Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Whenever I hear Maddison say "MOM" with a long pause following, I mentally prepare myself for the question to come. Today as Maddison and I were caring for the ducklings where she volunteers, she noticed one little duckling that isn't so "normal." I already know that this one duckling will probably not survive. He doesn't stand upright as he should. Alot of ducklings just don't survive.....this poor little guy isn't the strongest of the bunch. Anyway, if you stand up this duckling in a pile with his siblings, he is fine. Hoovered together, the other duckling provide him the support he needs to stand on his own. But, stand him up alone and he rolls over onto his back and can't get up.

Maddison: " you think he knows he will die?"
ME: "Probably not Maddie, he surely feels that he is normal and healthy."

Maddison: "Well, he is normal mom. Just because he has a disease doesn't mean he isn't normal"

Me: Silent

Maddison: "I know I'm normal too mom, but sometimes I don't FEEL normal, maybe in 50 years of Diabetes I will FEEL normal."

We sat quietly for a few minutes as we tried to encourage the little duckling to stand upright. Each time he would roll over and lay still. All I wanted to do was cry. I was mostly proud that Maddison KNOWS she is "normal" and that she spoke so bravely about her feelings and was willing to share them with me. I was enlightened by her outlook....KNOWING you are "normal" and feeling "normal" are two different stories. Maddison is very in tune with her inner feelings, even at her young age, though she is usually reluctant to share them. Maddison makes me proud, every single day for who she is and how she continues to see herself, despite feeling like the outsider sometimes.

On the drive home I started to think back to when I felt "normal" but sadly, I couldn't remember ever feeling normal since Diabetes invaded my life. Poking fingers, injecting insulin, counting carbs, carrying needles, tubing hanging from my body. Yeah. I dont feel normal at all. A purse filled with Juice, candy, Glucagon, vials of life sustaining liquid? Scars from infusion sets, sticky residue marks all over my waist? Sure, this is all normal for ME (and Maddison) but will it ever FEEL normal? I have a hard time believing that this life will ever FEEL normal. How can you feel normal when you are pale and shaky slurping down soda in a panic? Feel normal when you stab yourself with a new infusion set? Feel normal when UPS or FEDEX drops off packages every few months that contain pieces of you? Supplies that you cherish? I think not. As much as us "D" folks fall into a routine and habit of daily care that does in fact become normal, I can honestly say to date, I dont FEEL normal as a person. I dont think living this life will ever feel normal, and, thats okay. I still love myself. I don't try to hide my disease. I don't try to pretend I'm "normal" because if I did, we all know what the consequences could be. This new normal isn't so bad, its the feeling abnormal that really sucks, LOL. My deep thought for the day :)


Anonymous said...

Erin was dx'd at 8. If I suggest we find a support group for her with other kids with D (hard to find, even around here)she immediately comes back with the retort that she doesn't need to hang out with other kids with D, she wants to hang out with "normal" kids, LOL. So on some level, she does not feel normal, though she displaces the "abnormal" onto others. We did send her to D camp at 9, but it was too soon and she was very homesick. Refuses to go back because camp counselors would not let us speak to her and she was told she had to stick out the two weeks. I agree that this is not a normal way of life. What if you are having fun and just forget to check BGs every three or four hours? Could have a disaster on your hands. Although it does not have to take a long time to stop and check, you must be ever mindful. No, not "normal" for a child at all, much less an adult.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Your little Maddison is certainly wise beyond her years. What a gem.