My best friend Amy Calvert has been brave enough to share her recent story of heartache after her oldest daughter Avery was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association reports thousands of parents in the US are devastated by the diagnosis as their kids go to battle every day against what’s also known as Juvenile Diabetes. Sadly her story is not uncommon. But by sharing it here, we hope other moms find comfort and community in knowing that they are not alone in their fight. Thank you Amy, and Avery, for letting me share your story with the fans of Motherhood in Hollywood.
Hardest day of my life….December 15th. What I thought was a normal visit to our pediatrician with my 7 yr old and 4 month old baby girls, turned into an ambulance ride, the ICU and a lot of tears.
So, rewind….my girls are never sick. Now, my newborn has only been with us a short while of course, but Avery, my 7 yr old, was healthy as can be. Great appetite, loves to play and overall a real girly girl. So, when we all got colds a few weeks back and hers lingered longer than ours, my paranoid side came out.
I kept asking her if she was okay. “STOP WORRYING MOM! I’M FINE”….I got that a lot. But this seemed different somehow. She was lethargic, and making frequent trips to the restroom. She wasn’t her usual bubbly self and my mom instinct kicked in. Something was wrong. She was not fine.
I took her to her pediatrician to get checked out and he knew right away there was an underlying problem. He told me she needed to be rushed to the hospital because this was more than just a cold. After a quick test, he determined her blood sugar levels were dangerously high and she need to be rushed to the hospital. It’s hard to describe what’s like sitting next to your child in an ambulance as she’s being rushed to the ER. But I tried to put on a brave face for Avery so she wouldn’t get scared. That’s what moms do. We sometimes have to put up a brave face for our children even when we are terrified inside.
As the ICU doctor sat down with me and my husband, I knew it wasn’t good. Type 1 Diabetes. WHAT??? NO!!! I YELLED…THIS IS CRAZY! NO ONE IN MY FAMILY HAS DIABETES! The he explained Avery was in DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis) meaning her cells couldn’t get the sugar they needed to give her energy because her pancreas stopped working. OK – from this moment on – it was all a blur. Words like “life-long disease,” “NO CURE,” even “death” were thrown at us. Those words haunted m
e… made me feel helpless. All I knew was my poor baby was really sick and I couldn’t do a thing about it.
But there was one thing I knew I could do. I turned to the only sure thing I know, Jesus Christ. I am a Christian. I am not perfect. I screw up a lot. But one thing I know is Jesus will never leave me, no matter what I’ve done, said or lived. I prayed like I’ve never prayed before. I promised God things I could never deliver on, but I didn’t care. I knew I needed HIM. While deep in prayer, I began to feel comforted and see things start to change. Avery did get through DKA; we were released 4 days later – to begin a NEW way of life. Little did we know just how much our lives would change after this diagnosis.
For those who may not be familiar, Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by what you eat and drink. I didn’t give my child too much juice or chocolate and no, health foods and supplements cannot fix this problem. This is an auto-immune disease in which her pancreas STOPS working and won’t start back up – EVER.
As you can tell – I’m fed up with people sending me their cure-alls. Trust me – if I could fix this I WOULD! Now, she faces a lifetime of Insulin with almost every food and drink she consumes. Plus, finger pricks 5-10 times a day and night to test her sugars. For no reason, Avery can have extremely high sugars and dangerously low sugars. We carry a pen that would save her from death if needed within 15 minutes. This is real and this is horrible – BUT IT DOESN’T MEAN LIFE IS OVER!
To be honest, I’m sad. I cry a lot. I’m angry. I worry – MORE THAN EVER. But I trust. I have to. I have to trust that God is in control and he loves my babies more than I could ever love them. I can’t be with them 24/7. I work a job that requires me 24/7. I run a television network that can be seen by 27 million people. I’m trying to raise 2 children, have a good marriage and survive! It’s not easy and there are days I think about getting in my car and driving…..and not stopping. (I feel really bad when I consider this!) But I don’t because my kids need me and no disease in the world will come between us.
Final thought….being a mom is hard work. It doesn’t matter if you work outside the home, or work in your home. If you have one child or 10! If your child is healthy or really sick. Being a mom is a true BLESSING and often a small curse. But I wouldn’t change any of it.
I’m grateful, thankful and humbled by the chance to raise two strong, world-changers! My girls will be that. They will make this world a better place. I know, because they make my world better every day. We will find a way to adapt to our new life, because Avery deserves that. As a parent I put on a brave face. But my daughter is the definition of bravery.
Kudos to all you Moms! If you haven’t been told lately – YOU ROCK…what you do is THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB AROUND!