It was a little over a year ago, July 20, 2012, when my husband (Nick) and I (Catrina) were told our baby girl, Arrabella, had type 1 diabetes. Arrabella was only 20 months old at the time of her diagnosis. We spent three long and stressful days in the hospital trying to put all the pieces together. Our daughter became our hero over those three days.
Arrabella had lived a pretty normal life…all 20 month of it. Looking back now we are sure she felt sick for months before we understood what was going on. After weeks of Bella having an insatiable thirst, wetting through her diapers almost as fast as we changed them, and her being upset all the time, Nick and I decided to make an emergency appointment with her doctors office. Arrabella got her very first finger stick to check her blood glucose level at that appointment. I remember her crying hard when the needle struck her tender tiny finger. She was brave though, and soon her tears stopped but mine were just getting ready to flow as the doctor came in and gave me the diagnosis. No, we weren’t nearly as brave as her…Bella had no idea what was about to happen to her, in a way we had no idea either but we knew more than she did.
We were told to get Arrabella to the emergency room as quickly as possible, the nurses there would be expecting her. We arrived and were taken back immediately and it all began. Nick and I watched as our little girl become a pin cushion. Two intravenous lines, multiple tries, and what seemed like endless blood sugar checks. Two nights with us sleeping in a tiny bed, in a cold room, with a nurse waking our baby every three hours to get vitals. Nick and I had a crash course in type 1 diabetes over those three days, it was a lot to take in. We were able to leave on the third day and in a way it was like taking home a newborn again, we had all new rules on how to care for our daughter.
Those first couple days home were hard. The reality that this disease wasn’t going away finally started to set in. As parents it was hard to deal with and many times we found ourselves crying out to God and asking "Why?", “Why us?”, “Why our daughter?”, “Why someone so young?”. That is when our trust in the Lord exploded. With the Lord walking beside us (and carrying us some of the way) we realized diabetes was just part of His plan for our little girl. We found our strength, and we prayed. Mostly we prayed for a cure.
We remember the family thanksgiving dinner, just four months following Arrabella’s diagnosis. We went around the dinner table and everyone expressed what they were thankful for. It came to me and the tears started well up in my eyes and a feeling of heaviness started to set on my chest as I thanked God for diabetes. I looked at Nick and I could see the familiar struggle between heartbreak and gratitude as tears started falling from his eyes. It was hard for both of us to vocally express the emotion we felt, it was hard to find words to even piece it all together. We didn’t want to praise God for giving us something that devastated our family and would change Bella’s life forever, but the raw truth was that we were thankful. This diagnosis taught us lessons that made us better parents, a better husband and wife, and overall better people.
We don’t know what God has planned for Arrabella but we do know her having diabetes will be a blessing to her. We are not saying there aren’t times when we doubt the Lord, when we fall back into the trap of asking “Why us?”. We are not saying there aren’t bad days, there are plenty of those. We ARE saying, to the person who is reading this, no matter what your battle is today (diabetes or other) there is a God who loves you and He will be there for you through your storm.
So there you have it, that is our story. We made it through the first year with great success. We have moved from Arrabella having multiple insulin injections daily to her being on pump therapy. Pump therapy allows us to only stick Arrabella with one needle every 2-3 days and we continue to check blood sugar roughly 8 times per day. We feel blessed to have the JDRF and we are grateful for all they do to work towards finding a cure for diabetes. We will never stop praying for a cure. We know curing diabetes is a huge thing to ask God for but we also know that our God is a mighty God.
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
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