Haylee and Lilee: Together We Will Make a Difference in the Lives of Diabetics

sisters with type 1 diabetes

My family's journey began May 2, 2011 when my eldest daughter Haylee was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I was familiar with some of the symptoms because several of my family members are Type 2 Diabetics. We grew concerned with Haylee's symptoms when they continued to get worse and not better. After the Doctor checked her over and ran a few tests it was determined Haylee needed to head to the Emerge to begin insulin. We knew at that moment life would change but we did not know how drastic. From the moment we arrived at the hospital we were comforted by several members of the LHSC team. Slowly we were eased into the realization that our new "normal" is far from the "normal" we once knew. Our lives had turned into glucose monitoring, carb counting, insulin injections, sleepless nights, anxiety, confusion, financial stress and the feeling of being defeated by this unwanted member into our family. This new member would be Type 1 Diabetes. 

We transitioned into our new routine, new life and jumped with both feet straight in. From day 1, my daughter has taught me about strength and courage. I needed this from her as I myself crumbled inside. This was not what I had signed up for being a Mom. This is not how the fairy tale ends in any Disney books I read. This is not what I ever thought raising a child would entail. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be standing in front of my child with her crying hysterically begging me not to give her the next injection. "Mommy please can we just skip this one?" "Mommy I don't want anymore needles today!" "Mommy make it go away!"

There is no bartering. 

Diabetes does not give you time off.

There are no choices and as her Mom all I can do is listen and continue giving injections because I know if I don't my daughter will die. Many nights I have cried myself to sleep feeling helpless and praying that tomorrow will be a better day. 

Over the next 3 1/2 years, with determination and perseverance, we were winning. Team Haylee was not letting Diabetes rule our lives. We had a few ups and downs but overall Haylee was healthy and strong. Haylee was doing so well she fast tracked to her Animus Ping Pump and life slowly began to feel like our "old" life. What a fantastic idea! I loved the creator of the pump and I loved all of the people who tested it during trials and made the pump possible. Haylee became more confident and stronger again. More time to celebrate and again, Team Haylee was winning. Life was looking so great and nothing could bring us down!

Speed ahead to February 16, 2015. I was at work on the holiday known as Family Day and my children were with their father. My second daughter had been showing some signs and symptoms but they were different than Haylee's. Her symptoms ran parallel to her involvement in gymnastics and being busy with school activities. Family Day is supposed to be about family, building memories and celebrating. Not this year. This year it was far from that. 

Lilee and her Dad decided to check her glucose to rule out the chances of Diabetes....well rule out is not what happened. As soon as her glucose reading popped up he called and advised Lilee was reading in the high 20's. There was no mistaking that the evil disease has now again invited itself back into our home. We knew what was to come and went to the Emergency room. We've been down this road. We knew what to expect. We knew the bumpy dark road ahead. All was confirmed with tests at LHSC and so we began our second journey. 

This time Haylee and Lilee both showed me what courage and strength was. The anger and feeling of defeat was more than I could handle. The feeling of being a genetic failure was so heavy on my shoulders. How could my body have failed my children and allowed this relentless disease to enter them. I wanted answers and I need to know why?? There are only so many questions you can ask until the final answer is "we really don't know". How can that be the answer....that answer is not good enough. In this day and age we need to know why!

This spring I will be walking more than 1500 kms to raise awareness about Diabetes and raise funds for research for a cure. I have partnered up with the Canadian Diabetes Association and together we will make a difference in the lives of diabetics. So very excited to see what the future holds for research and a cure for Diabetes :)