December 2, 2006 is the day we got the phone call that changed everything.
"You need to go to the hospital," said our pediatrician on a sunny Saturday morning. Benny hadn't been feeling well for weeks. Our funny, curious toddler had become thirsty, cranky and tired. I do remember that morning, though, he was in great spirits and didn't seem sick at all.
"Are you sure?" I remember asking, looking at my 23 months old jumping and running all over our playroom. A fasting blood glucose test on Monday had come back normal (85) but now my doctor was telling me the blood draw they did later in the week showed there was way too much sugar in Benny's body. There probably had been for weeks or even months. We'd soon be told our little boy had type 1 diabetes.
Benny was admitted Saturday and I stayed with him that first night; Slade stayed home with our daughter. The next day we decided to switch, and I took Lea to a long-planned outing with our congregation at WBT's Holiday on Ice skating rink. I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to leave the hospital, but as soon as we arrived, I knew it was.
I can't describe how much our friends' hugs, smiles, tears and support meant. No one knew exactly what we were going through or what Benny's diagnosis meant (frankly, neither did we at that point!), but skating around with my five-year-old daughter, falling a couple of times and then drinking hot chocolate was a much needed reminder of all the good stuff.
We don't really mark this day – if you ask Benny he'll tell you he was born with diabetes. I'm sure as he gets older he'll want to know the real story, but there's no need to correct him now. Coincidentally, we'll be spending our diabetes anniverary celebrating Chanukah with the same folks who were there for us four years ago.
My almost six-year-old will be running around with all the other kids - playing, laughing, eating latkes and chocolate gelt (9 carbs per bag!) and enjoying the party. Of course, we'll also be testing and counting and bolusing, and we never go anywhere without our diabetes kit. But we'll light the Chanukah lights, open presents and indulge Benny's newly discovered love for Star Wars and Legos.
Four years later, a reminder that while everything changed, nothing really did.
Need to mention, I'll be at a local authors' event Sunday in Concord. Since my book benefits Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, it's a nice way for me to spend part of our "diaversary" weekend. Hope some of you can meet me out there!