D-Day (re Diabetes)

Dear Reader,

I think I surprised someone this week by mentioning that we celebrate Diabetes’ birthday in our house. It is October 26th. That was the day my then 1 year old daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a chronic, life-long, life-threatening, high-maintainence illness. So why on earth do we celebrate this? With cake and presents no less?! One year we had a cake in the shape of her insulin pump (okay, the pump was a rectangle which is easy but it was decorated to look like a pump).

We didn’t celebrate d-day the first couple of years. I don’t think I was up to it then. And even now I will admit it is a semi-morbid thing to do. I could claim we are celebrating my brother’s birthday which is the same day (happy birthday, Uncle Richard!) but he lives far away so that is not really true.

Now, I am the first to admit that diabetes is evil. And I mean that in a technical, theological sense. Diabetes is a result of the fall. It entered the world with sin and death and all sorts of other illnesses and injuries. But I also believe that good can come out of evils  like this.

One of the first reasons to celebrate d-day is that it is not so much the day my daughter got a chronic illness (she had probably had it for a couple of months before that wonderful ER trip), but it was the day she didn’t die. And she could have. Kids die from undiagnosed or too-late diagnosed diabetes in this country. But she didn’t die. And so far she has kept not dying even though diabetes continues to be life-threatening.

D-day also just marks an important milestone in our family. I don’t know who my dd would be if she didn’t have it. She doesn’t remember not having it. I don’t think I know who I would be without it. I don’t think I even know who I would be if I slept through the night more than one night a week (up checking those blood sugars, you know). I bet I would have more energy and more patience.

What are some of the good things that have come from diabetes in our life? I think our kids are more consceintious. They look out for each other. And they know more about carbs than many adults. They are tougher about getting shots or blood draws. We don’t put up with whining about those things around here. All of us have learned not to sweat the little stuff. Smaller illnesses do not daunt us. We have met some great people because of diabetes that we probably never would have met otherwise. We are more grateful just to have everybody wake up in the morning. We are more aware of our own weakness and vulnerability and therefore more aware of our own dependence on the Almighty (which is a good thing). I guess I can sum it all up by saying that while the circumstances of our life are worse (and diabetes care can be very, very tedious and frustrating), who we are is better. And which is really more important?



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