When the monitor at the urgent care simply read, “HIGH,” I knew in my gut that she had diabetes. That night at the hospital, my world flipped upside down and I thought it would be the hardest day of my life.
I was wrong.
After a few days in the hospital we were sent home. Piper went to her dad’s for a few days and I went home and shifted my whole entire life to rearrange it around life with diabetes: carb counting, snacks, insulin, ketones, teaching her preschool how to care for her.… It was a whirlwind of information, and I was trying not to drown.
That following Monday morning I returned to work, after taking five days off to be with my daughter in the hospital. Two hours later, my world was even more rattled when I was let go from my job. The heaviness of it all was enough to make me feel completely crushed. My sweet girl had just been diagnosed with a lifelong autoimmune disease, and now, as a single mom, I was without income.
The three months that I was unemployed were a blur of madness — learning how to handle lows, our first family trip with diabetes in tow, the added costs of diabetes supplies, the job interviews, the rejections, the late nights of battling stubborn highs.
Top left: Packing for our first trip with diabetes. Top right: My parents learning the ins and outs of diabetes care. Center left: Our first CGM insertion. Center right: Late-night low saved by the juice box. Bottom left: Sneaking in extra snuggles. Bottom right: Decompressing on the beach.
In November, after three months of unemployment, I scored a job at a local hotel, where they were very understanding of my situation at home, and they were very gracious on days where I needed to leave unexpectedly to help Piper. I felt like I had found a job that I loved and that would allow me to keep Piper’s health a priority. It was a wonderful place to be for five months — until the pandemic hit. And then on March 19, I heard the familiar words that I would again be without a job. This time, furloughed. But with the hotel industry really suffering, my furlough has been extended multiple times.
I pulled Piper from school and kept her home, both to keep her healthy and safe, and because it didn’t make sense to continue to pay for preschool without a job. When unemployment ran out, I opened up an Etsy shop to keep the bills paid. Piper started her kindergarten year virtually, so I had to find work where I could be home with her; using my creativity seemed like the best way to keep a roof over our heads.
Piper living her best life with type 1 diabetes.
The pandemic, of course, has brought its own stress, but it’s also been a gift. As a single parent who shares custody, life flies by and you feel like you can miss so much. Now I’ve had months of extra memories with Piper. She’s been so understanding about the changes in the world, and knows that we keep her home to keep her safe, since her diabetes could put her at risk. She gets infinitely braver every day, and most days, diabetes seems like an afterthought to her. She knows it’s just part of life now, and she tries her best to just enjoy her days without diabetes bringing her down.