We have had a lot of questions on the word choice for our blog. “Embrace Diabetes.” I suppose we must start with the definition of the word “embrace.” Dictionary.com defines embrace this way: 1. to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug. 2. to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly: to embrace an idea. 3. to avail oneself of: to embrace an opportunity. 4. to adopt (a profession, a religion, etc.) 5. to take in with the eye or the mind. 6. to encircle; surround; enclose. 7. to include or contain. Bear with me over the next few posts and let me break it down by each definition and see how we apply this verb or action to diabetes and our diabetic child.
“1. to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug.” This one is easy. Diabetes is something Ryan possesses. It is a part of his physical body . . . so much so, that it is hard to separate him from the disease because it influences or is influenced in and by every part of his life (eating, exercise, sleep, growth, stress, sickness, seasons, etc). When you look at Ryan, you don’t see it. It does not cause him any physical pain. But it is there – always there – trying, and too often succeeding, to affect his life. So when we love on, hug, kiss and hold our five-year old “miracle,” diabetes has no choice to take part in that affection. Furthermore, when Ryan is physically loved and “embraced,” there is security that takes away anxiety, that literally effects his sugar levels. A happy, worry-free diabetic child has an easier time controlling diabetes than an unhappy, anxious child.
“2. to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly: to embrace an idea.” I chuckled out loud at myself rewriting this definition; the words “gladly” and “eagerly” are much harder to swallow. Show of hands, please: How many of you parents or diabetics received the diagnosis with gladness? What? No one? And WE WERE NOT THE EXCEPTION! And in all honesty and vulnerability, I sat in some denial, particularly in the hospital days. Constant thoughts of “this cannot be happening” and “I can’t do this” and “how are we going to do this” all bombarded my mind. Satan was at his best those first days for sure. But it was in those weeks to follow that we had a choice. We could let that anger turn to bitterness and let it rule our lives forever and as a result cripple the care we were going to give Ryan and negatively influence the other boys too, or we could accept it (not necessarily gladly, but positively), make the best of it. Keeping our family as normal (a “new normal”) and happy as it was on December 16 (day before diagnosis). You CAN still do all the medical essentials to keep your diabetes under control and still be unwilling to accept it emotionally. We are actively choosing, and sometimes it’s a choice we have to make every day, to accept that diabetes is part of our life, part of our family and that’s okay because we CAN do this.