Thursday, October 06, 2011

Happy 6th

Six years ago today my world, the world of my 3 year old son, and my family’s world was turned upside down by six little words:  “Your son has Type 1 diabetes.”  We were all suddenly thrust into a world of carbs and insulin.  My little man was thrust into a world of endless needle sticks and food restrictions.  My husband and I were thrust into night upon night of interrupted sleep. 

Looking back on that day I had no idea what was really in store for us.  I knew it was going to be hard, but I couldn’t fully comprehend just how achingly hard it would be.  All I knew was how hard it was to stick my child with a needle or how hard it was to tell him he couldn’t eat or drink something.  I know now, that was the easy part. 

I now know the hard part is the fear.   The fear of waking up one morning and finding him dead in bed.   The fear that I’m really not strong enough to handle it; that I have no clue what I’m doing and that instead of helping him I’m really harming him.  The fear that one day he will rebel against this disease and just stop managing it at all.  The fear of blindness, limb amputation, kidney failure.  The fear that there will never be a cure. 

For six years I’ve been carrying around these fears.  The pain from this fear isn’t as stabbing as it once was.  It’s softened around the edges, but it’s still there.  And, I suppose it always will be.   I’ve learned to live with it, not to let it rule my thoughts like it once did.  Yes, it’s brought to the forefront from time to time, like when I hear of another child whose life was cut short by this terrible disease.  But, for the most part it sits quietly in the back of my brain. 

Every year we “celebrate” Riley’s anniversary.  We go out to the restaurant of his choice and for an activity.  This year it is Sappari and bowling.  People often don’t understand how we can celebrate such a thing.  I once felt that way too.  But, we are not celebrating that he got diabetes.  We are celebrating that it hasn’t beaten him.  We are celebrating that he is free from complications, that he’s never been hospitalized, and, basically, that he’s living and breathing.  Not just living and breathing but having a wonderful time doing it. 

I celebrate the fact that he can still participate in any activity he wants.  He is so happy.  He loves life.  He loves his video games and his big brother.  I celebrate the fact that while this disease has left scars on his body, it has not left scars on his heart or his soul.  And, if anything, this disease has made him a better person, a more compassionate person. 

And, I celebrate all that it has taught me.  I believe there is a lesson in anything if you just look for it.  I’ve learned that you can chose to be happy or you can chose to be miserable, right where you are.  The situation you are in may not be optimal.  It may not be what you always dreamed of.  But, it’s where you are.  Make the best of it.  I’ve learned not to take anything or anyone in your life for granted. Tomorrow they may not be there.    Don’t take anything for granted that you have right now, not your health, not your family, not your relationships. Six years ago I thought I could never ever be happy again.  I’ve learned not to look towards the future for my happiness, but to look right where I am right now.  

Right now is really all that I have.  And, right now I have a little boy with the most beautiful brown eyes I’ve ever seen.   He’s happy and, by God, he’s healthy.  He’s got an insulin pump tethered to his side and a huge smile on his face.   And, right now, that makes me happy.

“To get up each morning with the resolve to be happy... is to set our own conditions to the events of each day. To do this is to condition circumstances instead of being conditioned by them.” Ralph Waldo Trine

11 comments:

Kelly said...

Happy D Day to you all :) our 5 year is fast approaching, just like you have mentioned, it's amazing how far we have come.....AMAZING!! I hope you never forget that your blog was the first that sucked me in! You were the one who blogged what I felt when my heart was still too broken to acknowledge the jumbled emotions. I love you always! Dont forget to Celebrate your own milestones today too Penny, 6 years of being an awesome D mom!

lukesdday said...

That brought tears to my eyes. Lovely post! (Hope we're there after another year or two.) Happy diaversary!

Wendy said...

Beautiful.

On 7/25, we also entered Year 6.

It seems so long ago...yet just like yesterday.

Thanks for sharing this heartwarming post, and here's to many healthy happy years ahead! CHEERS!

Mama said...

You are the most amazing person I know. I'm so proud of you! God made you that way so you could show the rest of us how to face your battles head on and still be thankful for everyday blessings. God certainly made Riley amazing too (I'm not prejudice either) The way he was handled all of this has been an inspiration to all who know him.

Amy said...

Happy 6!!! Time is flying....your blog is one of the first that I found after Jada was diagnosed 3 1/2 years ago...way to go Riley and mom!!!

Bruce said...

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouragement son has type 1 struggling it has only been 7 weeks.

Anonymous said...

It has been 3 months for us. My son is 13 and very angry and I can't make it better. For the first time I can't make it better. It's killing me. Thanks for ur encouraging words.

Anonymous said...

My beautiful princess has got t 1 diabetes only found out 5 days ago age 3 1/2 I feel my life has ended why her and not me
I could cope better if it was me I cry every night so my Other kids don't see how this is tearing me apart
She begs me not to stick the needles in her saying not again please
Words I can't get out my head
I feel so sad for her so young every day is a battle at the moment people say it will get easier let's hope so

PL said...

To those who commented above regarding their children's recent diagnosis: I want to say, I know how it feels. I know that you feel helpless. I know it feels hopeless. I cried my eyes out. I begged, prayed, and wished that God would take it away from my son and give it to me. I would have done anything to take it away from him and take it on myself. I'm so sorry for what each of you are going through. I don't wish to ever re-live those days. Riley has beend dealing with this 6 1/2 years now. I want to give you some hope. It will get better. You won't always cry your eyes out. My best advice is to learn all you can about it and do the best you can. The sugars are going to do what they want to do for the most part. Riley just got over a virus. He didn't have but a few sugars under 200 for three days straight. That used to would have sent me in a tailspin. But, now, we deal with it, keep him hydrated to keep ketones away and wait for the virus to pass. I don't mean to sound dismissive. I'm not. I guess what I'm saying is whether you want it to or not one day all of this will be second nature for you. Some more advice: be vigilant but let you kid be a kid. Hugs to you all.