Logan and Jax - Palo Duro Canyon 2009

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sand Castles

Jax gasping for breath with a tight, barky cough. Frantically grabbing sleeping bag, coats and hats. Sitting for what feels like forever in the cold night air.


We went through the drill just days before Jax was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Then, he progressively got worse until finally, five pounds lighter and with blood glucose levels over 1000, we ended up in PICU.

So, it’s no surprise that as I sat outside with croupy Jax two nights ago, memories of the past 12 months bit me like the cold night air hitting our cheeks.

2009 began with a glorious, sunny family hike in Palo Duro Canyon. Then a bout of croup. 11 days in the hospital and months of fear, learning, praying, waking up every night, finger pokes, treating low blood sugar, injections and the hope that somehow life would get easier with time.

2009 ends with the yard blanketed in snow, sparkling as the sun reflects off God’s white outdoor carpeting and lights up our house. Another bout of croup. Less fear. More learning, hoping and praying. Still waking up every night. Finger pokes. Treating low blood sugar. Five injections every day. And the grim reality that life will never get easier than it is right now.

Dealing with grief takes me back to the ocean. Sometimes quiet and calm. Peaceful. Then at High Tide, loud, raging waves wash over the sandcastles we built yesterday, leaving only a smooth, vague imprint of what used to be. And as my bare toes trace over what remains, I cry because I’ve lost what we worked so hard to build.

I am stronger than I ever thought I could be and somehow life is moving on. Jax, brilliantly happy, brave and strong, still tells me how much he hates diabetes. Still flinches in his sleep when I poke his finger every morning at 4 am (he’s learned to eat a ZBar in his sleep). Still sometimes whispers “ouch” and rubs his tummy after an insulin bolus.Friends and family still don’t understand what happens in our household on a daily basis. Ignorant remarks still slap across my face that is trying so hard to smile, ringing in my ears. Only friends who have experienced deep pain and live with disease can understand the toll this has taken on our family.

As my memories of 2009 play like an old, scratched record, I see God’s Hand everywhere. In the middle of so much bad, He keeps pushing in so much good.

Knocking woke me up a few weeks ago to catch Jax’ blood sugar of 60. Our sweet, amazing diabetic alert dog, Keeper, smelled Jax’ 57 bg (through his closed bedroom door during naptime) when I wouldn’t have checked him for another two hours. We’ve become new members of the Type 1 diabetes family and love every single person we’ve met. I work for amazing people who bring out the best in me and let me take care of Jax first.

Jax got sick the day we left on vacation to San Diego. Scared, armed with enough diabetic supplies to stock the shelves at Walgreens and excited beyond belief, we conquered every scenario and actually relaxed and had fun. We were on a plane for 6 hours. I fed Jax dinner and bolused insulin at 40,000 feet. Jax’ eardrum burst on the flight home. The next morning, we dressed our amazing little boy (with an ear infection) and headed off for the JDRF Walk for Diabetes. I felt as if I’d conquered the world. After that vacation, God and I can do anything.

I’m exhausted. Clinging like a little girl to God’s Hand. Knowing that wherever He takes me, we’ll go together. And we’ll get through. I’m happy, because I know I’m His child and He can be trusted. He’s proved it time and time again.

The sun is perfect. Sky is blue. I close my eyes against the blinding snow and pretend my bare feet are caked with sand. I’m soaking in the sun and building new sandcastles. They will be better because now I have experience. Stronger, because I know what I’m doing.

But please, God. Could it be Low Tide this year?

San Diego 2009

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