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What Would a Cure Mean

14/11/2012 20:02


Type 1 diabetes is a diagnosis that almost always occurs in children.  In our family, it is indeed a childhood disease  yet perhaps in a bit of an upside down & inside out way.  Being “mom” to 3 energetic boys is a treasured gift that I am entrusted with the grace of having to our beautiful boys.  On November 29th, 2007, “mom” was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  Being over 35 & having a diagnosis that is usually one associated with children was surprising especially since I had always been otherwise known as “the energetic bunny” & in great health. 


It turns out that in the last 5 years, I have very much learned that in our family, this is largely a childhood illness.  I mean, it is all in how it has affected our sons.  It is a balancing act at times determining  just how much “reality” at a time I want to expose the boys to.  Our oldest son though was 7 at the time & very aware that our lives had changed & he felt uncertain.  It was difficult to see this diagnosis affect him & it was up to me to not only say that everything would be okay but to live that way authentically. 


Our second born son was 3 at the time & although he was not totally aware of what was happening, I really believe that he too could sense the changes that had initially happened within our family.  The first year with T1D was challenging as I am certain it is for everyone in this situation.  It seems funny to look back now & remember vividly that when I had very sudden & pronounced vision difficulties & extreme tiredness & zero energy that I knew that I had diabetes before I even went to the doctor.  Over the years, I really believe that organizations like JDRF & CDA have done an amazing job of educating folks so much so that I had heard about the symptoms of diabetes way before I had T1D.  The thing was though that I had no idea of what this diagnosis would mean.  I remember thinking that all I would have to do is go to the doctors & have 1 insulin injection & then I would be all better & would simply get on with my life as if my body just needed a reset like you hard boot a computer.


Some dates stick in your mind in life & November 29th is one of them for me.  T1D I have found has been more about my family than about me or at least that is how I look at it.  We have been on a journey yet it has strengthened us. 


It really has been just in the last 6-12 months that I have finally fully accepted that for now T1D is part of our lives as a family.  We don’t let it get in the way of our activities as a family.  In many ways, we have had more experiences of joy & adventure because we have learned to appreciate our blessings even more.  My thinking always was that the great news in life is that no matter what happens, we have a choice as to what to “do” about how we think, how our attitudes are shaped, our habits develop & ultimately how we live our lives.  T1D just enhances that belief that was always there for me & that’s a great thing.  Every morning, I feed my mind a healthy menu of uplifting quotes & I choose to surround myself as often as possible with people that are positive folks.  When I do the next right thing whether it be a food choice or exercising or reading inspirational books, attending motivational speaking engagements, or sharing time with lights in this life, it equals joy, diabetes or no diabetes.


For 4 years now, I have had the blessing of having an insulin pump.  I love, love, love it.  It does not mean that my blood sugars are always in a healthy range however it is the closest option right now to perform  the work of the pancreas.   The pump allows me to have spontaneity from day to day & that is a great thing!  It means that when just like everyone else, I get that inevitable cold, I can have a “chat” with my pancreas & increase the insulin & lower high blood sugars with the use of math.  Now math is not my favourite “sport” yet thankfully that is where my “co-pilot” enters beautifully into the picture.  That person is my husband who we refer to lovingly as the “mathlete”. 


One of the activities that absolutely makes my heart smile is reading with enthusiasm & humour to younger children.  I love it when they choose the book that they would like to share together & I always say to them, “that is one of my favourite books because it has a happy ending!”  That is how I feel about T1D…that the cure is the happy ending.  In the meanwhile, doing the next right thing & “feeding” ourselves with activities & thoughts that increase hope have proven to make a huge difference.  Christmas comes twice a year at least in my heart because, yes, it comes in December however it also comes in June too!  In June, our family has the honour of walking alongside all the everyday heroes at the Tellus JDRF Walk & the monumental hope that day provides is indescribable.  Having my sons & husband walk with me is the best feeling.  And I see all the other beautiful families & I cannot wait to celebrate when the cure happens alongside these everyday heroes!

And you know what, I don’t just wish for a cure, I expect one with heartfelt hope.  The cure would mean that the beautiful faces that I have had the honour to meet will be celebrating with their families & my boys, well, I will be celebrating the strength along the journey that they have given each & every day .  It would mean that “Mom” could then look into their beautiful brown eyes & say, there is some great news…