My name is Julie Chetney and I hope you will read WHY I would possibly even consider running 26 miles this October in the Marine Corps Marathon. I am a Mother to four great amazing kids. And like most Mothers, I tell them we are blessed with what God has given us everyday--- for our family--- even if it's the struggles day in and day out with Type 1 Diabetes.
My 12 year old son has had T1D since 2 years old, and my 13 year old daughter has had it since age 10. Usually when I do anything difficult in life I think about these two kids of mine and how whatever I am faced with, it's nothing compared to what they have to endure for the rest of their lives. So---the challenge of running in this Marathon will be no different. Since I decided I wanted to do this, the opportunity has presented that I can also help the people who have helped our family for the past 10 years; The Joslin Diabetes Center. Let me tell you what they have done to pretty much keep my children alive.
The medical professionals at Joslin have been part of our lives since February 2004 when they showed up at the hospital room where my son was recently released from ICU due to high blood sugars where we almost lost him. Yes, we really almost lost him to a blood sugar that was over 1000! Joslin came in and helped my husband Brian and I --- socially, emotionally, and medically through this tragic time of diagnosis. Although we were relieved he was medically stable, we were frightened about what the future would bring with T1D.
Quite frankly, were in shock. We were scared, uncertain, depressed, angry… Joslin professionals helped us through it all. They were the ones who showed up that day at the hospital and helped us believe, and gain the confidence that we needed to take care of our baby. They were the ones who gave us the knowledge to stick needles into our baby 4-5 times a day and stick those little fingers up to 10 times a day. They were the ones who helped us get our baby healthy again.
Over the years, the Joslin professionals have fielded many late night calls when we were uncertain what to do when we had a sick diabetic child, or when we couldn’t get sugars down, or when the stomach bug hit a household of 6 and two diabetic kids couldn't keep a cup of juice down.
As my baby grew older and my daughter was then diagnosed. Joslin helped us understand how to cope with what I referred to as “getting struck by lightning twice.” Although it was a traumatic time for us, it was especially hard on my 10 year old daughter who knew exactly what it all meant given she had seen her younger brother and his struggles for years. Now she was the one scared, uncertain, depressed and very angry.
Joslin helped her to be independent, gave her the tools and confidence that she needed to get healthy and maintain the lifestyle that she needed to live with diabetes. Joslin helped her to accept her diagnosis and maintain a "normal" life as she has known it.
Joslin is also the place where we were trained to use the insulin pump (twice). Joslin is where we accessed dieticians who helped us with carb counting and diabetic meal planning (twice). And recently--- has become the strong voice to my now older children who are nearing the difficult teenage years and don’t want to listen to their parents... this is a ongoing effort every visit to Joslin.
Recently, my other two children (ages 3 and 10) were able to participate in a study through the Joslin center and the University Hospital that looked into the sibling connections to Type 1 diabetes as well. While we anxiously awaited to find out if they too had the T1D anti-bodies, we are relieved to say "lightning has NOT struck again."
My journey with the Joslin Center continues and I know they are a phone call away if I ever need support with my children. I continuously feel grateful that they have a center 45 minutes from our home and have them as the most important medical professionals in my children’s lives.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and as you can see, although running 26 miles will not be an easy task, it is this story, and the struggles of my two kids that will get me to the finish line. If you are able, please consider donating to my cause and supporting this very important medical center in our community.
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