It had already been an especially rough 2020, and Melody Martin was looking forward to her house-warming party on July 4th to relax a little. Instead, she spent the holiday adapting to the gut-punch of a T1D diagnosis. Maximus, her bouncy 2 year old – who loved pizza, sharks, dinosaurs, and Hot-Wheels cars – would now have to quickly learn to live with needles, finger pricks, and insulin.
It all started with the familiar symptoms: frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme fatigue and weakness. You know something is wrong, but what? In Melody’s case, she was already familiar with type 2 diabetes in the family, so she had a strong feeling about what the problem was.
“My first thought,” said Melody reliving the moment the doctor announced the diagnosis, “was why my child, and why me? I also was a little relieved because of the information I knew about diabetes, but it is crazy the strength I had to have for Maximus.” She continued, “The early days were some of the hardest days of my life, I think I cried every single day. At the same time I knew I had to do it. I had never been so exhausted before in my life.” But her family was right there to help. “My mother was my biggest supporter and strength, along with Maximus’ dad. Once we came home my mom came over every single day to check on us and to also start learning and practicing on how to care for Max.”
The ongoing pandemic that made life so difficult for all of us made dealing with the new diagnosis even harder. “Dealing with T1D during COVID has been hard but also an eye-opener at the same time. I’m always very cautious about where I take Max to protect him from getting sick, so we spend a lot of time at home, but I also have had to get creative as I don’t want to live in fear and hold Max back from doing fun things and activities.” But even in these tough times, Melody sees a silver lining. “This diagnosis has made me appreciate the small things in life. It makes me really appreciate my family and friends for all the support they have given.”
During the diabetes class at the hospital, Melody heard about JDRF and knew right away that she had to be a part of it. “I was hoping,” she said, “to find support from other T1D parents, and as the mom of a newly-diagnosed son, being able to ask what works best helps especially with a toddler T1D child.” But as much as she needed the support, she was even more eager to chip in and do her part to find a cure. She decided to join One Walk. And not just join, she became a team captain and hosted her own walk. As she looked back on her experience, she gushed, “My walk experience this year was amazing! This was our first year being a part of JDRF and I actually decided to host my own walk. The outpouring of support was amazing. I passed my fundraising goal and my mile walk goal. I can’t wait to be a part of the big walk.”
While she is focused on taking each day as it comes – learning, hoping and praying – she does have something to offer newly-diagnosed families, “I think I would first say, ‘yes this is hard, yes you are going to have daily melt downs,’ but know the load lightens in time. Don’t blame yourself for anything – it’s nothing you could have done to have changed this. Allow people to help, even though as a mother or parent you want to do it all because it’s your child. Try to take time for yourself. Ask questions when you don’t know something or feel like something is not right.” She concludes, “Pray and be thankful that you and your child will be ok.”