Lisa Hendel

When I was a young girl, I never really realized the responsibility my parents faced raising three children – three healthy children. The only issues we faced were uncomplicated everyday problems.

Seven years ago, the only “unknown” we faced was our daughter Samantha’s allergies. She had a severe reaction to legumes and latex. We thought this was serious. Little did we know the challenges we were about to face. Soon, our life was to be turned upside down and inside out. Six years ago, while vacationing in Puerto Rico, our daughter, Robyn, was rushed to the hospital with blood sugar readings in excess of 1000mg/dl; she was in ketoacidosis.

Our simple, happy-go-lucky life soon came to a standstill. Now, glucose meters, insulin syringes, carbohydrate counting, and high and low blood sugar controlled our lives. Once your child has been diagnosed with diabetes, the family is in shock. Then the shock starts to settle and you discover there are many roads, or therapies, you can follow. There will be times when you will feel lost and alone. However, in time, these feelings will subside and you will reclaim the life you once knew . . .with a few alterations. My daughter was only 6 years old when she was diagnosed, so we made adjustments day-by-day. Today, we continue to modify her daily intake of food, exercise and medications as we see fit.

Several people influenced how our family began to accept Robyn’s diagnosis. Our pediatrician, Dr. Harry Banschick offered us a great deal of information – he assisted us in making the first choices in the treatment of this disease. Our nurse educator, Jo Nuzzo, was one of the first people to meet with my family after the initial diagnosis. She helped us to remember that Robyn was a child first, a child with the condition of diabetes. This was our first step to acceptance. My brother-in-law Glenn, a member of the medical profession helped me to realize that while diabetes is serious, it is treatable . . .it can be controlled . . .and there are many other conditions which are not as successfully managed.

The diagnosis of diabetes is devastating. The dynamics of this disease affect not only the family, but the entire community. Simple pleasures no longer seem simple. However, over time, we acquire knowledge and with that knowledge, our instinct to survive, flourishes. We look forward to that very special day, when the cure for diabetes is discovered.

Until then, we will continue to battle it . . .one day at a time.

Lisa Hendel, mother of Samantha, Robyn, and Melanie