I am amazed how that reaction the first time we took Kaitlyn home from the hospital is still with us today. But that word scared, has a new meaning than it did on September 26, 1992; when at the age of two, our lives were force-fed a new definition of normal.
People look at the word ‘scared’ as something horrendous. Nervous. Anxiety. Fear. The unknown. We took that word fear and we turned it into something else. We took that word fear and used it as a reminder of what we did not know. It was the jolt we need everyday to get out of bed and learn something new. Being scared gave us a new word……respect. I respect the fact that a car is a hugely powerful machine. I fear what it can do but my respect makes me learn what I can about it.
Diabetes is no different. Here we are over 23 years later and I am still scared. I still have that respect that I need to know, and do, more. I have been active in so many diabetes areas and being scared has allowed me the opportunity to look, re-look, and re-look again, at not only what I do in my life; but it also makes me do the same at the places and initiatives I choose to be part. I have to grow in my knowledge and so do they.
Whatever you do in this journey of diabetes; never be afraid to challenge yourself. I remember when the insulin pump first came into ‘everyday’ use. Everyone talked about how it was the be all and end all. The closest thing to a cure. The excitement and anticipation were incredible. I thought my promise would be fulfilled to my daughter about finding a cure. I was ready. I cannot tell you how big the excitement was back when. Don’t get me wrong, the pump is a great device. It’s a GREAT tool for those who choose to use it. But I quickly learned, that it was what it was……a great tool.
For me, I need that search for a cure to continue. We are not there yet. And until such time that we are, I want that search to continue. I have heard the same stories of a cure being around the corner from people for a long time but you know what……it’s not their words as my reason for being in this fight. I started out for one reason, and now have two. My two children.
I have seen devices come and go. I really have. I have never heard anything about anything that I took at face value. I investigated with an open mind. I was, and am to this day, ready to change in a moment’s notice to any place that gets me to the promise land the quickest. Because I’m scared of this disease. I’m so scared that the status quo is, and will never be, good enough.
I challenge those around me. I challenge those I know and love. I challenge my colleagues. I challenge the researchers I know. I challenge those who are within the sound of my voice. I challenge my kids who have diabetes. And if you take all of those challenges and multiply them by a hundred, it won’t match the challenge I give to myself……..every day.
And the reason? Because diabetes does not care. It does not care who supports what, it does not care about discussions in the diabetes community both professionally and socially, it does not care whether there are good medical teams or bad medical teams, it does not care if you are part of the biggest organization or you solely go and tell people one-on-one, diabetes……just does not care.
No management tools, devices, ideas, events, friends, colleagues, promises, advances will ever replace the end goal. I appreciate them all….but they are but mechanisms to keep our kids healthy, and albeit crucially important; it’s not why I am in this battle. They are not what I promised my daughter, and then my son. I promised I would not stop until there was a cure. A cure can mean different things to different people but I KNOW what it means to me, and we are not there yet.
And for me, diabetes scares me. Honestly, it scares the living hell out of me. And as long as I’m scared; I will be driven to make a difference. Because as much as diabetes scares me, my desire to see it ended forever trumps everything else. My desire to get there gets even stronger even 23 and a half years later. My kids deserve nothing less.
I am a diabetes dad.
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