It has been more than 6 weeks since Ada’s diagnosis, and I feel like I am finally beginning to settle in. I did some intense grieving, hitting all the stages at different points, but I feel like I have at least begun to accept our new normal. It helps that I faced the fact that just a couple of weeks ago, I was staring at the gut feeling that I was headed for a breakdown. I have mentioned before that I require a lot of downtime. Downtime can include rest, sleep, hobbies, or meditation. The schedule I had set up for myself during the second week after diagnosis took away the majority of my downtime. When I made my initial schedule for including Ada’s diabetes into our lives, I was riding the high of facing the crisis head on. I do that. When there is an emergency, I focus and act; my body is more awake and energized, and I can work harder than usual. Something else I usually do is lie to myself that I will be able to keep my new energy alive interminably. I can’t. I have so much personal experience that tells me that I after a crisis, I will return to my need for longer stretches of downtime.
About 3-4 weeks after diagnosis, I was beginning to fail. Each I of weeks 3, 4, and 5 I had at least one day where I was unable to function beyond caring for Ada’s most basic needs. I could not take her to school, I could not work on my house, I could not spend time with my family. I fed my daughter and took care of her medical needs. Otherwise, I spent the day in bed and in tears. I was continually exhausted, and each nonfunctional day took 1-2 additional days of recovery, not to mention the day before often being frantic before the crash. I was spending more than half my week at the mercy of my mental health. I had lost my balance–the balance I had spent years perfecting. It was just gone and there was nothing I could do to get it back. Ada needed me to change everything for her, but in the process I was losing myself and my grip on reality. My fear was that I would also lose my ability to care enough to care for her. That really scared me, so I knew I had to do something. I had to face my present situation. I was crumbling and putting my daughter’s life at risk in the event that I did breakdown.
I went back to one of my most important mottos–I love myself! I had to choose my mental health before several other things that I had tried to make more important. One of the biggest things I had to face is that I was unable to handle the school schedule I had set up, and I was not ready to just let her be alone given that we have had some real trouble avoiding low blood sugars. Taking her to school and then going back to her school an additional 2-3 times per day; spending an hour or more in the nurses office some days because her low blood sugars became more common and harder to bring up. I should have been able to do it. Right now as I write this I feel like I failed, like I should have been able to keep doing that. But the truth is that I was falling apart and the school schedule was contributing to my exhaustion. Once I began to be too exhausted to take her to school, I began to feel immense guilt about the whole situation. That is what began to push me over the edge. I couldn’t face the exhaustion, but I was being strangled by the guilt.
So, I decided to homeschool her through the end of the year, and the positive effect that this decision has made on our family has been huge. I have recovered; Ada is no longer either facing roller coaster blood sugar levels or boredom at home all day. She is learning, being active, I have the energy to take her out of the house, her blood sugars seem more manageable, and I am able to maintain more control over her physical activity, which often makes her low without a snack directly before.
Ada doesn’t really know when she’s low, either, which has made all of this more difficult. Hypoglycemia can cause a person to ultimately go into a coma, so it is very dangerous. Most diabetics get certain symptoms that alert them that their blood sugar is low. Ada doesn’t seem to have the regular symptoms. She feels tired and hungry when she is low, but she also feels tired and hungry at other times and her blood sugar is fine or high even. Those symptoms don’t seem very reliable since they are often unassociated with low blood sugar. This is one of the major reasons I am so interested in Ada having a Diabetic Alert Dog; the dog will be able to smell low blood sugars sooner than Ada may realize what is going on with her body. This could save us from an emergency room visit, hospital stay, or worse. Ada’s medical team likes the idea, our landlord has agreed to allow us to bring a service dog into our house, and so many of you are making it financially possible for us to give Ada a wonderful companion.
Our fundraiser to pay for Ada’s scent imprinted Labrador Retriever puppy can be found at this link: https://www.gofundme.com/getadaadog
Our fundraiser goal is $5000. $3000 of that is to cover the cost of the puppy. The additional $2000 is to cover our expenses to all three go pick up the dog in Utah and attend a weekend training conference with our chosen breeder/trainer and her team, all of which is a requirement for receiving the puppy. Any additional training, food, vet bills, etc, we will be covering ourselves unless we raise more money than our goal. If that happens, I promise that every penny raised for the dog will be set aside and only spent on dog-related purchases.
As soon as I know more about where we are on the waiting list and how long our wait will be, I will be sure to let you know. Thank you for believing in my desire to give this gift to Ada. It means so much to me that you all care about my sweet daughter. Much love to you all.