When I got diagnosed on March 6th, 2008, I was terrified. I was angry. I felt cheated. I was such a healthy person. The thought actually flew through my mind (selfishly, I know) that a gal like me didn't *deserve* such a disease.
Yup, I said it. Deserved.
No one deserves disease. No one asks for it. And autoimmune diseases certainly have a funny way of entering our lives---unexpectedly. Automatically. Unfair, to say the least. Deserved; never. That's like telling someone with multiple sclerosis or lupus that they somehow brought their body's demise upon themselves. Type 1 diabetes is no different. No one asks for or deserves to have their blessed little pancreas to crap out on them. Ever.
So here I am. "Surviving and thriving" as my friend Mattie, another relatively new type 1 and new mama exclaimed to me yesterday when I posted about my *celebration* day.
We are all lucky to be alive. But more than that, we are blessed to not merely exist with this disease, but also do so well with it. We live in a time when we can not only eat well with it, be active with it---but also have children with it.
And 3 weeks ago, I did just that.
I gave birth to my beautiful little son, my first child, the apple of my eye, with no problems at all. He was unaffected by my type 1 so much so that in a hospital birth setting, they barely brought it up. They let me continue to manage my type 1 all throughout the birth and the biggest deal was checking his blood sugar when he was delivered just to make sure he didn't have neonatal hypoglycemia. But he didn't. He didn't even go near the range for it. He's a healthy, happy boy.
3 years ago I was not thinking about having my first child. I was so focused on graduate studies that I was the type of gal that was all about putting off having kids until, quite literally (I now realize) the last minute. Considering all that I plan on doing with my professional goals, I most certainly would've been about 40 by the time we started our family. Hmmm. Kinda risking not being able to have a family by doing that!
I'm going on and on about all this because...well, type 1 has brought me a lot of surprising and frustrating issues to deal with in my life. But strangely enough, it's also brought me a lot of good surprises. Amazing ones. Gifts, really. An opening up inside myself that I used to think was just one of those "learning to be flexible" things. It's so much more than that; this opening up that I'm talking about. My life has changed in so many ways: from the learning to let go of so many silly worries, to the ability to flip my life-plans around for a while in order to have both a family and the profession I've worked so hard towards, to the heart-wrenching realization that I've been truly lucky to have access to the things I need to take care of myself with this disease...all the way to this ultimate joy: the baby boy sleeping cosily on my chest in his little wrap as I write this.
Type 1, I'd give you back in a heartbeat. But you also brought out in me a new kind of courage. A courage I can't have without you being around. And so, strangely enough, I thank you for the darkness, but most of all...the light.