of my elbows as I reminder that I can do all things, through Him who gives me strength. Jeremiah 29:11-13 says “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Every day, I wake up and I thank God that his plan that day in the hospital was to keep me alive. I can only hope and pray that everything I do is for Him and His glory.
And now, it's been four years!
The Lord is so good.
This coming year, year 5, my theme is going to be "Okay, what's next?" and I want to be able to approach Jesus with that question and be able to fully trust him with the outcome.
Care to join me and see what's next?