Most Wednesdays, a special needs mom or a military spouse small business owner will be profiled on Look@Her. These are very special, inspiring and hard-working women. I am honored to be able to recognize them for being wonderful mothers, wives and role models.
- Name: Michelle W.
- Spouse: Married for 12 years to Paul
- Children: 1, Cooper (3 years old)
- Current Location: Charlotte, NC
- Michelle works in television and film production as a Producer and Assistant Director
- Michelle has a M.A. in Mass Media Studies from the University of GA
- Michelle has a wonderful blog The New Normal that chronicles her family’s special needs journey and provides information about Type 1 Diabetes
We have weathered a storm. I feel like a house that’s gone through a hurricane and been beaten with 100 mph winds for a few hours. The wind eventually subsides, the storm passes, but it takes a while for the house to return to “normal.” The storm has passed. We are as adjusted as we’ll ever be, but we still aren’t quite what we were before. In many ways, we’re stronger. Now we know storms don’t knock us down. But we’re still fragile. Still not quite on firm footing. We’re getting there. – Michelle W.
What are your child’s special needs? Type 1 Diabetes
How do you advocate for your child? We openly share our journey through Cooper’s website and look forward to being more and more involved with JDRF as Cooper gets older.
Share your journey as a special needs mom: Cooper was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes after being sick for about 10 days with what we thought was a viral infection. We were completely shocked by the diagnosis and spent four days in the hospital, getting him healthy and learning about the changes we’d be making in our daily life.
Type 1 Diabetes is an auto-immune disease, where your immune system gets confused and attacks the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin. Because your body needs insulin to release the sugars in your blood, Type 1 diabetics have to get insulin from an external source. For about a year after Cooper’s diagnosis, we were on injections. Any time Cooper ate, he got a shot of insulin.
In August 2012, we moved to an insulin pump that he wears all the time. It is programmed with his settings, and we now simply punch in his blood sugar reading and the number of carbs he ate, and the pump automatically calculates how much insulin he needs and delivers it. No more shots! The pump has improved our life and the quality of Cooper’s life greatly!
- Read more about Cooper’s initial diagnosis (had me in tears) Welcome to the new normal…
What has been the greatest difficulty you have faced in parenting a child with special needs? One of our big challenges is childcare. We are very fortunate to have friends and family and a church community who support us and go above and beyond the call of duty. But asking someone to not just care for your child’s basic needs, but count carbs and manage insulin dosages is a lot. This is much easier now that we’re on an insulin pump, but there’s still a bit of training involved for the caretaker.
What advice would you give other special needs parents? We certainly feel angry or upset sometimes that Cooper has Type 1 Diabetes and that this will be a reality for the rest of his life (until he’s healed or there’s a cure!). But we make a conscious effort not to BE angry or upset. We don’t live our life harboring those feelings. There’s such a range of emotions that come with a serious diagnosis, but we have found a way to be thankful for the silver linings and not focus on the clouds as much. I’m passionate about encouraging people who are going through hard times to feel the emotions they need to feel, but BE positive and grateful and step confidently up to the challenge.
Thanks to Michelle W. for sharing her story! Please visit her blog The New Normal and leave some love and tell her I sent you her way!
If you are a special needs mom or a military spouse business owner, I want to profile YOU on Look@Her please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the questionnaire and more information.
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