“Lord, I’m scared. What about my girls. What about Evan, he is so young?”
“I am here, I will always be here. You are learning how to walk on water.”
It is July 28th, two days after my 32nd birthday. I lie in the hospital for the second night crying out to God. My new diagnosis of type 1 diabetes had not yet become a reality. I was focused on one thing; my husband is deployed thousands of miles away in Iraq and my children are alone. My husband and I met in high school in Monroe, Louisiana. I had known him for almost 16 years now and it seemed almost surreal that he was not by my side. I didn’t trust my body and I didn’t trust anyone else’s care. Trust was not something I gave easily, not even to my husband of 11 years.
Not but two months earlier life seemed so routine. After dropping my twin girls at school, aged 9, I diligently assumed my daily visit to the gym where I would run about 3 miles. Evan, my youngest at 4, loved the gym play place so he gladly became my biggest gym enthusiast. The treadmill was my best therapist; I could run through all the emotional stress of being a mom, wife of my devoted Soldier and Army volunteer. I loved being a military community volunteer, but this was my third deployment in five years and I could feel the effects of my responsibilities.
Slowly I could feel my muscles tighten in my neck and running became harder and harder. Soon I realized being tired and stressed-out was not my only need for concern. I was in intense pain and with each visit to the doctor I became more and more frustrated with the lack of solutions. I had been prescribed heavy pain pills, valium, and muscle relaxers. Along with my cocktail of drugs I also went to physical therapy; I stopped running and quickly lost 15 lbs. Even in this time of confusion and pain, I continued to do the best I could to take care of my precious brood and assumed the affects of stress in my life were the cause of my sudden aches and pains.
As you would expect, summer brings new neighbors to our military village here on Fort Carson, Colorado. I would see Carrie from time to time from my backyard; we would exchange a smile occasionally. Smiles turned to greetings and greetings turned to unannounced visits. Like I said before trust was not a word I readily used in my vocabulary. I didn’t entertain the idea of someone invading my space and quickly became annoyed, a symptom of being an only child I guess. Conversations with Carrie were confusing; she often repeated questions she had asked the day before. I also noticed she had a hard time remembering I had three children, even though all three kids rallied around me with each ring of the doorbell. Carrie began to awkwardly ask me about the medication I was on and frequently asked me to share with her. I did not feel comfortable with her easy way of shopping and from then on spoke with caution.
It was mid-day and the backyard had been over-used by our beloved 70lb female Boxer. Even though I was extremely tired, I felt it was time to clean up so not to offend my neighbors.
“Hi Steph, how are you feeling? I don’t want to offend you, but you look tired.”
“I’m okay, a little tired. I can’t see well either but the doctors say it’s a side effect of the muscle relaxers so I stopped taking them.”
“Honey” she said. “I know drugs and that’s not a side effect of the muscle relaxer.”
“Steph, are you diabetic? You should go get check out now! I’m worried for you.”
I thanked her for her concern and assured her I would be okay. I had previously had problems with hypoglycemia, only 6 months prior, and dismissed the possibility of being diabetic. I had been told many times by my primary care physician that I shouldn’t have been given a glucose meter, so I felt no need to be concerned. 430 was my glucose level, 430! If you’re not familiar with diabetes, normal is 70-120. I called a few friends; one to take me to the hospital and care of my son, and the other one to take care of my girls. By the time I was evaluated in emergency room, my blood sugar level was at 540.
Just recently I had a friend of mine ask questions about my experience in July. I told her my situation and her reply will forever stay in my mind. She said, “You’re lucky you didn’t have a heart attack, my mom was in the same situation and she had a heart attack.” Well I am not sure if I would have a heart attack because we probably have a few years between us but I do remember specifically one night feeling like I couldn’t breathe. The amount of medication in my system kept me pretty foggy but I woke feeling like I was in trouble. I started to walk around terrified and contemplated calling 911, but instead I started praying. “Please Lord, help me.” I did go back to sleep and later that day called the doctor to tell them I must have had an allergic reaction to Percocet. Looking back on the situation it could have been a different story; I choose to believe in my prayers.
Gods grace, Gods amazing grace is what kept me walking and talking at a blood glucose level of 540. God’s grace is displayed in the safety of his wings while I blindly drove my precious gifts to and from school. God’s grace is His Holy Spirit speaking though a neighbor despite my lack of trust in her. God’s grace is evident in his ability to heal a pinched nerve from the sugar build up in my muscles and the restoration of my eyesight in less than 48 hours. God’s grace is having not one but two friends at my house in 10 minutes to care for me and my children. Trust is going to sleep, not knowing if I’m going to wake up, because he has shown His grace.
Thanks to Elena, Mrs. Sandy, Mrs. Anne, my parents and the many other angels sent my way during this difficult time…