My choice . . . I take the perspective that diabetes is a disease, a 24/7 disease, that my middle child has, will have for the rest of his life, but it is only a part of his body NOT who he is.
I must preface that the disease is different for everyone. Some do not react to insulin as easily as others. Trigger foods are different. Insulin management is harder for some than others. And when children tend to drop low in the night, well, there truthfully is nothing more scary. So understand that there are some true hardships about the disease and hard times tend to go in cycles.
So, I’m not being critical of those who share their sorrows with others or vent when it is so needed to process and get through and/or get perspective. I do it too. It’s not the words or conversations that make my heart weary . . . it’s the negative attitude and perspective. If I was looking for anger, bitterness and negativity regarding T1, I wouldn’t have to go very far.
Just like with the grieving of my miscarriages . . . I had a choice to make. The easier choice (which I took for a while) was to be angry and bitter at life and towards God. There was a six month period of time between miscarriage three and miscarriage four that I struggled with who I was, where I was with God, what I expected and how I was going to deal with life if God just said NO. It was hard. It wasn’t fair. But I had to make a choice, for Ethan, for Jason and for myself that I wasn’t going to live in the bitterness and anger.
I think living with diabetes requires a similar choice. Bitter or Better? I’m choosing better, not so much for me but for Ryan. I have some d-mom friends I share my heart with often and we have had a running conversation for a few weeks now about this very choice. If I hate diabetes every day in every way, there is a part of Ryan that I hate. If I am continuously voicing and living how frustrated I am with diabetes and how it makes life hard and almost unbearable sometimes, then Ryan grows up with a guilt complex for having the disease or worse, he grows up hating who he is. If I take on the attitude that life is too hard, everything is surrounded and mandated by diabetes and it is a huge weight and burden that sucks the life out of me . . . then what attitude do you think Ryan will assume?
I know our path thus far, seven months down the road, has been easy relatively speaking. But we have had our fair share of highs over the last six weeks. And the last few days have been sort of our initiation for scary lows and it’s been hard. And I’d give my life to change that for Ryan . . . MY LIFE! And I know that if we don’t manage his sugars, eat healthy, exercise regularly, and develop and maintain good sleeping habits there are consequences for Ryan’s little body. I know he is more susceptible to major health issues. But I choose not to dwell on those, I CAN’T or it would ruin me. I “cheat” and say yes to Sonic cream slushes when we are still on shots (not pumping yet) and I don’t give him an extra shot, just know we are going to play catch up. I give him double insulin at dinner at Steak ‘n Shake (a very unhealthy choice to begin with) so he can have his side by side strawberry/banana shake that he loves. I let him have the cupcake with icing at school when a mom brings in a birthday surprise to the classroom that was unexpected even if he has already had his snack. I don’t do it often, but I’m not going to let D steal his entire childhood. There are plenty of times I have to say no or redirect and sometimes I just say “YES” even if it’s not the wisest choice (and pray).
And I don’t want people to feel sorry for Ryan or our family because we live with D. I want people to understand so they see how strong Ryan is and praise him for it. I want them to be aware so we can raise money for research for a cure. I want people to know so they understand when I’m tired and just need to stay home and love on my d-love (Ryan) or my family because we’ve had a couple exhausting days. But more than anything in the world, I want people to look at Ryan to see Ryan, not a disease.
He is amazing. He has a bright future. D will ONLY stop Ryan when he chooses to let it stop him. So I need to make my choice now while he is young.
- I will have sleepless nights chasing ducks (lows) or beating away the sugar fairy (highs), but I will not hate D because it is part of Ryan.
- I will worry about him going to school and wonder if I have trained the nurse and teachers enough in case of emergency, but I will not hate D because it is part of Ryan.
- I will be anxious to let him spend the night away from me with my family, close friends or his friends when he gets older, but I will not hate D because it is a part of Ryan.
- I will be burdened with diabetes and how to manage it and teach him how to manage it to the point where it’s second nature for him, but I will not hate D because it is a part of Ryan.
- I will have my days full of tears and frustration and even anger but I will not stay there and I will not hate D because it is a part of Ryan.
- I will vent and complain to my family, friends and especially my d-moms because sometimes I will just have to, but I will BOUNCE and will not hate D because it is a part of Ryan.
And I will choose to remember, although at times it might be very hard, that God was not surprised on December 17, 2009. He has a plan and this was a part of His plan. I would not have chosen this for my Miracle baby but He did. And I must choose to accept that, take one day at a time, one small victory at a time, pray for strength for every day, focus on the positives, recognize the small blessings, and live life to its fullest . . . because that’s the life I want Ryan to lead, and he can . . . even with D.