Our Diabetes/365 Community IS our cuppa!
Have you found yourself in countless situations that are just natural progressions of either proactively or reactively trying to get someone else’s or your own needs met? It can at times feel like we are firefighters of sorts fighting a huge forest fire where we get one fire put out & another one pops up a mile away. Worse still, can your hopes be high (maybe even idealistic at times) of working out a situation respectfully & in a win- win kind of way & yet find yourself in nothing short of a face-off?
As I have shared with you many times, I love watching hockey. You know my favourite team & the excitement I have each time I get to anticipate a game the Habs are about to play. The whole game is important. That is the same with life thank goodness. Sometimes the player in hockey who is facing the other team during a face off will get the puck & dominate the puck to the point of scoring or neither team manages to score even in a whole hockey period. Sometimes when it is really exciting the underdog of sorts who did not get the puck in the face off manages to later regain the puck & score. Sometimes during the game there will be a penalty. Since I am a Mom & a softie anyway, I really do not like the part in any hockey game where the players fight with one another & I cannot stand to see a player hurt. That is someone’s son after all. I find hockey exciting but the face off is only part of what goes into what takes place during the game. Anything can happen.
Anything can happen in life. That is true of health and most other aspects. None of us expected that moment in time that stood still when the doctor said, “You have type 1 diabetes.” The thing I remember about that moment is asking myself silently, “what does that mean for my life & for my family?” I am a lifelong learner & as feisty as I am I know that I do not know what I do not know. I will always be an enthusiastic learner. I learned as much right away as I could get my hands on, my eyes on & my ears on. I figured that if I was stuck with type 1 either until there is a cure or more likely my lifetime I was going to see what I was facing off with. Some days diabetes care & reindeer games as I call them for comic relief dominate my day. Those are the days where my blood sugars are sky high & my goal (pun intended) is to keep ketones away so things do not escalate into an emergency situation aka a trip to the emergency room. And then there are the days where it is a case of how low can you go with blood sugars bottoming out usually out of nowhere (I say so many times in my case due to either hormones or profoundly out of this world stress…not everyday stress…the big stress that comes along on occasion versus frequently). I try to manage diabetes proactively as much as possible. That is really my philosophy while living my life to be proactive the majority of the time. Troubles that we don’t anticipate will come up in life however I don’t want to be putting out additional metaphorical fires.
The cool thing about what I have learned along my journey so far is that experiences in one area of our life often translate into others. It can give us the strength, comfort and abilities needed in other face offs in life. In hockey of course you expect the face offs. In life we may or may not be prepared for face offs. Some situations that we think are straight forward & simple can turn into a knotted up ball of yarn to put it politely. Advocating I have come to learn is as natural to me as breathing. I add an emphatic thank goodness! It does not matter if it is a group or an individual there will be times that we face situations where we hit a brick wall waiting for us during some of life’s face offs. My mind cannot fathom the minimalist or brick wall brain. It would seem that in those cases all roads lead to the word “I.” Recently an unexpected face off reared its ugly head outside of diabetes. When I advocate I do it with all the credible knowledge that I have learned so far. For sure others are welcome to present his or her position & views & knowledge & opinions. They deserve my attention & the right to expect that I am not a knucklehead that goes into any human interaction with the goal of winning a round/a battle or the war. I want to work peacefully. Who wouldn’t? How about those situations when someone wants to simply unload on you though & really have no intention of trying to reach the best solution together. How about if the other person just wants their own way? Does this remind you of any age development that should be long past? It is exasperating to run into this mindset don’t you find? How about if you are advocating for someone with either a physical or other diagnosed & valid challenge? The stakes are high. Maybe you are even the voice for a vulnerable person who needs you to be a strong, empathetic, soft, steadfast voice for them at times. At other times you may be a fierce no nonsense voice or the voice of reason or the voice of protection. Have you had anyone question the validity of a diagnosis that you have? In the instance of type 1, has anyone ever questioned that as being a real thing? I will share that whenever I have told anyone that I have type 1 they have never said to me that they don’t think that is a valid diagnosis or does not exist. Type 1 however can very much be an invisible “365” & of course I choose who I bother to tell that I live with it in the first place. I have had plenty of situations though on the other hand where I have shared that I have type 1 or any of the other “365’s” & had people at times refuse to inconvenience themselves in the least. In other words, “yes, I know you have type 1 however that is your problem so just as long as it does not interfere with…fill in the blank.” In some situations the only way that a person’s hard headedness seems to change is when something happens to them. That is something I pity because it is a missed opportunity for human connection. I don’t feel sorry for myself & of course I can easily stand up for myself given that God made me with an abundance of feistiness to last me a lifetime but it does cheese me off to no end that there is such an abundance of knuckleheaded behaviours out there with no room for empathy, human kindness, truthfulness, integrity, and thinking about others. A wise mentor shared with me once the following “you can’t get enough of what you really don’t need.” When you are faced with the knowledge that life is fragile through too many close calls to count you get it straight in your mind & heart I have found to know what matters, what is a crock & what is real & what is deceit. For sure I have a real life list of allergies as lots of people do but the one that I would add to the list is that I am allergic to people who like to cover their asses & play what I call reindeer games (deceit). For a good long while I let time alone handle people like that. Usually over time that kind of behaviour becomes unclothed. With the years going by though I have now reached a point in my ramped up advocation & feistiness to simply respectfully call people out immediately on these behaviours most of the time. It was Winston Churchill that said, “You have enemies; good, it means you stood for something.” I will not be remembered for being a half alive flake of a person that is a certainty. You do not need to be a parent to get what I am about to say next. It is an upside down world out there with quicksand galore so to speak for our children. Children are vulnerable & need us to be their voice at times…times where something cya or deceitful or most especially is harmful or potentially harmful is concerned. It is as easy as knowing that we would help rescue any living being that was about to drown. How about where emotional health is concerned? Is that a real thing? You know what I am going to say! Of course it is. What about other diagnoses for children outside of the physical ones? Are they as real as the type 1 diabetes that I live with & every bit as invisible? Yes they sure as hell are! Over the past 7 years just as easy as breathing, I have been advocating for someone that I love for his invisible “365.” It took a few years to get to the diagnosis but the “365” was neon bright & there for me to see for the past full 7 years even 3 years before the formal diagnosis. Some people describe moms as “momma bears” when it comes to their children aka cubs. My husband likes to share through hyperbole the sketch by Monty Python the rabbit. It is all cute & cuddly & yet you get close up & find out that it is not merely a cute, sweet little creature but also a fighter. Being a fighter of sort is against my nature. I gravitate towards peace but along the way I have learned that peace is actually a verb. I have learned that I have to protect our peace & at times to even fight for it. It is not passive. Most of the time it is as simple as knowing that there are certain things that I need to do day in & day out to walk towards greater peace. Some days I fail with an exclamation mark! The point is that in one form or another advocating is likely part of life. I want the absolute best world for our collective kids & one another so yes, active advocating & doing something to serve our world is ever in my future. Of course I neither wish nor want my son to live with an invisible (and hugely invalidated, misunderstood) “365” or you &I to live with type 1. We do though & I am not a fan of denial so my job is to make life the best it can be with or without challenges. Since I have type 1 which is so much of the time an invisible 365, I get to go to a level of deeper, purposeful empathy with my son & others naturally. I get to be their voice. I want to be a vessel to help. If we don’t help one another what is the point? This past week I walked into an undesired face off. Yes I am that bunny from the Monty Python sketch. When I love someone or many someones, I love with all my heart. That is how I was made. Half hearted or half assed stuff behaviours of the world are not okay. Yes, it is out there but I am not going to turn a blind eye to it & choose to do nothing or just complain about it. I might not change other people’s views on what they consider to be a valid diagnosis or to be more empathetic or even give the slightest damn. It is not about statistics to me. People’s lives & hearts are not statistics anyway. If I help one person it will be worth it. In the process my heart hopes that our sons see that no matter what goes on in our upside down human world they have choices to connect & help others & to stand up for anyone who needs a voice. As always, all of us do not give up ever.
My heart’s hope for you is that you have someone in your life who stands beside you on those days that really suck where someone in your life casts your real & valid challenges aside. Invisible challenges are still present. We all have struggles. There are times when most of us can think back to a time when someone stood up for us & how that felt. Let’s remember that & let’s pay that forward by standing up in a compassionate, respectful, active, kind way as often as humanly possible for one another. Remember that feeling when you were a little kid & an adult placed you on their shoulders & you felt tall, protected & that all was right in the world. Me too. We can be a part of that again both by being stood up for as well as standing up for others.
Smiles, Saundie :)
Be gentle with yourself. I will be back to share another story on November 7th. As in life as in hockey, the one who appears to be the underdog (maybe the bunny type from the Monty Python sketch) can show the spirit of a champion. One case in point was illustrated dramatically during the last game of the most recent World Cup Hockey. The Canadian team was short handed & went on to not merely kill off the penalty, they went on to score & win the cup! Be that bunny when you need to for yourself, for others, for this world!