So today is the last day of Diabetes Awareness Month. I sit here wondering if I did enough...if I shared enough...if I advocated enough. When is enough actually enough though when it comes to being the parent of a type 1 diabetic? Is that even a possibility? Are we even capable of throwing down that word "enough" and actually meaning it?
I don't know about any of you, but I know for certain that I have said on more than one occasion that "I'm DONE!"...."I just can't do this anymore!"...."I can't handle it!" I say it out of anger, frustration, exhaustion. I say it and at the time I suppose that I do mean it...but deep down in my heart, even as the words are falling from my lips...I know that I could never mean it. There is never going to be an enough is enough reality for me. I don't have the option to hang up my towel. I don't have the luxury of taking a break and handing over the reins to someone else for a while. Reality is honestly diabetes in the boxing ring with me on a daily basis. It is a never ending match. We go round after round...fists up and jaws clenched as we each await the inevitable blow thrown by the other. We each win a few rounds...but the damn bell keeps clanging and the ridiculous girl in the pancreas print bikini continues to walk around the ring holding up the sign to show the round number.
I will remain in that ring until my dying days or until a cure is found. I will keep going...keep relying on my spirit and the love I have for my daughter. I will draw upon my stubborn attitude and my inability to accept defeat. I will use that fire and continue to get back up on my feet and attack diabetes with a vengeance every single day.
So as this month comes to an end, I would just like to leave you with one thought...
Diabetes will continue to be in our lives...our friends lives...millions of other people's lives...every single day even after today is over. When you wake in the morning and change your calendar over to December 1st, know that there is a bleary eyed Mom of a diabetic stumbling about in her kitchen trying to get the coffee brewing and shake the exhaustion off long enough to be able to put a test strip in their child's blood sugar meter. She will make her way to her child, jab a needle into their finger tips that are calloused and scarred so she can squeeze out a droplet of blood to find out what blood sugar number she is going to have to deal with that morning. She is drawing on her own strength and beginning her next round in the ring with diabetes. As you sit down to eat your lunch tomorrow, know that there is another Mom or Dad of a diabetic out there trying to flag down a restaurant employee to get a copy of their nutrition guide so she can know how many carbs are in the food her child is so anxiously waiting to eat. The child that is hungry...watching their friends sit there and dig in to their food without a second thought...and he has to wait....for yet another needle in the finger...and a needle of insulin to take care of the food they will eat. As you sit down at your afternoon meeting, know that there is a type 1 individual who has been so busy with their day at work as well, that they haven't had a chance to grab an afternoon snack...and now they can feel the nausea coming on...the cold sweats...their hands are shaking uncontrollably...their heart is racing...they are seeing spots and are on the verge of passing out and having a hypoglycemic seizure. All because they were just trying to get their work done for a meeting...just like you...and they forgot to eat a snack. As you tuck your child into bed at night and kiss them on the forehead...tell them goodnight and see you in the morning....know that there is a parent of a type 1 diabetic child somewhere out there in the world who is doing the same thing. However, she feels like a fraud when she says "see you in the morning"....she can never say those words with 100% certainty like you can, because her child is type 1 diabetic. No matter how late she stays up to check their blood sugar, no matter how many times she sets her alarm for 3am to check it..........there is always the chance that her child could die in the middle of the night. They could die.....simply because they had a low blood sugar....because they are type 1 diabetic. That parent could wake up in the morning and walk in their child's room and find their baby dead.
She will never get to kiss her or hug her or hear her sweet voice. She will never make her dinner, play at the park with her, take her to the movies, play a game with her. She will never see her grow up, get married, have kids of her own. Instead she will have had her heart ripped from her chest....because diabetes stole her child from her while she slept in a moment of exhaustion.
Please don't let the end of this month signify the end of your concern or curiosity about this disease. My life is a never ending Diabetes Awareness Month.