Moments Matter

Staring Down Diabetes (A Repost)

Editor’s Note: The following post appeared on Clearly Kristal earlier this year. However, since November is American Diabetes Awareness Month, I wanted to reshare…

I worry about her. For good reason. My five-year-old still wets the bed. She seems tired. Could she have it?

No.

I’m just being a mother. But her cousin has it.

Courteney (far right) with her younger sister at the hospital soon after her diagnosis of Diabetes. It was also her birthday.

Courteney (far right) with her younger sister at the hospital soon after her diagnosis of Diabetes. It was also her birthday.

Probably for life.

This horrible, miserable disease named Type 1 Diabetes can develop at any age, but it is frequently diagnosed before adulthood. It accounts for about ten percent of all diabetes cases, and affects approximately one in every 400 to 500 children in the United States.

Why do I even worry?

As I’ve written previously, my niece, Courteney, battles type 1 diabetes. She has been found on more than one occasion in her bedroom unconscious.

Near death.

Scientists do not know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes, but they believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors are to blame.

Which is why I watch and worry. I Google key words about diabetes, scan data about genetic linkage, symptoms and studies every few months.

In my mind, I should not live in fear of this cruel disease. But fear grips my very soul. I sometimes lie awake at night in a sweat. My mind flashes to needles, blood and ice cold bedrooms…

Unexpected Prayers
This past week, I thought of my niece in the most unexpected way – while doing a return at the retailer T.J.Maxx. At the counter, I saw the circular-shaped donation card. The cashier explained the Give-a-dollar Campaign benefits Joslin Diabetes Center, the world’s largest diabetes research and clinical care organization (affiliated with Harvard Medical School).

I made my small donation, but I knew this was a sign of something more.

I hadn’t thought of diabetes in a few months. But I know my niece thinks of it every day.

IMG_5662As I wrote her name in black marker with a heart, tears filled my eyes. I prayed in this moment. I prayed for Courteney’s continued strength. I prayed for a cure.

I also recognized that it was her strength and courage that inspired me to now let go of my own fear.

Diabetes will not win. Fear will not prevail.

I love you, my dear, niece. You are the bravest girl I know.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.
 Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
 I will face my fear.
 I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
 And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
 Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
 Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert

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