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When someone asks me what I "do", I say I "am" a homeschool mom. My three children represent every level: elementary, middle and high school. Everything about them keeps me busy. If someone asked me where I saw myself in five years, five years ago, volunteering with ROI would not have been part of that vision. Not at all.
Five years ago, I was a homeschool mom of two. Our youngest, Avery, was four and our life was typical. When Avery was five and a half, we made the devastating discovery that his blood was over 500. My husband and I cried. We knew what that number meant. We had checked his blood with his daddy's meter.
My first exposure to T1D came on an early date with my future husband. We were going on a hike. To me, it was simple stroll across a meadow. It was not a hike. To him, it was an adventure. It was also an opportunity to introduce me to a box of Nutri-Grain bars, sugar in a tube, and his propensity to bring a huge container full of fear and supplies.
We went to the opposite extreme in the months ahead. He passed out on me twice.
The first time I had no clue what to do. The second time I knew to call an ambulance and have them meet me off the nearest exit ramp. We were in bumper to bumper traffic. I did not want it to control my life. I wanted 'normal', but ignoring diabetes was not working.
Honestly, we did not have anyone to train me. He had diabetes since he was seven. Treatment, diet, and lifestyle had changed through those years, but this bride had not been part of those developments. And, he loved his patterns and routines. Some things that should have changed had not.
Yes, we cried over Avery. While my husband stayed with the older two, I drove Avery to the ER ahead of a snow storm. I stopped crying long enough to focus on the weather and the mountain and the fact that I had no idea where I was going. We were traveling an hour from home where my child could be treated. I know that trip well now. Every three months we make it. I cried again in the ER and the admissions nurse ordered me to stop. He said, "You know it is diabetes and anything else that would make his blood sugar that high, you don't want him to have."
I stopped crying. Perspective. I did not want Avery to have anything else that would make his blood sugar that high. When we left that hospital I threw away every flier that we received. It all said the same thing - "life can be normal". We were going to have normal. Avery was not going to be denied the things that make childhood magical. His daddy grew up in a time and under care that required his momma to say 'no'.
But, let's be real. Those of us who live with T1D know that normal only looks that way to the outside world. Normal requires a medium sized box of supplies and 'fear'. Preparedness and awareness.
We camp in places where I can keep a bag of snacks in the tent. Bear bags are a bit beyond my comfort zone, because I'd rather not have to deal with that at 4 a.m. If Avery wants to do that when he is older, that is up to him. He takes his pump off to play football and gets to drink G2 Low Sugar after a practice. We hike with drinks that he can't have otherwise. And, just like the other two, he was given the opportunity to learn a snow sport.
The kids and I were all on the mountain a lot more this year and I noticed two things. For one, Avery and I spent a lot more time in the lodge than previous years. To improve his HB1C we have him under tighter control and we had to learn to compensate for that. I also noticed that not one T1D came through the children's lesson program where I teach skiing (also not on my radar five years or one year ago!). I knew why, but it broke my heart. Skiing with diabetes just takes more work.
That led me on a quest that led me to Riding On Insulin. My heart is to see all of our T1D's have normal. My place in that for right now, in this time, is to give other parents the opportunity to allow their children to learn to ski. Ironically, I did not teach mine. They can do it, with a medium sized box of supplies. For them, there should be no fear. We are taking care of them. Preparedness and awareness.
Donate to Louise's Coaches page here.