Who is Abbie

Abbigail Rose Gunzel is the little bundle of joy who blessed our lives, the year after Wyatt was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

Just when we thought we couldn’t have any more children, God knew better.

She brings extra smiles, entertainment, and is loved by everyone, especially her big brother Wyatt, who told his mommy and daddy that he prayed and asked God for a baby sister.

Before

Abbie will never know what it was like for her big brother not to have diabetes. By the time she was born, Wyatt had been living with Type 1 for 10 months.

She sees him cry, watches him get shots every day (and thinks he’s brave because she still hates getting them once in a while for immunizations), sees him bleed from finger pokes, sees him act extra goofy when he’s high and fall down when he goes low.

She’ll never think any of that is abnormal and will always love him unconditionally. Abbie will accept all of this as just a normal day in her life with her big brother, and be grateful for all the love that he shows her, every day he is with her.

The Day Our World Stopped

For Abbie, although she hadn’t made her presence known, she was there with Mommy at the hospital and quietly listening to everything going on.

She felt how worried and scared everyone was and waited until things settled down a bit before she started making her Mommy have morning sickness.

In time, she would be someone that would make this little family even closer and give them all something to look forward too. She would help Wyatt not to feel alone in the world, and bring laughter and comfort to her family on hard days. Abbie would bring hope, love and joy to a hurting family and help them to smile again.

She would fulfill her namesake, “Abbigail – a Father’s Joy” and put the broken pieces of this special family back together.

The Hospital

In August, Abbie joined the Gunzel family and shared a miracle by having her cord blood banked. Hopefully, this will someday be able to be used to find a cure for her big brother, or if it’s needed if she ever gets Type 1.

Hospital visits at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, with doctor’s, endocrinologists, and at studies at Stanford, will just be part of life for her, as she follows right by her brother’s side to learn what her family needs to take care of him.

Maybe all of this early exposure to the medical field will have some impact on her future path. Either way, she is very empathetic to families who live every day with life threatening conditions, and says “Hi,” blows kisses, and waves, as a toddler, to everyone in the waiting room and everywhere her family travels.

Learning the Ropes

Abbie will know all about carbohydrate counting, blood sugar checking, nutritional tips and the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.

While her brother’s Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that makes him need insulin injections to help “tell the food where to go,” Type 2 Diabetes can be managed by diet and exercise.

We all know that healthy eating and exercise are good habits to follow anyway though, so we work to include that into our daily routine as well. She’s getting a head start on that by crawling around and getting into everything!

Our New . . . Life?

Life well…every day life is new when you’re 1!

Our little girl is learning, growing, and changing, every day, just as little babies do. We are prayerful that she won’t have Type 1 Diabetes too, but if she does, at least we all know what to watch for and how to manage it now.

She sees how hard her family works and that she always has her mommy or daddy with her and Wyatt, so that we can all take care of him. But, she gets the benefits of that too, and thinks it’s just great that we all get to spend so much time together.

Today

Today, Abbie is a Mama’s girl from getting to spend so much time with her Mommy over the last full year of her life. She is learning right along Wyatt’s side through home schooling and loves to try to read and jabber along while pointing to the pictures.

Today, Abbie is a healthy baby girl that besides teething hasn’t had any further medical complications.

Praise God!

Today, she is learning to walk, crawling around, and enjoys getting to make jet and airplane sounds playing with her big brother. She’s becoming a Daddy’s girl too, while Mommy is working out of town consulting and training, trying to earn additional money to help pay for Wyatt’s medical expenses.

Abbie gets to stay home with Mommy while Daddy works at the studio, or have either parent there while the other works, or awesome Grandma Mary or Papa Pete take care of them for a little while Mommy and Daddy work, or, she gets to help at the studio running around in her walker and greeting customers.

Either way, she is always with family and well taken care of. Today, she is one, enjoying life, one snack, one toy, and one nap at a time. Today, she is the supportive sister in a family living with Type 1 who loves to give hugs.

The Future?

Hopefully, Abbie will never have Type 1 Diabetes.

But, if she does, she will know how to manage it and have the love and support of her family and friends. She will work to help understand and help Type 1 Diabetics, because she loves her big brother and wants to help him any way she can.

She will continue to annually attend Bearskin Meadows Family Camp, sponsored by the Diabetic Youth Foundation, so that she can meet other families and in time, share her story and what it’s like living as a sister of a Type 1 Diabetic.

Abbie will grow up knowing it’s not the “stuff” that matters, its spending time with your family, praying together, playing together, and working to help others that will determine the quality of your life.

With God as her guide, the future is open for Abbie. She will have unique opportunities presented to her, because of the foundation of hope, change, and positive outlook to conquer any obstacle set before her, that her family’s example has set.

She will be a big part of helping to find a cure by supporting the JDRF and by helping with the foundation her family is creating to help other families “thrive, not just survive,” with Type 1 Diabetes.

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