There is always hope.

In light of the recent tragic news within the type 1 Diabetic community of the death of two very young children from complications of type 1 Diabetes, which was misdiagnosed, there is always hope. While it is hard to imagine, there is always hope. Hope that a cure will be found for this terrible disease. Hope there will be more educated people when all is said and done. The memory of these precious children hang on hope. As a grandfather the almost insurmountable pain has to be the deepest, darkest abyss imaginable. We all want to hug our children or grand children even tighter.

There is hope, however slight, that change will occur to the collective consciousness of the world concerning this disease. While it may not kill as many as cancer or other horrible diseases, the pain is still as unsufferable by the families who are put through this torture. But change is slow, I only need to look as far as the mirror to demonstrate how slowly change occurs. As a self-professed, self-indulgent American, the idea I am not able to take a pill to cure this disease tends to put me in the catagory of demotivated changer. (This is work are you kidding me?) When I was first faced with the reality of type 1 diabetes, nearly 20 years ago, I had to face the fact that I had to change. Change the way I eat, the way I act, the way I interact with others, the way I depend on help, and the way I think. As a typical American, prior to this disease I was fiercely independent and wanting to do things MY way and MY way only. This ‘virtue’ is embraced by the culture…heck pick yourself up by your own boot straps is every American’s mantra. I don’t need no stinkin’ help was an attitude that had to change. One must understand it took over 30 years to fix this dogma securely in my thinking; to make the changes necessary to accommodate my life to this new disease took some time. A.lot.of.time.

My natural response to change was ‘yeah right’ and I kept on doing what I wanted to do, to my added discomfort. Because I was unable to ask for help, I was alone when I first got home from the hospital after being diagnosed and woke up one morning nearly blind. I could not see anything. Apparently my eyes were so used to high blood sugar counts for so long they adjusted to the high numbers, once I began to control the numbers, my eyes had to adjust back. I went from 20/20 vision to 20/400 vision for about 4-6 weeks. The nurses and doctors failed to tell me this may be the case. I had to find a way to get to the eye doctor 2 miles away, by myself, not being able to see. It was then I realized things had to change. I was not able to cope with this disease alone. I was an emotional trainwreck, in a panic. I thought I could cope, I couldn’t. Human beings tend to resist change, the older you are the less likely significant change will occur…even if change is thrust upon you. How do I know this? I have lived it, sad to say.

I have been slow to change because I have not wanted to be uncomfortable or embarrassed by needing help from others, but I changed. I had been passive in asking questions directed to my doctor to ‘train’ him or her to my care plan, bodies responses and reactions to enviroments and illnesses, allowing them to dictate what I knew was not helping. But things have changed.  (Poor doctors now are grilled by me like a drill sergeant!!) It takes time for doctors to change too…but I am one persistent son of a gun and most are trainable!!

The hope remains, for the memories of these young children, we as a diabetic community must educate others to be the change. Yes it will take time, but we are the only ones who can lead the change…the ones who are in it. If we wait for someone else to do it for us, we will lose the battle.

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