Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bittersweet

I had been bitter about Diabetes in the past few weeks. My friends will be leaving in about a month for a cycling vacation in Virginia. Over a week of just biking, eating and sleeping. My idea of a "perfect" personal vacation. I missed it last year, but our family vacation to Florida during March break with a bike ride every day before or after visiting the parks made up for it. Again this year, I won't be going on that Virginia cycling vacation. The reason is not money (it would be a very cheap trip) or being able to take time off work. The reason is Adele's Diabetes. Adele is just not independant enough for me to be away for that long.

Adele was diagnosed with Celiac disease and Type 1 Diabetes a few months apart when she was 2 years old. My wife naturally took the lead on the gluten-free diet by researching what she could and could not eat. I on the other hand was better with numbers given my education and work experience and I naturally took the lead on the Diabetes management. I make all of the changes in Adele's insulin pump basal rates and snack and meal time carb ratios. My wife applies the math based on the this plan. Adele's control is not perfect, but we seem to need to make many small adjustments quite often to help try to keep things in check.

I felt guilty that I wanted and needed a vacation from playing the Type 1 game since Adele can NEVER take a vacation from it, but I still felt bitterness and self-pity because of my situation.

I usually have a hard time watching any type of sporting event whenever Adele is around. She always wants to watch her "programs" on the Disney channel. But with the Olympics the past 2 weeks this was not the case. She was very, very interested. She was asking to watch every single night. She was asking all types of questions in regards to the games and I was taking advantage of this by explaining the various sports as well as what it takes to make it to that level (not that I personally know what it takes, but rather what I think). The very structured life of an athlete training for the Olympics is not very different than that of a Type 1 gamer. The athlete follows a strict schedule of sleep, healthy eating, intense training and sacrifice often including giving up the care-free adolescent years to follow your dream. I try to explain this to Adele because in essence it's very similar to playing the Type 1 game. All of these characteristics are what make a successful Type 1 gamer.

Last weekend, Adele and her mom went to Halifax with friends for a mini March break vacation. I didn't go since I had to work on Monday. On Sunday night, after the Canada versus USA men's hockey final for the gold medal, Adele called me. She wanted to tell me all that they had done during their first day in Halifax - swimming, shopping and gluten-free pizza supper. And she also wanted to talk about Canada's overtime win in the men's hockey final. She knew that I would have watched it and wanted to recognize the hard work and the "never give up" attitude that the players had to come up with the overtime win. That's when I realized that my "talks" were not lost and that what I have been preaching is really sinking in. Yes, as a Type 1 parent I am forced to never be far from her to keep her safe, but the result of this is a huge opportunity in helping her become the best that she can be. Type 1 Diabetes has prompted me to develop a closer relationship with her than if it wasn't part of our life. Adele told me that she is going to go to the Olympics when she grows up. She is going to compete in swimming. That made me feel really proud. Not because it's my dream that she actually does make it to the Olympics, but rather the fact that she has the confidence to believe that she CAN.

My cycling vacation to Virginia will have to wait for now, I'm still too busy shaping Adele's future... And to other Type 1 parents out there, your Type 1 kids ARE listening and all of the hard work that you're doing is WORTH it !

9 comments:

Christiane said...

haha! My girl also talks about participating in the Olympics. Our confidence in them and the belief in their unlimitless possibilities are shinging through.

Amy said...

Thanks for this encouraging post Mike! And you and your wife are doing a GREAT job with Adele! She sounds like a neat kid!

phonelady said...

just rememeber when your daughter gets older you must get away from all of it for a while and take a break Im sure you can find someone who could look after her when she gets older and can have better control on her diabetes . when my kids were little god knows I needed a break and my dad pitched in and learned it all to take care of my boys . You are doing a great job but you still need a break from being a parent every so often .

Wendy said...

What a great post! I love getting a peak into the father-daughter relationship you're building with Adele. She is very blessed to call you Daddy.

And, congrats on the game...it was a good one to watch -- and a great opportunity to teach the life lesson that, sometimes you win - sometimes you don't...but what't most important is that you play with you heart.

Tracy said...

Great post Mike! I love seeing life with Diabetes through a father's eyes!

Lisa said...

Tell Adele someone at your work knows of a good swim team and tell her never to give up her dreams :)

Diabetes Super MOM said...

Mike this is so sweet!!! Really brought tears..

I can't wait to see her in the Olympics. You are surely raising a smart, independent and healthy girl. It's so hard to let go, and only do it when your ready.

Shamae said...

What a sweet post. You are great and so hands on. It is wondeful to see. But, ya know, even w/out diabets and celiac, I think we, as parents, have to sacrifice certain things. Of course when you have a chronic illness it is more apparent how big those sacrifices are.

You are doing a great job. Adele is so lucky to have you to call daddy.

Reyna said...

Wonderful to see the relationship through a father's eyes Mike.

...and I love the comparison of type 1 management to an athlete in training. You are so right!