When There is Nothing Left…..There is Something Left

Shell Group shotThe pain.

Ten of thousands of finger pricks, shots, lows, highs, other management nightmares, and tears.

Thousands of trips to doctors, glucagon, severe lows, severe highs, and tears.

Sleepless nights, dragging days, school hassles, other problems from life, and tears.

Diabetes is a non-stop barrage of pain and emotion.  It gathers you together and drop- kicks you like a football on a windy day.  You feel your guts kicked but have no idea where you will land.

Yeah, diabetes is like that;  24/7/365.

Never a break.  Faced all alone………..but really?

Shell SUnset 2013Crystal Blaylock Sanchez is a business woman and she is also a mom to Matthew who was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of five, seven years ago. We have watched Matthew grow up and he is growing into a fine young man; he also loves to fish.  In addition to being part of her family business, Crystal ‘almost single handedly’ runs the Shell Key West Challenge Fishing Tournament each year to benefit the Diabetes Research Institute.

Notice the quotes placed around ‘almost single handedly’; they are there for a reason.  Because Crystal will be the first one to tell you that she does not do this event alone, she has friends to help her; great friends, many friends.

Interesting thing about this close-knit intertwining of individuals is that it is extremely hard to figure out who are Crystal’s family and who are Crystal’s friends.  The time I spend with this incredible group of people once a year leaves me in amazement.  This is not just a group of friends who come once a year and hand out literature, and fund-raise at the event, no; these people are clearly a huge part of each other’s life all year round.

As in any family, they deal with issues of their own but on this weekend they help organize hundreds of people from around the Unites States at The Shell Oil Key West Fishing Shell BannerTournament in Key West, Florida and attendees are recruited through the many business connections who come to fish for big game over this three-day extravaganza.  They do it because Crystal asked them.  And when they are organizing something and ask Crystal, she is there for them.  That’s how close friends do things.

In as much as these friends are inspiring and gratefully philanthropic, it is the interaction of Crystal and ‘her army’ that leave me in awe.  They know how each other think, they know how to press each others buttons, and they surely know how to enjoy each other even when the pressure is on in building the event to up and running status.  Even when they are dealing…..with life.

In my travels I hear of so many people who ‘go it alone’ and I wish I could bottle what Crystal has and share with those families.  This is beyond organizing an event, this is beyond support, this is plain and simply put; Love.

This is not that mushy-gushy love that is all sweet fluff; this is the type of love that goes so much deeper and into the heart.  One gets the feeling that at any given moment, if needed, this group of people would drop everything and be there for each other……and they have.  You instantly see how they treat each other and it’s an instant connection of ‘getting each other’ that only comes from complete trust. 

So on those days when Crystal and her family are doing all they can and all they have just isn’t good enough (we all know those days, don’t we?), it’s wonderful to see that such a group of friends exist. 

Doing the organizing of the event is a lot of work but that is the easy aspect compared to when life asks you to be fully giving of one’s self.  Crystal’s life is full of people who give of themselves to each other right down to their very hearts…….and that’s a lot of love.

Don’t we all wish we were so lucky?   I am; even just this once a year when they accept me as one of their own; and that’s worth traveling from anywhere to take part.

I am a diabetes dad.

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One Thing Tips the Entire Scale…..Don’t you agree?

scaleRecently we were having a discussion in our house about all of our definition of a cure.  In the midst of the discussion, Kaitlyn stated that she has had diabetes for so long (20 of 22 years) that she would find it odd not to have it.

Now this may surprise you, but that got me to thinking.  Never before could one single outcome change our entire lives.  Although we certainly have friends who do not have a child with diabetes, others have come and gone in our life since diagnosis…..and in our life; times two.

conversely (sort of) would all of the good be traded in for a single outcome as well.  Think about it.  How many people are in your life now that would not be there if your child, or yourself, was diagnosed?  Think of your connections with charity events, boards, education, online community, friends, good friends, spouse (yes people have dated and even married due to meeting through the diabetes community); and yet just one single outcome would tilt the scales completely.

Imagine all of the great things that have occurred because we are in a community we ever would have signed up to be par  That one thing was no diabetes at all.  I have met incredible, I mean INCREDIBLE people on this journey.

Would I have traded it all for my kids not to have diabetes.  Would I trade being part of the initial group that worked long and hard when I was a staff member at JDF (now JDRF) and created what is now the Walk to Cure Diabetes; would I trade being in front of Congress, NY State Assembly and even the United Nations discussing ways to help; would I trade the incredible opportunity to be at dLife; would I trade this absolutely astounding D.O.C.: would I trade being such a huge part of the CWD family; would I trade the countless of incredible encounters with incredible people to celebs to elected officials; would I trade the people who I have come to love; Would I have traded the work I have done with the LIONs Club gaining ADA accreditation for our local hospital and also educating over 20,000 kids annually about diabetes, would I trade the most incredible and dedicated people in the world at the DRI where I am employed who are the most focused in curing this disease forever and there is a whole lot more that would be up on the consideration lis: would I trade ALL OF THIS for one single item–to have never been part in the first place?

In a New York Second.

I love everything and everyone in our lives; but I wish I was never here.  But I do not live my life in what could have been, I live my life it what is.  And what is, is our life with diabetes times two (and now times thousands because of everyone I now know). 

We will beat this disease.  And after we do, I will have all of these great friends who I love so much in a world without diabetes.  And that means you.

I am a Diabetesdad. 

PS Stay in touch via FB; go to Diabetes Dad and hit ‘Like”–thank you