Esme was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes just before her second birthday. Here, her mum Lora talks about coming to terms and making peace with Esme's disease...
Esme was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just before her second birthday. Here, her mum Lora talks about coming to terms and making peace with Esme's disease
"When Esme was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes we were completely heartbroken. It took weeks for me to come to terms with it and I still cry about it from time to time when we are having a tough day.
"When we rushed to hospital after the diagnosis I was in complete denial. I kept thinking they'd made a mistake - this couldn't be happening to my perfect little girl. I hoped that they would come in with the blood results and say she had a virus or something less serious that had caused her blood sugars to rise.
Read tips on how to reduce your child's sugar intake here
"I desperately wanted her to be perfectly healthy again. I didn't want her to have to deal with the condition. What really hurt was I knew her life would never be the same again - I knew that every day she would have to think before she ate, she would never be completely carefree, she would always have to count carbs and inject herself with insulin for the rest of her life with no breaks or holidays... it was a life-changing diagnosis.
"After getting home from the hospital, I turned to the internet for advice in the hope that there would be some miraculous cure. Unfortunately there isn't a cure for type 1 diabetes - it is a very real issue and so many people suffer from the condition.
Injections are our daily routine
"You really don't realise the extent of the disease until it affects somebody so close to you. I myself used to teach students about diabetes and the treatment needed to keep a type 1 diabetic alive. But it never really hit home until I myself was doing the injections, the finger pricks and getting up in the night to check blood sugar levels.
"We have gradually come to terms with the condition and the treatment has become part of our daily routine... Just like getting up in the morning and making breakfast and brushing your teeth is a routine, we now get up and check blood sugar, count the carbs in the breakfast bowl and inject the correct amount of insulin. Each day it gets easier and I'm so proud of Esme for how brave she has been through the whole process.
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"There have been tough times and we have all struggled at different points since the diagnosis. But we have helped each other through by remaining strong for each other when we have needed to. Between us all, as a family we are braver than ever before. Esme is an absolute pro with injections and finger pricks, we are more resilient, we are stronger and certainly healthier now that we are thinking more carefully about what we all eat as a family.
"These days there are still times I am upset and I think to myself, 'Why Esme?' And sometimes I wish I could turn back time and make it so I am the one that gets diabetes.
"But when I get down about it, I just have to snap out of it and remember how lucky we are to have the technology we have, so that she can live a long and healthy life. She is blessed in so many other ways - a great life here in Dubai, a loving family... I'm hopeful about the medical advancements on the horizon. All I want for her future is for her to be happy and confident enough to follow her dreams despite her illness. I'll be packing her bag and sending her on a gap year whether she likes it or not - despite all the medication she will need to take.
The strength of motherhood
"Being a mum is everything to me. When I held Esme in my arms for the first time, I felt complete, instantly content. I felt prouder in that moment than every other proud moment combined.
"When you become a mum you enter into this secret club where you now have a bond with all other mums, you have something in common so you chat in the supermarket queue, you stop in the street to coo over other children, you nod knowingly at each other when you are walking that screaming baby in the pram down the road trying to get them to sleep, because you know what they are going through mentally, physically, emotionally.
"And you see all the mums that you know differently from then on - your own mother, your friends who are mothers, your grandmothers... all the women who are part of the secret club, who should be celebrated for all the amazing things they do as part of being a mum."
Does your child have diabetes? Check out the 'Type 1 Diabetes Parents in Dubai' Facebook page for support and help