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Madelyn's 2nd Diaversary

A "diaversary" refers to the anniversary of the day someone was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

Today is Madelyn's second.

Two years ago, July 7, 2014, we were in a hospital room. Two years ago, we were learning how to draw insulin into a syringe, and inject our 3-year-old child for the first time. (It was the epitome of helplessness.) We learned how to test blood sugars and count carbs. And most of all, we learned that this was nothing we could have prevented. There was nothing we could have done. Madelyn's Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, a chronic illness for which there is no cure, and we've since accepted - it is what it is.

A "diaversary" recognizes the birth of this new lifestyle.

One filled with supplementation because Madelyn's immune system, for reasons unknown, destroyed her pancreas' beta cells. As her caretakers, Nick and I have to try to fulfill this failed role of her pancreas by guessing, as best as possible. The human body knows the precise amount of insulin necessary to digest its carb intake, and when Type 1 Diabetes kills that, we have to aim for "as best we can." As Madelyn grows, this is where our greatest challenges have presented themselves.

(We celebrate blood sugars that look like that!)

Today, Madelyn is on insulin pump therapy. She uses a CGM by Dexcom. She wears a fanny pack not as a fashion statement, but as a matter of necessity.

(A budding photographer!)

We are not recognizing her Diaversary because she has Diabetes.

We are instead, celebrating how she overcame.

How she, at 5 years old, celebrates her freedom when I remove her pump for swim class ...

How she overcomes the daily challenges, the unimaginable pain when an "event" occurs, the constant finger sticks she has seemingly grown immune to ... and yet, even at 5 years old, she sees all of this as just a "blip" she must endure before returning to play with her brother or friends.

My biggest goal throughout all of this, is to make sure her childhood is put first.

So we enroll her in swim lessons. We take family vacations. We board flights, and play, and do things as a family, and we test her in public, because this is never something she ought to be ashamed of.  She is enrolled and graduated from 4K. She serves as a flower girl, and attends her friends' birthday parties because HOW DARE something she cannot help hinder her from living life.

We celebrate and acknowledge Madelyn's diaversary, because she has handled all of this with more strength and grace than most adults I know.

We celebrate not the fact that she has diabetes, but the fact that she's here. And this is the second year of successful management, even with the challenges presented.

We celebrate because despite what this diagnosis means, Madelyn is here.

And I cannot think of a better reason to commemorate today.

She is 5 years old, and has already endured this disease for almost half her life, yet proving that the disease does not have her.

If you are looking for a hero - someone to believe in and celebrate and motivate you, then look no further than this little girl.

My biggest dream, is that soon, we will no longer celebrate a diaversary but instead - the date of her cure. I don't know what the cure will "look like," be it a final injection or a procedure or a transplant or a pill; but I do know ... and believe ... it is close. It has to be, when you consider how far diabetes treatments have come within the past 100 years.

Madelyn, since the day your 11-lb self was born, I knew you were here for a reason - to not only teach me humility, but to inspire others to live beyond their circumstances. And today, there is no greater reason to raise a cupcake (no frosting, because like her mother, she dislikes that part) and toast the resilience exhibited by this child.

Cheers to you!

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