The most awesome thing Grace has done since being diagnosed with diabetes?
She went to diabetes camp.
For a whole week.
And she was 8!
I wrote about our experience with Camp Victory, run by Setebaid Services, here in PA. I wrote about the pros and cons of Grace going to Camp. You can read about our drop off here. And then the grand finale, the pick up from camp, that's here.
You can read Grace's own thoughts about her week at camp here.
Camp has stayed with Grace since she went last summer. There isn't one week that goes by in this house that diabetes camp is not somehow mentioned or thought about. It's amazing the impact the week had on her. She loved every stinkin' minute of it. There was not one 'con' in her eyes. Even when she had to sit out of swimming for 15 minutes because of a low, not one regret. You know why? Cause on other days, she saw her friends sit out while they were low. And she knew it. She felt a giant sense of community and for once, she was not different. Not in the least. I think that's enlightening on so many levels.
She has great friends from camp too. Some we have met-up with since camp, the bond is that strong, even at 8 years old. I wrote about one of her friends, Lily and their meet up a few months back. It was lovely for so many reasons.
The pictures from camp are posted on her bedroom door. I found her once, a few weeks, ago, touching the picture and pointing to all her bunkmates. She knew each of their names. She knew if they had pumps or shots. She knew what they liked to eat and what they liked to play. She told me about lows and highs and swimming and campfires and funky Olympic games and arts and crafts and well, all of it. Just like that. One picture and it all came flooding back to her.
I knew sending her to camp would be good. I didn't know if she would miss me and our family. She did and that was normal. She survived a week in other people's care and that was both wonderful for her and for us. I slept for a full week. I regrouped. I didn't think about diabetes much for that week. If I am being honest, it felt really good. I missed her, but the week 'off duty' did wonders for my psyche, my body and my soul.
What camp did for Grace was profound, and it's effects linger on to this day and beyond. It gave her community. It gave her a sense that she is not alone in this world. It gave her confidence to try new things and to become more self-reliant. It gave her a sense of her future as a young woman with diabetes. It saved her from the aloneness that the D brings with it.
And that, my friend, is totally awesome.