Monday, October 5, 2009

An optimistic view

I started this blog in order to try to educate people on what Type 1 Diabetes really is. I didn't know what Type 1 Diabetes was until it was forced upon our family. How could others who weren't affected know? I found it very frustrating when friends didn't get it. I found it impossible to explain how Type 1 affects our day to day life in a simple conversation. I wanted to share specific details on what we go through every minute of every day in order to keep Adele alive and give her the appearance of health. I wanted more people to realize the severity of the chronic disease and the long term effects that it has on it's sufferers. That is still the main goal of the blog.
But... I have also been receiving feedback from families who already know what it's like to play the Type 1 game since they've been chosen as players as well. Some tell me that this blog makes them feel less alone knowing that we're going through the same thing. I am happy that I can help them, even in a very small way, and give them hope. Today's entry is for these people. I hope it inspires you and helps you grow...

Instead of talking about all that is taken away from Type 1 gamers, I would like to list things that are gained from playing the Type 1 game.
If someone would have told me 10 years ago that today I would be parenting a child with a chronic disease requiring as much work as the Type 1 game, I would have told them that I could not do it. I would have told them that I could not survive such constant stress. I would have told them that I was already stressed to the max and that something like that would surely push me over the edge and that I simply could not do it. I would have told them that I didn't have what it takes. I would have told them that I could never hurt my child with a needle and that there is no way that I could calculate a drug dosage before adminstered it to my own child to keep her alive, and if I were to make a mistake and give her too much, that it could also kill her. I would have been wrong.

Playing the Type 1 game has taken it's toll, but I am surviving and it has made me discover inner strength that I never knew was there. I feel lucky in a way to have been given the opportunity to grow, to have met amazing people through my involvement with JDRF and to have been able to help other Type 1 gamers suffering just like me. Hardship breeds strength. It forces you to really take a look deep, deep inside of yourself. I am amazed at how far we have come since the game started. It has taught me (and Adele) to suffer. Living is impossible without suffering. Society teaches us that suffering is bad. Without the contrast of hurt, how would we know what joy feels like? I mean, I don't believe in physically causing injury to someone to make them grow, but since suffering is INEVITABLE, isn't it beneficial to raise our "pain threshhold"? It has also made me appreciate the small things. Even a very ordinary weekday with good blood sugars which help Adele feel as normal as possible really, really makes me happy.

Don't get me wrong, it's been a rollercoaster ride (and not in the fun way) and it still is. I'd stop playing the Type 1 game in a fraction of a second without hesitation if I could, but I can't. So why not try to find some positive in all of this?


Gerry said...

I agree Mike, this will make us strong, and not just the parents. Rest assured the kids are stronger, more mature and responsible because of this. I see it in Mikel, and many kids of the support group.

We take it day by day, make adjustments when needed, and wait for that day, when diabetes is a thing of the past. We offer help and guidance to the child, offer encouragement and make sure we are there for them, always.

Does diabetes suck, yes it does. Sometimes its good and sometimes its bad. Like my father in law always said, "It could be worse".

One day buddy, one day :)

Alice said...

Thank you Mike for such a touching entry. As parents, we hate to see our children be forced to deal with this disease, but Gerry is right when he says it makes them stronger. Our job as parents is to give our children the tools that they need to become independent - that's true whether or not they have Type 1 Diabetes. Adele is still young, but Gerry and I both have sons that are now teenagers, and I can honestly say that sometimes I stand back in awe that Ben is taking this burden of Type 1so well. He has taught me more than one lesson about Courage and Hope and Endurance.

Christiane said...

I couldn't have said it better myself.