Third Annual Kids Dance Party
Thank you for taking the time in coming to my personal page to learn more about the battle my daughter, Karolina, faces everyday as she struggles with living with Type 1 Diabetes. I have learned the importance of sharing my story and what it truly means to live with this unrelenting disease. First, let me just say, this year's fundraiser is in honor of my sister in law, Celia Brinkhaus Benoit, who so strongly battled against Type 1 Diabetes for fifty years.
It was Christmas Eve day and I was struggling to keep Karolina's blood sugar up. It was like she did not have Type 1 Diabetes anymore, and she knew it. "I think God has cured me, Mom". She was convinced God had delivered her the best Christmas present ever. This continued until after Christmas Day. She was lying on the couch at her Grandparent's house while her cousins played with their new toys. Not at all fair: she was pale, shaky, and had a massive headache. This is the face of Type 1 Diabetes: unpredictable, hard to control, a disease that has no rhyme or reason. In this case, her doctor thinks that she was so excited for the upcoming Christmas day, that her body responded by plummeting blood sugars.
At this point, after almost 8 years of Type 1 Diabetes, I am simply praying for time. Given that she is only ten, she is still under my control, therefore, I am able to monitor and care for her and take the burden of this emotionally draining disease away from her. She is safe with me watching her 24/7, even when it does not appear that I am watching, I am. You can never let your guard down with this disease, even at night, Type 1 Diabetes does not rest. She may appear to be fine looking at her, but the invisibility of this disease runs deep. Lift up her shirt, and you will see two devices, one with the longest, scary needle inserted into her abdomen. She bears physical pain from this disease constantly; from pricking her finger 16 times a day, wearing these uncomfortable devices, to the headaches, stomach aches, flu like symptoms that never go away. As she gets older, she verbalizes the daily headaches, the tiredness that goes with never having a full night sleep since the night before she is awake with lows -eating frosting with her eyes closed- or wetting the bed because her blood sugar is high. I wish I could stop time right now because who is going to save her and feed her frosting when she is in college? Who is going to catch her lows when she is exercising? It is not her fault that as part of this disease, you often cannot feel your lows. Not to mention, with the passage of time, her Type 1 Diabetes ravages her body. Sadly, she fights every day to stay alive, but the disease is slowly destroying her kidneys, her eyes, her heart, and her vascular system. Someone was recently surprised to learn, that yes, Type 1 Diabetes can cause you to have a stroke, a leg or two amputated, or a heart attack. While she is still young, I can protect her from the stigma and shame that accompanies Type 1 Diabetes. I can make T1D fun by having events such as the Third Annual Kids Dance Party, but what happens when she realizes this could be forever and she gets tired-like I do- of the constant, physical, emotional, and cognitive burden of this disease? My hope is she will not come to that place of despair and that a miracle will happen, a cure will be found, because of people like you, that have read my page, that now understand a little more about Type 1, that help spread awareness of what Type 1 truly is and become part of the greatest Christmas gift my child could ever receive- A CURE.