With the arrival of 2010 many people began focusing on the Olympics in Vancouver. The hard work of athletes would soon be put to the test. The years of hard work by Olympic organizers and volunteers would be put on display for all of the world to see. I, of course, had to be different!
I was happy to see that the world would get to share in the beauty of my home province but 2010 meant something very different to me. It was the year that marked 10 years since diabetes came barreling into our lives like an elephant in a china shop. It was not invited but like any unwanted guest, it made itself quite at home and left us to pick up the pieces after its destruction. We were forced to find away to live with…to live with what? A new family member? It was that annoying stray that came in when the door was left open and refused to get back out.
For ten years that unwanted guest, that pesky stray had plagued our house. It demanded meals at set times but we learned how to get around that with advanced use of rapid-acting insulin and ultimately an insulin pump. It demanded money for its upkeep but again we fixed that one by advocating for an insulin pump program. Many of our diabetes related costs were now covered by our provincial health plan. Our grouchy stray demanded blood…literally. It won that battle but it was losing ground in other homes. As more insurance companies provide assistance, many more people who also live with diabetes are able to use Continuous Glucose Monitors and change the way they monitor their diabetes.
The constant demands of this stray called Type 1 diabetes that had moved into our lives was a strain. Each year I was reminded of that fateful day when diabetes moved in and try to claim the life of my child but I began to see 2010 as a year of promise. Diabetes made demands but look at how we were able to meet those demands? There had to be positives about this pest. There had to be something good to say and there began my quest. I would find the best things about diabetes and focus on that for the next ten years!
As I came up from my own depression and despair, I began to look around and was reminded of all of the other incredible people who were hitting this same milestone or who had already sailed passed it. I saw small children who were now becoming teenagers. I saw an incredibly amazing group of friends. There are many great lines about friends but diabetes has somehow brought me the most amazing friends that a person could ever ask for. There is Sharon who threw me a life-preserver when I didn’t know how in the world to make a two year old eat the food required to meet his insulin needs. There is Michelle who was there when we came home from the hospital to talk to and went on to become a great friend. There is Darlene and Shirley who helped round out our therapy and advocacy group. There is Stacey who ensured that we never went without supplies, who welcomed us into her home and is such an amazing friend. There is Jeff, Brenda and Laura who have given so many so much but have been there for me through some of the darkest days. There is Kim, Karen, Cheryl, Mike, Michelle, Lauren and so many, many more who have been amazing friends, wonderful confidants, and inspirations to challenge us to do more. I could go on and on and on. There are so many more of you out there who have welcomed us into your homes, who have worked side by side with us on advocacy issues and diabetes project. You have helped me to create change in the world of diabetes. You have been there with a kick when I needed it, a hug when it is required, amazing advice and a shoulder always.
Diabetes came in as an unwelcomed guest. It arrived like that annoying relative that doesn’t know when they have overstayed their welcome. It has also brought the best gift of all…friendship. I would give anything for my son and so many more not to have to go down this road called “life with Type 1 diabetes” but I would never trade the incredible friendships and amazing people that I have met because of this disease.
While the world watches the Olympics in Vancouver, I wait to return home as well but for a different reason. In August, my family will head to Vancouver to meet up with its extended “diabetes family”. Catching up with friends, sharing ideas, and loving the best part of a rotten disease. We have our own athletes and our own heroes. They don’t always have gold medals around their necks but they have captured our hearts and truly become a part of our lives.