Last year we were Team Boogie for Bella! This year we are Team Lumps of Sugar! Woo Hoo!
Most of you are familiar with Bella's daily struggles with T1 diabetes. She was diagnosed on Christmas Eve when she was 2 years old, spent 24 hours in ICU at LeBonheur while we anxiously waited for her to become alert and prayed for no signs of brain damage, and then spent 3 additional days there as doctors and nurses continued to work at getting her disease under control. And of course we had to learn how to take care of her, too. Her blood sugar was 900 when she was diagnosed, and it shouldn't have been much over 80 - just to give you an idea of how sick she was.
Last October, Bella graduated from receiving four shots of insulin every day to wearing a pump. That same month Bella had a seizure in the night because her sugar dropped from almost 500 to 24 in an hour and a half. I had to use the glucagon to stabilize her, and we also had to call an ambulance for the second time since her diagnosis.
Last December, Bella received a Christmas miracle. I bet you already know who I'm talking about!!! Dana has been a blessing to Bella and our family in so many ways. Bella hasn't had nearly as many lows since Dana arrived, and she certainly hasn't had another seizure! Dana almost always alerts us to a dropping blood sugar in time for us to head it off with food and/or drink. We love our Dana!
I can't even begin to imagine where we'd be without our family and friends! You have been there for me while I cried, vented, feared for my daughter's health and/or life, and allowed me to have complete and total emotional and/or angry melt downs. You have laughed with me at the silly things that have happened and rejoiced with me over our blessings. You have supported Dana and her purpose in Bella's life. You have been there for Ainslee when we were unable to take care of her when Bella was sick and in the hospital. You have been advocates for my daughter and her service dog. Some of you I may not be as close to, but please know that your prayers have sustained us time and again. There have been times when I just couldn't pray because I was too scared, but knowing that you were praying comforted me.
Josh can say all the same things about his friends and family. His co-workers and the Coopers have supported Bella and Josh every step of the way. The children at Pleasant Hill Elementary raised $5,000 to purchase Dana for Bella. Our church family has prayed for Bella and our family, and every Sunday people give us words of encouragement. It's just amazing the acts of kindness we've received. I could go on and on. :)
I believe with every ounce of my being that the JDRF will be the ones to find the cure for T1 diabetes. And I even think it'll happen by the time Bella is an adult. Sitting here thinking of what her life could be like one day gives me the chills! No more finger pricks 15 plus times a day, ketones, hospitals, thyroid disease (thanks T1!), pump site changes, IV needles, upset tummy from lows, headaches from highs, etc., etc., etc. No more worries from Mommy and Daddy for Bella's future: Will she live a long life? Will she be able to carry her own children? Will she have internal organ damage from so many high blood sugar levels as a child? Will her body become insulin resistant? Will people always stare at her and whisper when she's having her sugar checked? How many battles will we have to fight for Bella's equal rights? And the list continues. It may seem a little much to some of you, but these are the realities for Bella and for me as her mother. The truth is that children die every single day from T1 diabetes. Every. Single. Day. Did you know that? I didn't before I had to know.
By supporting Bella and the JDRF, you are helping to find a cure so that one day not one more parent loses a child to this unforgiving disease. Please consider joining Lumps of Sugar for walk day and/or donating to Bella's team on her behalf. (We'll also be selling t-shirts as a team fundraiser. I'll post a picture on Facebook as soon as I have the design.) As a team member, you may also raise money towards our team goal.
Walk day was fun last year, but we're going to go all the way this year!! We'll have a tent set up with refreshments and goodies and who knows what else!?!
Love to you all!
P.S. Both my Facebook page and the Lumps of Sugar page tell more stories of Bella's life since her diagnosis. Please visit both pages if you'd like to know more. :)
P.S.S. The interview below is from last year. I'm going to ask her the same questions this year and I'll post her responses. I can't wait to see what Isabella Grace Copeland, MD has to say this year. LOL!
Interview with Bella, Fall 2011
Bella: My bear has diabetes.
Mommy: Do you like having diabetes?
Bella: Yes, because Boogie's my baby. (Mommy - LOL!)
Mommy: What's "bad" about Bella having diabetes?
Bella: I'm getting low and high.
Mommy: What happens when you get low?
Bella: I eat skittles. My tummy hurts.
Mommy: What about when you get high?
Bella: I eat turkey. My head hurts.
Mommy: What do you think about getting your shots?
Bella: It don't hurt!
Nommy: What else do you think about diabetes?
Bella: That's all.
Update September 2013
Bella still fights her battle like a champion every day! She started kindergarten this year without her precious Dana, who died last spring unexpectedly. Bella says she doesn't want a new dog, she just wants Dana back. Our little house still feels empy without her!
Bella had two hopsital stays last spring and one just after school started this year due to stomach viruses. It's always scary when she gets sick enough to be hosptilaized, and I can only cling to the hope that one day there will be a cure for my little girl. Every once in a while she asks why she has to have diabetes or why can't she just be like Ainslee and not have to "get insluin." These are trying moments because I feel the same way at times! But I do my best to expalin what diabetes is and that she is the bravest little girl I've ever known.
Speaking of Ainslee, she is an amazing big sister! Just this past week, I passed Bella's meter and "poker" to her in the back seat and told her to check her sugar. She was dozing, so I heard Ainslee say, "I'll do it for you." I turned my rear-view mirror and watched as Ainslee cleaned Bella's finger, poked it, and put blood on the meter. Then she wiped the blood off Bella's finger and read the numbers from the meter to me. I had no idea she could even check Bella's sugar!! I'll never forget that moment and the tenderness that my seven-year-old had towards her little sister.
Despite sleepless nights, endless finger pokes, ketones, hosptial stays, and crazy blood sugar levels, I'm proud to be the mommy to such a strong little girl. Your support of Bella and our family means everything to us!! We'd love to see you at the walk on the 5th!
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