This is YaYa last night, going to her High-school graduation prom.
This is us when she was a baby. Top left with my son, bottom left with her mum and my boy and bottom right with me and Honey-bear (I’m not the furry one).
This is her the day she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (2012). Still smiling, happy to be feeling better than she had felt for the last 16 hours.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system mistakenly turning on itself, destroying beta cells within the pancreas and removing the body’s ability to produce insulin. Insulin allows the body to process sugar to create energy – without insulin, the body literally starves as it cannot process food. – See more at: http://www.jdrf.org.au/what-is-type-1-diabetes#sthash.yvjpX1Ga.dpuf
Life was never the same, for any of us but in order of impact it goes YaYa, her mum, her little brother then the rest of us. Type 1 Diabetes sucks and when you get it as an early teen, well crap!
In case you are unaware, the years between 12 and 18-19 encompass intense challenges a girl must transcend and having worked a lot in different fields with teens and having many in my life, I can tell you it is much more intense than ever; at least in Australia. (It’s hard for boys too in different ways…though body image is gaining.)
Through the teen years a girl must suffer the agony of body image, unworthiness, not belonging and body image.
This is in a society where parents are busy, drugs and alcohol are everywhere, adults won’t talk honestly, and the world as far as peace and the environment seem to be headed to the crap hole (at least that’s what the media tells them).
But everyone praises a ‘beautiful woman’.
Life had already been troublesome for my dearest god-daughter, but the diabetes came in like a raging fire-breathing dragon, shattering the already tenuous hold she had on life as a fragile soul.
If you dear reader think that if she just had her injections and followed the rules all would be good then all I can say is that I too shared your ignorance even as a Nurse. I think of all the times I cheerfully tried to convince clients that ‘if you just take your insulin all will be well’. I’m seriously surprised I never got smacked in the face. I can only think they forgave me because they knew I wasn’t judging, just wanted them to be healthy physically and emotionally.
YaYa taught me what a turkey I had been. And what it was truly like to have this fricken disease come and change life forever. But coping it as a teen??? I cannot even think of a word that describes the emotional devastation as it so directly relates to those things I mentioned before.
Body image, unworthiness, not belonging and oh my god body image! Dearest adults, whether we get it or not body image is an essential part of the majority of teen girls self-worth and their tipping point is fragile indeed. We need to somehow change it as it is now infecting boys as well and nothing done so far has worked. Anyway…
Words are useless in face of the trauma experienced by my dearest god-daughter along with her mum and bro and, well everyone who loves her over the last five years. Nevertheless this is a story of survival and courage…
This is my god-daughter yesterday as she graduated from high school and on top of that received a special award for mathematics.
I need her to know in multiple ways how amazing and courageous I think she has been, how awesome it is that despite all the challenges she graduated and with an award and how much I like her brain, her sense of humor, her kindness and her inner sweetness.
YaYa still struggles with all the challenges life has given her. I hope she understands that any scars of any origin she has gained up to now only stand testament to her courage. And understands that life will only get better if she continues to try and to put one foot in front of the other.
Mostly I want her to know how very deeply I love her and how no matter where I am I will literally always come if she needs me. Fact is she rocks! Her perceived ‘failures’ are her strengths as she grows and learns. And yesterday…Awesome! Tomorrow…can’t wait!!!