Mar 13, 2014

Bags of Hope

What a busy year it's been! I don't know about you but here in Ohio we have been plagued with White Death to the point of so many days off school my kids are doing Blizzard Bags. Which is really a punishment to me. But...anyways. Then there was the stomach virus that attacked my middle daughter. Her blood sugar runs beautifully the first couple of days when she is in full blown sickness mode. It's crazy. Then ketones show up and then it's me pushing fluids or the ole, "if you don't drink and flush these ketones out we will be going to the ER for an IV!!!" This usually does the trick but this virus was nasty. She was out of commission for 4 days and really wasn't back to her normal self until a week later. Oh, and did I mention she had try-outs for an AAU basketball team during this time? Yep. She nailed it. I have no idea how she was able to do it and score well but she did! Props to her! Thought my other two kids dodged the virus bullet but then coming home from Akron after attending a funeral it started with my the times. Same deal with her...blood sugars running great. Darn ketones show up and hard to get rid of. Three days later she was weak but okay. Just as she was on the mend...virus shows up in my son. Thankfully, it wasn't nearly as bad, although it wiped him out for a good 3 days. But for him I didn't have to worry about ketones and blood sugars. Which was weird. But I was glad for the break.

So all the while this fun is occurring I'm trying to get some hours in at our local JDRF office in. We have a huge T1D Expo to plan and secure vendors and speakers for break-out sessions and Bags of Hope to log and send out. The weekend our Expo was scheduled we had to reschedule due to the blasted White Death. But this gave me time to catch up on the ever growing pile of Bags of Hope. If you're not familiar with these bags they are book bags filled with diabetes books for kids, a Calorie King, glucose meter, log books, and Rufus the diabetes bear. We mail these bags to all newly diagnosed kids in the Cincy/TriState area. Along in doing this I also record the names and info from the family. It breaks my heart. As I'm recording their age my heart sinks and I feel like I've been punched in the gut. Nora was 4 when she was diagnosed so any 4 year old I record I just stop and pause. Any age below that I just shake my head...they are just babies!! Any age above that I think of all the ages Nora was and what she was involved with in school and sports. The teenagers really get to me as Nora is now 13 and it's such a sucky age anyway. Wanting to be "normal"...trying to fit in. And then a kids been diagnosed with diabetes and it just sucks.

I've been there. Through most of those ages. You've been there. And it hurts.

It's not a fun job in recording the newly diagnosed. I want to wrap my arms around these families and give them a big hug and let them know that they aren't alone. It gets...not better, but normal. It will be okay. In sending those Bags of Hope out I do feel like I'm sending them Hope. It may be just a box full of stuff but it's what they do with the information in that box that gives them Hope. If it's asking for a Mentor or calling the office to sign up to volunteer...that's hope.

It gave me hope. It's almost been 9 years since I called JDRF while Nora was in her second day at the hospital with this new diagnosis. I called and requested this Bag of Hope. And we've never looked back. We've pushed forward to help others. To offer them hope. So while it's a job that needs to be done and something I dread doing because it means D got another one of our loved ones; I do the job happily to send them a Bag of Hope.