It is interesting because today I found myself thinking that I was just 34 when Kaitlyn was diagnosed…..a lifetime ago.
When you are married with two children at age 34, you think of nothing ahead but the endless possibilities for you and your family. My acting career was going better than one could have hoped. We owned a house (well with the bank of course). Jill was working, we had great child care and all-in-all at 34; life looked good.
At 55, life still looks good but surely different from I could have ever imagined.
I have learned much over the years and am still learning today. The drive to make sure diabetes is cured is still my tireless drive and the DRI Biohub is surely giving us great hope for that dream. Add to the mix the many new management tools that are in the works truly proves that our diabetes lives are so much different from they were 21 years ago.
The insulin pump was more like a ‘we’ll see’ when I was 34….and now it is in every day use. We had to mix 2 insulins into a syringe and time her meals perfectly to the dose we gave her. That has long gone by and we surely do not miss it. There was no CWD and no connectioning within the world of diabetes like we have today; all of that has changed for the better.
Research was basically in its infanacy and the DCCT was just getting the findings known throughout the world that better management meant less chance of complications. This is very important because until it was scientifically proven that tighter control meant less complications, not many were truly interested in creating better management tools…..what would be the point?
But once scientifically proven, the pharma industry exploded at trying to supply something better, quicker, sharper, and/or less painful to the patient/consumer….and although it is true they made money; the results were better tools for better management and better days for our kids.
At my age of 34, what was an internet? What was a cell phone? What was a diabetes online community? Zippo. Practically nonexistent compared to today’s standards.
I have written about Charlie Rizzo before. He is a man who has the same zest and drive to end diabetes today as he did when he started years ago. He has stated on more than one occasion, “I am running out of time.” His meaning, put simply, is that he is not as young as he once was and his window to accomplish his goal of a cure for his daughter in his lifetime decrease as he gets older.
Lately, I know more and more what that phrase means.
But I also know that I am more excited now than I have ever been. I truly believe we are within a grasp that we have never been before and that excites me to do what I can to finish that job. Whether others feel as I do, I only can leave up to them; but I will say that I only got into this for my daughter and now, my son. I have always marched to my own tune based on searching, seeking and educating myself from the sources that interest me; and I cannot and will not live for what others merely believe. I search and work tirelessly and know what I know and that has served me very well these past 21 years
I have both lived and worked for the dream of finding a cure; and every birthday since age 34 when I blow out my candles on my cake, my wish has never once changed. I surely believe with everything in my heart and in my soul that one of my birthdays in the very near future, I will be able to wish for something else. And that would define for me, a Happy Birthday.
I am a diabetes dad.
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