Receiving the news that our son has Type 1 diabetes was just the latest in a string of potentially depressing news so far this year. Looking at my year so far, I can envision many people who would have a totally different outlook and feeling on how its gone so far. Someone else in my situation might look at things differently and say, "Damn, my year has sucked so far." But the events I've gone through so far have been mostly brief events, blips on a radar of an otherwise joy filled year. I can dwell on the few depressing moments, the ones that take me deep inside, that force me to re-examine my outlook on life, and let them simmer and foment feelings of despair, anger, and depression, or I can instead deal with them, accept the feelings they bring, and use those to build a better base upon which to deal with future events. Those events have past, I've moved on, and while they all touched me in a different way, they all had the cumulative effect of forcing me to re-commit myself to living in the present. In a way, I feel, it is almost as if those events, strung together in a relatively short period of time, have been preparing me to deal with anything that comes my way now, including my son having diabetes. There has been sadness this year, but there has also been incredible joy so far. If I had dwelt on the depressing aspects of everything that has happened, I would have missed those moments of laughter and joy with my children. I could not be present with them if I let my mind dwell and despair over events that are past. Children have an excellent way of dragging you back to the present as for them, that's all there is. Their main concern is with what's happening right now, not what has past or what will happen, but what is in front of them this moment. The more I can let them help me be present, the more I can in turn help them realize the benefits of remaining in the present as they grow older and the past and the future make themselves felt.
So what happened this year so far? In terms of those potentially depressing moments (which some of them were), let me elaborate. On the cusp of the new year, I attended a funeral with my wife of a beautiful woman who fought breast cancer, won the first fight, but then succumbed when cancer came raging back. She had just recently retired. When I was working for her, her outlook on life was amazing despite the pain and suffering she herself was going through. Then, a few months later, our cat Spice died. My wife had this little runt of a cat before she met me. She was 15 years old when she passed, had a hell of a spirit for a cat, a dealt with two large dogs on a daily basis, constantly setting them in their place. (Just a cat, but still sad). Then within a week, my grandmother, Baba, passed away at the ripe old age of 96. She was a feisty woman and despite the sadness of losing her, there was a lot that I learned through the whole process of grieving and letting someone go, that it all balanced out. We can't keep our loved ones around forever, but we do have those memories of them to remind us of how wonderful life is. A few weeks after that, a former colleague of my wife and mother of one of my friend's from high school passed away. She as well beat breast cancer previously and had some form of cancer come raging back and take her life away. Two days after that wake, we brought our son to the hospital where he was diagnosed with diabetes. This will not pass as the funerals and wakes passed, but it will require the same outlook on life of dealing with it one day at a time and remaining in the present. So with all this that has happened, it has still been a great year. Could things always be better? Of course they could be, but we don't know when or if or how that would happen, so our best bet is to deal with life as it comes.
There is the very real potential with diabetes that our son's blood sugar will go too low, he could become unconscious or suffer a seizure, however, it remains just that, a potential event, not one cemented in reality yet. If and when it happens, we will deal with it and obviously we will do everything in our power to prevent that from happening. I could dwell on the potential downfalls of diabetes, but instead, I look at our son and love the renewed exuberance he has for life, the renewed conversations that he has with us, and his desire to go outside, play and be himself. He isn't letting diabetes get to him, he is dealing with just as we are. In fact, at the age of 5, he is getting to the point now where he wants to test his own blood sugar, prick his own finger, put his own test strip into the meter, and test himself. It's become a part of his life. He knows there are adjustments, but we don't dwell on those, we just deal with life as it comes. All this leads me to question how other people deal with issues like this, not because I'm trying to compare our life to theirs and see who is dealing with it better, but more because over the past week, we have received numerous offers to talk to someone who is dealing with it or has had a family member deal with it. The offer is made so that we have someone to talk to in case we need help dealing with it or have questions. I appreciate those offers, but I don't know that I will take anyone up on them right now. I see how it changes things, and so far our family is dealing quite well with those changes. There is no anxiety on my part, no added stress, just a general concern for my son's well being. But that is always there, I am just more attentive to his demeanor and activity level due to his diagnosis. Suffice it to say that there is a lot that goes into remaining positive, and I will elaborate more in the coming days, but for now, I have the rest of today ahead of me and my body is currently craving more caffeine.