What if diabetes hadn’t entered our lives 14 years ago? What if my son never had to lance his finger or inject himself? What if we had never heard of insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitors? What if I was able to sleep through the night once he turned two and never looked back? What would our world be like?
I have no idea and after letting these questions sit in my mind for all of a minute, I decided that it really wasn’t worth my time to even ponder. Chances are that my world, and his, would be vastly different but nothing will allow us to go back. Nothing will change what is.
Perhaps I would have returned to the workforce once he entered grade one as I had originally planned. Perhaps I would have found a job related to my degree…or not. Perhaps I would have still been involved in school politics…or not. Perhaps I would have still stood up to injustices that I saw locally, provincially, or nationally…or not. It doesn’t matter what I might have done. It only matters what I have done.
My son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 2 years old. He knows no life before injections, carb counting and the lancing of fingers. His life is filled with diabetes supplies and nutritional information packages. He has to learn to adapt to peer pressures, girlfriends, career goals, and diabetes care not necessarily in that order.
After diabetes moved in I made a decision not to return to the workforce. I stayed home with my children to be readily available to my son at school and throughout the nights. I was lucky to have been able to make that choice.
I created a website, rambled in a blog, and turned to social media to seek support and later hopefully provide some. I stepped up when I saw something that I didn’t like, and as always had been my way, I worked to change it. The difference was that diabetes made these issues that I stood for more meaningful, more personal, and impacted more people.
I don’t spend a lot of time looking back and saying what if… I spend some time wondering if I could have done somethings better but I try not to live there. I rarely, if ever think about what life would have been like without diabetes. It is a part of our lives. It is my son’s disease but it has impacted our entire family. It has brought us blessings and has lived in our nightmares. It creates struggles and issues that would not otherwise exist but it is part of our life. It requires constant vigilance but so does life. It shows us our strengths and reminds us of the importance of family and friendships. It shows us a new definition of family.
I don’t spend time wondering “what if diabetes missed our family?” I don’t spend time thinking about a cure. I pray for a time when my son can access new technologies like the bionic pancreas that will make his life easier. I quietly hope that he will live to see a cure but it is a hope that sits at the far edge of my mind. More importantly, I pray that my children are happy. I hope that they both have long lives. I want them to maintain their health and hope that they always know how much they are loved, valued and cared about.