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Downgrading Diabetes

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I was surfing through Pinterest the other day (as I tend to do on occasion) and I came across an incredible blog.

I'm not exactly sure what made me actually click and read it.  But I'd like to think it was because I needed to hear what it had to say.

The blog post was about the birth of a woman's second child.  A child who was not exactly what she had expected.  Her honesty, bravery, and pure candor really touched my heart.

You should go read it.  The blog is called Enjoying the Small Things and the post I'm talking about is titled Nella Cordelia: A Birth Story.  Seriously - go on.  I'll wait.  Grab a tissue on your way over.  You might need it!

Glad you had the tissue?

The part that really got to me was where she wrote that the doctor had come in and said,

"I need to tell you something.
... "I know what you're going to say."
She smiled again and squeezed my hand a little tighter.
The first thing I'm going to tell you is that your daughter is beautiful and perfect.
...and I cried harder.
...but there are some features that lead me to believe she may have Down Syndrome.
Finally, someone said it.
I felt hot tears stream down and fall on my baby's face. My beautiful, perfect daughter. I was scared to look up at Brett, so I didn't. I just kissed her.
And then, Dr. Foley added...
...but, Kelle....she is beautiful. and perfect."

We've all been there, haven't we?  
We've all been in a doctor's office and heard words we did not want to hear.
Like this Mama, I knew before I was told.  I knew what our pediatrician was going to say.  I still cried.  
The part that really gets to me is where the doctor says, "but, Kelle... she is beautiful.  and perfect."
Maybe that's something we all need to hear.

I know this.  I've always known this.  
Yes, my daughter has diabetes.  Her pancreas doesn't work.  This disease requires constant attention.  Countless finger sticks and needles and blood and counting and pain.  
No, this wasn't what I expected.  
But it doesn't matter.  I couldn't love her more if I tried.  
She has diabetes.  But she's beautiful.  And perfect.  

No - she has diabetes.  AND she's beautiful.  And perfect.  

Do you ever need to hear that?  Do you ever need that perspective?  Do you ever get totally overwhelmed with this disease?  The neverendingness? The complexity?  The trying so hard and not seeing the results you want to see?  Need to see?  Do you ever get so scared about the future?  The what if's?  The fear?  
Sometimes we just need to hear...  "Yeah, ok... there's this diabetes thing.  But it doesn't matter. Your child is beautiful and perfect.  Your child can live a long, healthy life.  Your child can accomplish the same things they could BEFORE.  And that's that."
I know I need to hear it.  I need that reminder.  

There was another line in Kelle's blog that really touched me.  After realizing that her daughter had Down Syndrome, she said, "That was the most defining moment of my life. That was the beginning of my story."
In some ways, I get that.  
Diabetes WAS the beginning of my story - in a sense.  It was the beginning of THIS story.  
It was most certainly ONE of the most defining moments of my life.  But you know what?  If you had asked me a year ago, I might have said that diabetes was THE MOST defining moment of my life.  
But not now.  Not today.
Today I would say that it's up there.  It's in the top five.  Possibly top two.  
But it's not the top.  

Time has changed that.  Time has downgraded diabetes.  
It still hurts.  It still gets to me.  It always will.  
But it no longer gets the top spot.  

Because the most defining moment in my life was becoming a mother.  
THAT is who I am.  
I am a mother first.  
I am a D Mama second.  

We work so hard making sure our kids are kids first.  We work so hard making sure that diabetes does not define them.  And in working so hard... does it begin to define US???

It's taken almost four years to get here.  To this place.  To be able to tell you that diabetes is PART of our story.  It's not the whole thing.  
That feels good.  

And I hope those of you out there who are new to this journey find some peace and some hope in that.  You know one of my favorite quotes says, "It never gets easier.  You just get stronger."  It's so true.  
Diabetes is a part of who I am.  A part.  It's made me tough as nails.  It's brought me friendships that I could never replace and feel downright blessed to have in my life.  It's made me confident in abilities I didn't know I had.  It's changed my perspective and outlook on life.  
That's HUGE.  But it's not everything.  

You know what IS everything?
I have a child who is beautiful and perfect.  She has blue eyes and curly hair and a giggle that is infectious.  She loves to read and write.  She dances and swims and plays tennis and cheers.  She's spunky and kind.  She has a big heart.  She has diabetes.  
It's just a part of her, too.
And I want to make sure she always remembers that.  

My sweet, sweet girl.  You are so many things.  You are creative and funny.  You are a great reader.  The notes you leave us are so special.  You are confident and courageous and strong.  You are determined.  You are the happiest child I know.  You are loving and kind.  Yes, you might have diabetes.  But it's just a part of you like everything else in this list.  Never forget that you are so much more than that disease.  You are beautiful and perfect and you have been since the first moment I saw you.  



  1. Amen to that. I get some heat for being "too positive." And I always say: I'd take it away in moment. I do all I can to work toward a cure and better treatments (and I won't stop doing that ever). But .... my daughter is an amazing young woman who is funny, vibrant, smart, outspoken, lovely and just plain ... perfect. Yes, diabetes is complicated. yes, I want a cure. But at our house, we're okay!

  2. Following Kelle's blog has been a huge blessing in my life. I'm so happy you found it. :o)

  3. Great post... thanks for sharing

  4. Beautiful. Brought me to tears. Her blog and yours. Love your writing Hallie

  5. Thank you. I needed this today. Been battling the fear and trying to decide how to best blog it. The words will come, I suppose. My son was diagnosed 4.5 months ago.

    1. 4.5 months is so, so new! Big ((hugs)). I remember being so scared and unsure of myself. You can do this!!

    2. Thanks. Most days I am ok. Today was just a fearful day for some reason. He is doing fantastic! His attitude is great, and he is being very proactive in his care. He is 16 and very independent.

  6. Love this, Hallie. Absolutely Love.
    That is all. <3

  7. Hallie - you found one of my favorites bloggers EVER - Kelle Hampton! I have her linked on my blog since I began. She wrote a book too, Bloom, that you should absolutely read if you have the chance. She is right, the beauty lies in the child - diabetes, Down syndrome, autism - we love them for who they are, not because of having or not having something.
    Amen to all that you said! Now go out and buy her book - you won't regret it!

    1. Oh boy!! A book?!? I can not wait!!! Her blog was beautiful and moving! It's the exact same thing we experience as D parents but the emotion is similar. I love love loved it! And the stunning pics as well!

  8. I didn't read the link because I am toooooo emotional today, BUT your post hit me hard . Beautiful and oh so true, I think we too are starting to downgrade it, and I am loving it!

  9. I didn't read the link yet because your post alone has me all weepy. Thank you!


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