Balance seems to be so over-rated. Does anyone ever truly find balance that lasts? Balance is like a fine juggling act with flaming torches and sharp samurai swords when it comes to living a life with type 1 diabetes…impossible? No, but very, very, very difficult! Yet, unlike juggling, you don’t sign up for this Diabetes ‘act’. It is thrown at you without choice, reason or rhyme; that alone makes finding balance nearly impossible…if you weren’t prepared for the journey, finding your way is a daunting task.
The past month (give or take) has been the hardest period we have ever had in trying to find ‘balance’ again. Literally anything we once knew was completely thrown out the window. Comfort-gone, schedules-don’t exist, sleep-what is that, safety-yes please! I fear I have been chasing ‘balance’ forgetting what I was even looking for.
I have spent countless hours looking for our new balance. Unlimited amounts of tears, energy and focus. Yet, through it all, every single day I would turn up empty-handed and heavy-hearted.
Then it hit me! Who needs balance? It never lasts, something always throws it off and you can spend way too much time recouping from a small shake in your balancing act. So I have decided we don’t need balance, we need swag.
I dub Diabetes swag an art form. It is full of flexibility, ever-changing schedules, flying by the seat of your pants, great ‘guesstimating’, forever learning, always growing, vigilant, diligent, less than required sleep functioning, advocating, smiling, making jokes instead of breaking down, and always being able to scoop yourself up after being knocked down (no matter how long it takes).
I like thinking about getting my swag back rather than finding yet another level of balance in my life…YUCK! I find that looking for my diabetes swag is much easier and attainable…and to be honest, way more achievable and rational when it comes to living life with Type 1 Diabetes.
I like that.
I don’t mind saying I have ‘D’ swag…because, well, as parents of type 1 diabetic children, we do! I think we are a tribe of resilient humans wired to face difficult tasks on a daily basis without hesitation…
- Dirty diaper changing while teaching your other child multiplication facts, while handling a low of 45 all at once. Challenge accepted and completed!
- Site change with one hand while feeding the baby. HOLLA!
- Carb counting while on the phone with the endocrinologist making changes to the basal rates while cooking dinner (nothing burning and all edible). BOOM!
- Shopping with 4 kids (1 T1D, 2 of them under 3 years of age) and a diabetic alert dog for groceries, getting everything on your list. correcting a high while catching the 1-year-old twisting out of the straps jumping from the cart while tying a shoe of the 3-year-old trying to get the 9 year olds attention long enough to help lend a hand as the T1D complains of increasing tummy pains from high and the dog ‘pawing’ your leg (not missing that alert for high) even when your hands and mind are running 100 mph. BAM!
So I ask myself…Did I really ever lose my swag? Did it ever leave my side post seizure in midst of our new chaos mess we like to call our life?
I still have my ‘D’ swag, and in fact, I do believe my swag meter has been jumping off the charts. I never gave (give) up, kept (keep) going and did (do) whatever it takes to keep our home running, kids learning, sports attended, appointments checked off and T1D at bay. I have done it even when I didn’t want to…even when it seemed (and it does still seem at many moments) like too much.
D Swag. It never leaves. So why do I need to spend extra energy looking for something that never completely truly exists? Because society says balance is real? Because other people look balanced?
Screw balance…I got D swag. And any ‘balanced’ person on the face of this earth would not know what to do if they lived any ‘T1D’ life for a day (and no, I do not wish this on anyone…ever). But balance can’t exist when really any tiny grain of sand can throw it off. Can a grain of sand throw off ‘D’ swag? Heck no! We just roll with it!
Are things normal for us yet? No. Have more answers come our way? No. Any more sleep and less scary moments yet? No. But darn it, I face it all with my ‘D’ swag I was inaugurated with at diagnosis.
Why is ‘D’ swag so important? Well, because when you face tough moments daily that can literally change your child’s health and safety sometimes ‘D’ swag is all you have. Diabetes is a mystery and often times just filled with great educated guesses…and sometimes just surviving day by day is possible only because of the talent T1D parents develop (‘D’ swag).
Maybe this is the lifeline I need. Maybe this is the epiphany I have been waiting for. For today, this is all I need to remember to keep going.