An earlier essay


On January 31 it was official. It’s been one year since Jenna was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. One year since we began counting every carb that passes through her lips. One year since I’ve watched her run and play without wondering if she’s getting low. One year since I’ve gone to bed without debating if I should check her blood sugar just one more time. One year since Jason held her down so I could administer her first insulin injection.

In the past year, 3 year-old Jenna has endured 1500 shots, 2400 finger pricks, 1 trip to urgent care for IV fluids during the flu, and 7 appointments at the Altru Diabetes Center.

I’ve gotten out of bed the past 370 nights to check her blood sugar, subscribed to 3 diabetes magazines, bought or received 5 diabetes books that all say nearly the same thing, researched 4 insulin pumps, and – after everyone else has gone to bed – broken down so many times I’ve lost track.

And I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “she’s being a bit dramatic” – that “diabetes is treatable” and “they’ve made great strides” and “she’ll live a full and happy life with all the advancements they’ve made” and, my favorite, “a cure is just around the corner.” Then there’s “it could be worse” or “at least it’s not (fill in the blank with any other horrible condition).”

My logical mind agrees with much of it, and my optimistic heart wants to believe all of it. And I do feel guilty when I think about what others are going through in this life. But the fact remains: I’m her mother. She’s my baby. And it’s just not fair.

I should be thankful that right now Jenna doesn’t understand the potential impact this disease will have on her future health and well-being. For now, that’s the burden her parents (and others who love her) bear. Ignorance – no, innocence – is bliss.

So tomorrow I’ll get up, put on my smile, and navigate the waters for yet another day. Because despite my own lows every now and again, I truly do believe that there’s hope yet.


Kelly, that made me cry! You have just put in to words a lot of what I have been feeling. It has only been a little over 2 months for us. I’m here if you ever want to talk.


Hi neighbor! We have got a great group of Minnesotans on the Diabetes OC and hopefully here on Tu Diabetes.
I hope you find a sense of support from the other parents and also from those of us “veterans”.


Kelly, no matter how hard I sometimes think it is to be diabetic, I will always think it must be hardest to be the parent. When I was dx’d at 13, I remember the tears in my dad’s eyes when he came to the hospital bearing gifts. That scared me more than anything the drs would say! However, when I look back at over 35 yrs since, I also remember the “can do” attitude my parents gave me. Stay strong for Jenna. She will always be indebted to you for countless things, but the most important thing just may be her ability to stand on her own, grinning as she maneuvers her life.


No you are not being dramatic. PEople who do not live with this, have no clue. Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the strength to get back up one more time. And I applaud you. I will keep you in my heart and prayers. Remember to breathe.