Coming home from Kinzie’s dance competition, I was thinking about where we are now, who we are, and where we use to be and who we were (if that even makes sense). We are completely different people…sometimes i feel like I don’t even recognize myself (don’t even know if that is good or bad!).
If you would have known me 2 years ago, you would have thought that that person and the person I am now were two completely different people. I have to be honest and admit that life has changed me. Some for the good, some for the bad. I am a little more of a neglecting friend (not that I set out to be one, but because I get consumed by just our daily life…still trying to completely find balance). I forget birthdays, I don’t visit with my friends as often, call or text them like I should….not because I don’t think of them or because I don’t want to. I do, I love them dearly…but life is just different. I am greedy, the few spare minutes I get that isn’t consumed with diabetes, kids, or house I take to soak in the tub. It’s true…me time, every day has pretty much boiled down to 15 minutes in the tub…by myself…not having to think about anything. I have never enjoyed baths, ever. Thought of sitting in dirty bum water just wasn’t appealing…but now it is my sanctuary!
I am a little less patient to ignorance…there isn’t an excuse to be ignorant. And frankly, ignorant comments get under my skin at times. I have become sensitive, and dang, it is taxing to be sensitive. I am going to say (and perhaps, it is because I get bitter after hearing it so many times) that I get completely sick of people saying “Oh, she just has diabetes?” It makes me want to scream…and possibly go on a rampage. The ignorance! I catch myself biting my tongue not to yell at them to educate themselves before they speak. Just diabetes? Really? How about watching your child fight every day. How about not ever really resting. How about every day and every minute being consumed by diabetes so you can attempt to keep your child in range trying to prevent as much damage to their body as possible…knowing that this disease damages bodies in pretty much every way. How about fearing every morning that your child may not wake up. How about fearing your child will pass out or become so lethargic when you aren’t around, and no one knowing how to help her. How about dealing with ignorance on a daily basis. How about facing discrimination and fighting for safety for your child all the time. I could go on for so long with ‘how abouts’…but that makes me bitter. Sometimes I just need to get that off my chest, sometimes I am bitter.
I have also gotten the “Oh I can’t do what you do…don’t know how you do it.” Now, I am sure this type of comment is meant as positive and supportive ( I get that, but it happens quite often and I have bitter nasty feeling days). And some days, when I let it get to me, there are times I just want to blurt out “Oh, you could. Otherwise your only other option would be letting your child die. It isn’t like I chose to do this, I do it out of necessity.” I would like to think that every parent would do what I do, do do what I do. We do it because we are parents, we do it because we love our children. We do it, because if we don’t, we wouldn’t have our children here. We do it because we HAVE to…and you would to. I talk about diabetes all the time, because it is my life, it consumes me. I want to make sure people around me understand, that they get it. I want to stop the ignorance. Small things I do help us climb our mountains. Being an advocate, I enlighten (or try to) all that I can. Seriously if I could, I would spend hours everyday just stopping people to educate them (literally I get the urge in the most random moments)…that is how passionate I am about this.
Two years ago, I wouldn’t have pictured myself like this; bath loving, friend neglecting, blog writing, sensitive woman. Funny how life and time changes so many things, right?
If you would have asked me where I thought I would be five years ago, I would have told you a completely different story than what I am telling now; but that’s okay. I believe that everyone feels that way at one time or another. When Kinz was diagnosed she had a period where she was grieving…angry, sad, confused, lost, denial…you name it, she was experiencing it. Anything she once loved, she hated. She had been dancing for 1 1/2 and loved every minute of it, and all the sudden she just didn’t want to do anything anymore. It broke my heart…I felt like my daughter was losing her passion. One of the toughest things as parents is letting your children quit anything they have obligated themselves to (or at least for me it is). It was such a huge road block and I wasn’t even sure how to handle it, or what was even the answer.
Before get carried away, I need to express how we have been very fortunate to have a wonderful medical team behind us. I could never express how truly AMAZING our endocrinologist and our nurse diabetic educator is. They are amazing people who do an amazing job. They are awesome! Their guidance, support and knowledge is like no other, I do not know how we got so lucky. I remember emailing and having a few telephone conversations with both of them about changes in Kinzie and fears I have. Being wonderful supporters and people who get what was doing on, they both advised me to give Kinzie that control, let her decide what to hate, what to quit, what to do. They said that she will find herself again, and when she did she would find passion as well. They assured me it was the right thing to do and I wouldn’t regret it.
Control?! Control was (okay, is) my middle name. Control is me, it’s mine, for me. I do not share it well. I can admit that only because I couldn’t deny it, it is that obvious. I did a lot of soul-searching and had to come to the conclusion that they probably knew more than I did, given that this is what they do for a living, they see it everyday. So, with a little reservation, I gave Kinzie control. The only control she had in her life. I gave her the control to do what she wanted, when she wanted. Boy, that was hard. With that control…she quit. She quit everything. She hated school, hated reading, hated dancing, hated church activities, hated pretty much everything. It scared the ever-loving stuffing out of me. I honestly thought she was going to be bitter and just close herself off, forever.
After about 4 months I saw a glimmer of my ‘old’ Kinzie back. It was her returning as she was leveling out and learning to accept life. She was getting healthier, blood glucose back in range, becoming a little more independent in her care, and gaining back the weight she had lost before she was diagnosed. I saw her passion slowly returning. Kinzie was finding herself again. She finally said she missed everything she turned away from. RELIEF! Life could go on, we could advance from where we were, it was possible to find normalcy. She joined in on life again.
Now about a year later, I look back and think what a pivotal moment it was for her when I gave her what little control she could have. It made the biggest difference. She tested limits, boundaries and control. She discovered that even if there weren’t things she could change or control, there were other things completely up to her. Because of our wonderful medical team (I truly give them the credit) I was getting my daughter back.
Today we had a dance competition. If you would have asked me after she was diagnosed if I thought we would be here, I would have laughed…because she was done, in that moment she was finished. What an accomplishment today was. She is my fighter. She has fought to get to where she is. She goes to dance four times a week; fights through illness, ketones, highs, lows…everything to stay caught up and carry her weight. She refuses to let diabetes be a crutch or an excuse. When her blood glucose is off, she refuses to just stay home. When she misses dance she is devastated. Her dedication just amazes me. She is a fighter, has to fight every day…and she does it so gracefully. She doesn’t want pity, she wants to be normal. And she is. Only difference from her and another child is she has to fight just a little harder in the sense to stay healthy and able….but she refuses to allow it to not let her participate. How this girl fights every day and keeps a smile amazes me.
You might think this isn’t much to be proud of, but for me it is everything. Today, Kinzie won. Today, she beat diabetes because she has refused to allow it to limit her in any way…today was proof that of that. Anything she wants to do, she does. Small victories like this continually happen, and I rejoice. It’s the small victories that move our mountains and shape who we are. There hasn’t been any one obstacle that has stood in her way that she hasn’t been able to tackle. How amazing is that?!? She is a walking billboard of hope. She gives me great hope.
Today, I am one proud mom. Today, even for one day, we beat diabetes. I can only hope that she continues down this path and lives with passion and fight. A life altering condition really can bring out the best qualities in people. I see them magnified in Kinzie more than ever. They mature quicker, they live reality dealing with adult decisions. It changes their childhood in a sense because they have deal with what most children even are never even exposed to. Today can simply be described as awesome, plain and simple, it was awesome.