There are those moments in life when you are just tired. Tired of what is happening, tired of the fact you have no control, just plain old tired. Diabetes makes those moments come far more often in between than I’d like to admit.
Diabetes has taken so much from our lives that there are days it down right makes me mad. One day, you have a healthy six year old little boy who is smart and loving life, the next day; you have a sick child, unconscious because his body has been taken over from a disease that could care less that he has so much ahead of him to experience.
Most often, diabetes comes into your life by surprise, unexpected and packing a huge punch. It takes so much from your lives but you never get anything in return. It has taken away carefree days. Gone are the days of worry free playing, letting them run carelessly and play until their hearts content. While they can still run, play and be active like other children, you now have to worry about their blood sugars dropping low because of increased activity. You have to take additional steps and make sure you plan WELL in advance for these days so that things go right. But here is the thing with diabetes; everything is always unexpected. Even when you plan for weeks or months for a perfect day, it may never happen.
Gone are the days of second helpings without worrying about piggybacking the insulin bolus and low blood sugars. While they can still have a second helping, they need to know BEFORE eating that they will still be hungry after the first helping so that you can give the right amount of insulin for it. Piggybacking (Giving another dose of insulin before the 2-hour period is up) is not recommended because it can result in some unfortunate low blood sugars.
Gone are the days of sleeping peacefully. When you are the parent to a child with diabetes, you do not sleep a full 8 hours. Even if you have a spouse that helps with the care and management during the night, you may still wake up because of fear, worry or just your instinct telling you that something is not quite right.
Gone is a normal childhood. Yes, they are still children, but when a kid gets diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, they are forced to grow up way too fast for your and their liking. They try to go through their normal days like every other child but they also know in the back of their mind that at any moment they can feel sick to their stomach and lose concentration. Their blood sugar is high, or the room is spinning nonstop around them, and all they want to or should do is to shove food into their mouth because they are low.
Try counting all the carbohydrates in what you eat, and knowing that you rely on a little machine or multiple injections to do the work that an organ in your body was supposed to do. You can see how childhood, a normal care free, worry free childhood is gone.
Diabetes takes a lot, and it can be hard to see the other side of the story. But there is another side to the coin. I am not clouded with sadness over the diagnosis of my son’s diabetes that I cannot see what it has also given us. Diabetes has made it CRYSTAL clear that life is precious and that at any given moment your life can be turned upside down without notice.
Diabetes has given me the ability to slow down and try to take the time to see everything I can now and treasure these moments. I have moments where I stand outside on a nice day and just look into the sky and enjoy the beauty of the day. It has made me mindful and present – why, because even though I am busy I still like to sit and enjoy what we have around us and be grateful for all we have.
Diabetes has brought friends into our lives that we would have never met otherwise. People that understand what our life is like and what we are going through because they live the same reality. People that you consider part of your family. People that you may have never met personally but you hurt when they hurt, and want to do whatever you can to stop their hurt. People whom you have connected with and who give you strength to move on because they are too.
Life is too short to be busy to notice the little things around us, including our loved ones. It is silly to think that tomorrow we can make up for the time we missed today. If you do not have a loved one with diabetes, or suffer from it yourself, I hope you at least learn one thing from me: cherish what you have right now because life is just too damn short.