Diabetes Hero

Our last prompt for Diabetes Blog Week is to blog about a “Diabetes Hero”.  Again, there are so many of them out there.  Jeff Hitchcock remains a hero for all that he has done for children with diabetes and their parents. Without his website, I would not have met the many Parents of Diabetes who also remain at the top of my hero list. 

I have never really been one into the “hero” concept.  So many people struggle each day.  So many people do amazing things. They awe me.  They may make me proud to know them but what really is a hero? I headed off to Google once again to search for a definition. They defined a hero as “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds or noble qualities.”

I began to think of my sons…first they were male so that allows them into the category but did they fit the rest of the definition? Are they courageous or do they have amazing abilities? Yes, they fit there too.

My youngest son has faced diabetes with courage every day since he was two years old.  We have had our battles but he rarely ever cried when injected. I never had to chase or bribe him to test him…until he was older.  He inserts his infusion sets with only the occasional bit of theatrics (that I am sure are well founded but I won’t tell him that).  He has faced blood tests and blood squirting across the table from “gusher” sites.  He nobly sits through diabetes conferences despite not wanting to be there.  He rarely, if ever tells me that he hates diabetes. Its part of his life. He is quiet about it. He does not like to bring attention to himself or his diabetes but that is just him. He is my strong, silent son.  

My older son doesn’t have diabetes but he has had to live with it in the house nonetheless. He has had the ability to watch out for his younger brother when in school and help teachers make diabetes related decisions.  He has gone to diabetes conferences as well and made the most of them, making friends and becoming a part of the events.  He has not grumbled much about the energy his mother puts into diabetes advocacy and knows that when he needs help on his own issues, I am there as well.  He is patient. He is kind. He is confident and outgoing. He treats his brother like anyone else.  He torments him when high.  He brings him juice when he is low. 

My boys have handled diabetes in our lives with as much poise and grace as can be expected.  They have not screamed or truly rebelled. They have made it a part of their lives, rolling with each new challenge and forging ahead. They are my Diabetes Heroes.

Faces of Heroes

Recently Reyna of Beta Buddies posted a great article on her life as a pancreas. I was worn out just reading it and then realized that it mimicked a lot of what our life has been for more years than I can remember. I began to think that maybe I should try that, to write out a description of my life. I still might but not today.

In viewing what her family does each day, I also realized something about my own attitude towards diabetes care. It has always been a “suck it up, Buttercup” kind of thing.  When I inject a site and he complains, I will tell my son that it wasn’t that bad–not that I have ever injected myself with an infusion set but, get over it kid! When I ask him to lance his finger again to give me more information, I don’t think, Dang that’s gotta hurt. I just think, its more information for me to keep him healthy. 

I am not really so cruel that I don’t care about his pain.  I have to depersonalize it so that it doesn’t overwhelm me. Since that fateful day in March of 2000, I swore to do whatever it took to keep my son alive.  His life was a gift and I would work hard to protect it. Poking and prodding him at all hours of the day seemed to be a far better option than what I had seen on March 17th. There was no going back if I could help it.

One of the first Canadian pilots with Type 1 diabetes

With all of this swirling through my head, I began to further think of the people who will say that their children are their heroes. Not just the children living with diabetes, but also the siblings that support them. I have been slowly working on a new look for my website.  I am changing pages, making things fresh and looking at adding new sections. Years ago I created a campaign called “Faces of Diabetes“.  It was printed and bound and then presented to politicians to show them the real “faces of diabetes”.  These were everyday people and their stories.  Some made me cry and some gave me hope but the common theme was that they were all working hard to make the most of their lives with diabetes.

Cameron has lived with diabetes for most of her life

I then began to think that maybe the Faces of Diabetes should also have a new section–Diabetes Heroes. I decided to see if this had already been done.  A quick Google search led me to an AccuChek site that showcased Oskar Minkowski and Elliot Joslin.  This was not what I was looking for. They were dead and I was looking for real people who have been heroes in their own right. I was looking for the sister who has raised money for diabetes awareness because her younger sister lives with the disease.  The little boy who bravely injects himself with insulin so that Mom and Dad can go out on a date night. To me, those are the heroes to be recognized.

So here is my challenge to you…send me those stories (and ask your friends to do the same)! Provide a picture, when they were diagnosed and of course why you think that they are heroes.  I will then provide the page to showcase them. If you want to add yourself but don’t feel that “hero” works for you, please help me add to the Faces of Diabetes page.  Those people are still heroes whether they realize it or not.