Staying positive in the world of diabetes is not an easy task. I remember when Kaitlyn was first diagnosed and I saw so many parents who really, really, tried to live life in such a positive manner. I looked around at my life. We were down to one income, staying up the entire night, realizing the future was a question mark at best, the balancing of…well….everything was overwhelming; and there people were talking of staying positive.
It made me very frustrated. At times it made me angry. Ever feel that way?
The longer and harder I tried to figure this ‘positive’ aspect out, I would see glimmers but I would see no sustaining answer. One day it came to me at about four in the morning after a battle of hypo-s. It was not about me staying positive……..for me. It was about staying positive for Kaitlyn.
When that light bulb went off……it all made sense to me. No matter what life throws at us, we need to continue. If I went through life like this was going to be a real strain and a real burden on our lives; Kaitlyn would have no choice but to feel the same way. The more I actually thought about this, the more I CAME TO REALIZE that it was just another way that diabetes would win. There was much I could not do about diabetes now in our household……..how we reacted to it……well to that point I could do something about.
It was an easy decision once I realized it……the hard part was actually doing it. The first step was to make sure that ‘no’ was just not an answer to give. As Dr. Richard Rubin taught, and taught so well, it’s about choices. Giving a ‘no’ is a dead end…..there is no where to go afterwards. “You can do this…..or this….” was a great place to start. And explaining why one choice might be a better choice than another…..mostly having to do with how they will feel; was easily understood. Believe me, our kids are well aware what it is like to feel high or low.
As she grew, everything was on the table. We would adjust. We would make it work. We would ‘do the figuring’ and she would be allowed to be ‘a kid’. If she did not have diabetes and would be allowed to do it; diabetes WAS NOT on the table to say no.
Tested? You bet. One of the biggest being cross-country track…….she did it as long as she wanted. We helped her navigate it. But she did it on her terms.
The interesting thing was that as we educated ourselves to beat these hurdles; we became more confident at the same time. We began to know ahead of time what pitfalls were waiting. It’s why I have said a thousand times…….education is the key to maximizing your strength in this diabetes world. The day you think you have mastered it, is the day you begin to fall. It changes constantly and there is still a ton I want to know and NEED to know.
I’m not saying there are not bad days, I have learned that those happen too and that’s okay. But I also became keenly aware of the fact that Kaitlyn was going to attack this disease the way we did. And now the same with Rob.
There are things they must do to maintain control and feeling better; it is a battle—a constant battle. But I also know this—–in most cases our children’s attitude toward this disease will become a direct reflection on how we handle this disease. It’s our job to know. Whatever that means…….but to KNOW and KNOW well what this is about.
Staying positive IS NOT something we did for ourselves……….it IS something we did for our children. And when you think about it……..our kids (and especially those kids with diabetes) are the best reason to live, think, and stay positive as much as possible.
It may be the hardest thing you will ever teach yourself……and I can’t share how YOU NEED to accomplish that…..only you can. But in the end, when they reflect what you show them, and believe me they pick up on everything at any age……..the reflection they will see will chart their future course. What do you want that future to be?
I am a diabetes dad.
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