Friday, March 19, 2010

The Shaky Hand

I need to post about Steve's surprised birthday trip last weekend to Vegas but I couldn't let today go by without a post in honor of a person who means the world to me.

A year ago today my dear grandmother, Nonna passed away in her sleep after battling COPD. My mom rushed down to Mexico to be by her mother's side and was there when Nonna died as gracefully as she had lived.

Nonna and I had an incredibly special relationship. She was  a second mother to me. Nonna shared her love of all things Italian, cooking, learning, decorating, politics and history among many other things. She and I could spend hours on the phone just talking about anything and everything. She gave me the best advice.

In all honesty, this post is a lot harder than I thought it would be for me to write. Sadness is overwhelming and making it a little harder to breathe.

Nonna was a big part of my diabetes care.

The summer after my diagnosis Nonna took me and two of my cousins (we are the three eldest out of 7 grandchildren) to Rome for the summer. You see Rome was her favorite place on earth. After her divorce from my grandfather, Lito, she moved to Rome with my mom and aunt while my uncles stayed in Mexico. She didn't speak a lick of Italian but learned it while my mom and aunt were in school during the day. She learned to navigate her way around Rome by walking all over the city every day in her stilettos. When my cousins and I were old enough she wanted to share her love of Rome with us.

This was the first time I had been away from my parents for more than a night since I was diagnosed the fall before. I remember waiting for our flight to leave for Rome and I was accidentally served a regular coke instead of a diet coke. Of course Nonna was freaked out by my high blood sugars but we survived the long flight. Although I remember her testing me constantly. Where were CGMs then?!

While in Rome she carried around a big bag full of all my supplies including a scale. At every restaurant she would carefully measure my food at the table much to the embarrassment of myself and my cousins.  We managed just fine. Despite all the gellato I missed out on that trip!

At age 12 when I went on the insulin pump my mom was still putting the infusion sets for me. I had had a difficult time giving myself shots but finally learned. The bent-needle infusion set was too much for me to handle. Soon after I started the pump I went down to Mexico to visit Nonna for the summer. I remember sitting on the couch in the library/den and my mom was showing her how to set the pump up and change sites. I wiped the alcohol swamp on my abdomen and my mom handed the bent-needle infusion set to Nonna to put in me. Seeing the steel bent needle shaking in her hand set me over the edge and I snatched it away from her and stuck it in myself.

"You did it!" Nonna and my mom said.

Nonna's loving shaking hand has motivated me ever since.  I don't know where I would be had it not been for Nonna. Her shaking hand helped me take charge of my diabetes care. Words cannot express how much I love and miss her. She meant the world to me and I am so glad she is no longer suffering but I do miss her. A lot. 

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