What does ‘I've been at this a long time’, mean to you? Recently my son moved out of the house meaning for the first time in 28 years, I have no children living at home. As an important rite of passage that’s surely a good thing but from a parent's point of view—especially a parent of a child with diabetes—it feels like something altogether different.
We do, or we did, all we could for our children and then one day they are out on their own.
It hit me when I opened my refrigerator door and noticed that all of the diabetes supplies were gone from inside the door.The back-up was gone from their place on the shelf, too. To many, it might seem like the job is done.
One of my favorite movies is Mr. Holland’s Opus starring Richard Dreyfuss and Glenne Headly. An all-time favorite quote from the movie is when Mr. Holland says: "It's almost funny. I got dragged into this gig kicking and screaming, and now it's the only thing I want to do." Until ‘this diabetes’ job is done, it’s the only thing I want to do.
If you take things at only ‘face value’ you will be swayed as the wind blows. When someone explains she is managing her diabetes a certain way and it's working for her this doesn't necessarily mean it will work for you.
Let's say someone is battling type 2 diabetes, and let's agree—in this case—that weight is a major factor. She says she lost a lot of weight and now runs 5 miles a day. Someone might read this on social media decide to start running hoping to achieve the same success. But unless they discussed it with their medical team for guidance on how the right/best way to incorporate exercise into their routine, the effort may bakcfire. Without the proper planning, the result could be disastrous. Just because it works for one person it may not work the same way and in the same manner for you.
I’m amazed to this day what people swear to be true. If they'd only do a little fact-checking, they'd see for themselves. If you keep quenching that thirst for knowledge, so that you know that you know that you know; you will be planted firmly. And even when you know things that others swear to the contrary, your feet are planted in the data that does not lie. Knowledge is power. Being the loudest in the room often has little to do with knowledge.
I tell you this because I have been in this race since September 26, 1992 when my daughter was diagnosed at the age of two. If I told you that I have heard it all, it might sound like I’m done learning. But I’m not. In some way, I HAVE heard a great deal. But being open to learning—even after so many years—helped me know the difference between a bionic pancreas and an artificial pancreas. One will (eventually) utilize/dispense glucagon, one does not. Could one be better than the other; dispensing insulin as well as glucagon? At this point in time, we do not know but at least Iam open to finding out.
Both type of pancrease could come to market at the same time; I need to be educated to know and not merely listen to what 'some think' the right answer will be. I need to ask the right questions. When it all started those words sounded like intergallactical gadgets straight out of Star Wars. Ditto for a CGM. Knowledge taught me the difference between marketing and true advancement.
It's hard to imagine how social media would have perpetuated the idea of that ‘true advancement’ of ‘the dream beam’—an idea that promised never having to finger-stick your child again. An infrared-like-device and a light would be the only tools necessary. Simply scan over a finger and an accurate blood sugar number would pop up. Turns out the entire thing was bogus, made up. People were crushed. Some even arrested by the securities exchange commission. But so many followed…….blindly…….oh so blindly. You can read the article about this phony device from the New York Times .
Beware ware of the blindness. Thirst so much that you ask a lot of questions. Thirst so much that you demand a lot from those you work alongside or who inform you on matters related to diabetes. In ANYTHING that interests you regarding this diabetes journey, thirst so much that ‘an’ answer is not good enough….keep searching for ‘the’ answer.
You will hear so much in conversation but also know there is so much you need to take the time to learn. SO much solid, and good ‘stuff’ to learn. The one thing this journey has not been, is boring. It excites me to meet people with similar experiences. It excites me to meet people with a burning desire in their hearts to just ‘not do nothing’.
I've long been inspired by the expression, Lead, Follow, or Get Run Over. Which one are you? Which one does your child deserve you to be? No one ever wrote a book about someone who was GOING to do something. Do. Be. Act.
I am a DiabetesDad.