Hero: man admired for brave deeds, noble qualities, etc. My hero is a 5’2, 11 year old boy. His name is Joey, he is my youngest child. Let me tell you about him.
He was born 3 weeks early because I had toxemia late in my pregnancy. I was hospitalized on April 20th, 2001, with very high blood pressure. My daughter Jenny was engaged 2 years earlier, when she got engaged, I remember her saying: “now mom, don’t get pregnant right before the wedding.” Yep, you guessed it. Nine months before her wedding, I found out that I was expecting a baby. In my defense, we had been trying to give Tony a “brother or sister his own age.” He always asked why his brother and sister were so much older than him, and would say: “when am I going to get a brother or sister my own age to play with?”
So, I find out that I’m pregnant, the really crazy thing is that I found out the weekend of my son John’s wedding. My parents were here for the wedding, such an exciting time. Joe and I were grocery shopping and for some reason I was drawn to the oranges I’m not typically an orange eater, so when Joe saw that I had two bags in the cart, he said: “are you pregnant?” We decided then and there to get a pregnancy test, and sure enough, it was positive.
Now we really had something to celebrate, a wedding, a baby on the way, and another wedding in nine months.
So, it’s April 20th, my daughter’s wedding was on May 5. Not a good time to be admitted to the hospital, I had my parents coming to stay with us, I had so much to do in preparation for my only daughter’s wedding. When the Dr. told me that I wasn’t going to be released for the wedding because it was to dangerous, I asked him to deliver Joey. He agreed that after 1 week if I wasn’t geting better, it would be better for Joey if he was delivered.
It’s Friday, exactly one week before the wedding, the Dr. gives me the news that Joey needed to be delivered. I had him on April 27th, 2001. My beautiful little 8’0 oz, 21 inch baby boy was born. On Sunday, I was ready to get out of that hospital and get home. The Dr. begged me to stay for a few more days, my skin tone was still yellow, he was afraid I’d do to much, but I needed to get home.
I never expected to have a 1 week old in the stroller behind me, in the reception line of my daughter’s wedding, but my life has never been orthodox.
From the minute Joey was born, I knew he was special. He loved his mommy and daddy, and didn’t take to anyone else. We never left him with anyone.
He was a baby when Tony started to play soccer, Joe and I were his coaches, and as I’d run up and down the soccer field, Joey would be on my hip! By the time he was 5 he was such a good soccer player. He was faster than all the other kids, and his foot control was unbelievable for his age.
Joey was diagnosed with type 1 on Sunday, May 10th, 2009, it was Mother’s Day. On Monday we took him to his Pediatrician, by Tuesday we were at Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic, learning how to count carbs and dose insulin. By Wednesday afternoon, the day of his Spring concert, which he didn’t want to miss because he said “I worked hard learning all those words” he was back at school.
Joey was in 2nd grade, I asked him what we should tell his classmates about the diagnosis. I mean, how much can 2nd graders understand about diabetes? He said “let’s read the book that I got from the clinic, about Rufus, the Teddy Bear with Type 1 diabetes.” So, that’s what we did. We took Rufus and the book to school, read it to his classmates, showed them his test kit, and even gave them a demonstration. We took questions afterwards, really great questions by the kids. From that day forward, he was just another 2nd grader, that had to go to the office before lunch. It was the bravest thing I had ever seen an 8 yr old do. I cried for days thinking about him putting himself out there like he did. Joey has a lot of friends, I admire him.
That same year, 2 months after his diagnosis, he was named Player of the Year from his baseball league, not team, league. His coaches voted for him because in-spite of the huge change in his life, he never missed a practice or a game, and kept a fantastic attitude all season. He wasn’t the best baseball player, but he sure wasn’t going to let type 1 diabetes interfere with his trying to be the best.
This positive, encouraging attitude is who Joey is. He thinks he will help find the cure one day, I believe he will. There is a lot to be afraid of when it comes to type 1 diabetes. But my son isn’t going to let it stop him from doing what he wants to do, or who he wants to be. Who that is, is my hero.
Joey now plays football for his favorite team, he plays basketball and runs track, and is in Forensics’. He lives his life to the fullest everyday. Sure he’s tired after being pricked and prodded at 2:00 a.m., and then again at 4:00 a.m. but he never lets it show. He has a sense of humor that keeps us all laughing, and a heart that will melt yours. He’s my son. My hero.
This picture is taken right before Joey puts up a 3 pointer, he made it, I never doubted he could.