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Friday, October 8, 2010

1,095 Days

October 8, 2007 - October 8, 2010

Today marks the third anniversary of Jack's diabetes diagnosis. In our family, we call this D day.

I'm feeling a jumble of emotions. Sad that he has this disease. Mad that he has this disease. Yet, accepting of this disease. Wistful as I clearly remember the days when diabetes wasn't a part of our lives. Grateful for the insulin that allows Jack to live. Glad and relieved that diabetes hasn't caused any complications yet. Thankful that I get to hug him, watch him grow, celebrate his birthdays, help him with homework, watch him swim and play tennis, and pick up his dirty laundry off the floor.

I'm recalling memories from October 8, 2007 and realizing how far we've come.

As parents, we always want to make things better for our kids. I can't make this better for Jack. I can't wave a magic wand and make diabetes disappear, but I can look on the bright side.

Besides, I need to look on the bright side, because if I don't, I'll cry. I've been holding back tears all day. Crying can be cathartic, I  know, but I don't want to go there.

Rather, I want to look at all the good that's come from Jack's diagnosis. Why dwell on the downside?

The positives are many.

We've seen our son soar. We would have been proud of Jack no matter what, but seeing the way he has accepted and handled his diabetes makes our hearts swell with more pride than we thought possible.

As his parents, Gregg and I deal with the stress of the numbers of diabetes. The numbers, they represent highs and lows that we must treat. For Jack, they represent physical symptoms that he must endure. What we find so remarkable is that he endures them with few complaints. He deals with whatever comes his way. He never ceases to amaze us.

I think the status update I wrote on my Facebook profile sums it up: " celebrating my incredible, real-life super hero Jack. He was diagnosed with diabetes three years ago today, and he has shown more bravery, more strength and more determination than Superman, Spiderman and Batman combined."

Through diabetes, we've made wonderful friends. We would have missed out on so many rewarding friendships had Jack never been diagnosed.

We've grown closer as a family. We've realized that we can handle anything that comes our way. We've learned not to take good health and good times for granted.

We've been the beneficiaries of tremendous support when we've participated in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes.

As Jack would tell you, we've been able to snag a Guest Assistance Card at both Sea World and Disneyland, and those cards rock! We've been able to meet Bret Michaels, which was a thrill. (I'll save that story for another blog post.)

Diabetes has infused me with passion and a greater purpose. It's turned me into an advocate and a mentor, not to mention a fundraiser and a philanthropist. It's reinvigorated my writing. It's shown me a strength I never knew I had. 

It's given Jack strength, too. It's influenced his sense of self. He knows he's capable of doing anything, if he works hard and focuses. He knows he can overcome obstacles. He knows that we believe in him, and thus he believes in himself. He knows he is not defined by one aspect of his life.

It's taught all three of our kids that not only is it okay to be different, but that we should recognize and appreciate difference. They've learned that everyone has issues and challenges and that we all need to have respect and understanding for one another. They now recognize that life isn't always fair.

Madeline and Max not only know that sometimes they must put another's needs before their own, but they actually do it. That's not easy when you're a little kid.

As we venture into our fourth year, we are at a new level of acceptance with diabetes. What once devastated us, now makes us stronger. Where once we could only see the bad, we can now see the good as well.

We continue to long for a cure, but we move forward with hope.


Reyna said...

What a beautiful tribute to Jack's 3rd year with "d" Heidi. I recognize many of the positive attributes that you posted about here in our lives as well...and yes, there was a time that I saw NO GOOD from it...but now I see much. I have to.

You and your family's love and support of Jack is bringing out much of this good and making you all the stronger for it.

I am thankful to be supported, understood, and loved by friends like you who walk the walk and talk the talk. You get me and mine. Love to you and your family on this day.

shannon said...

This was so beautifully written. Like Reyna, I related to so much of what you've said here. Thanks so much for sharing.

ps, L totally LOVED Jack's comments about the guest pass cards!!

April Ann said...

I'm am so grateful to know others who have walked this journey before us. Thank you for sharing. We are thinking of you and sending lots of love your way today.

You are an inspiration and I am so glad to have met you.

Wendy said...

Many hugs to you....LOVE LOVE LOVE your family and feel incredibly blessed to have a friend like you to share the road ahead.

Here's to many, many, many happy, healthy, vibrant years to come!

Laura said...

That was beautiful. Seriously, very touching. I love your FB status (which I didn't see today but am going to hunt it down). Much stronger than an super hero I know!!

Thank you for sharing your positive attitude and love. :)

Meri said...

Jack is an inspiration, and so are you!! You have taken Diabetes by the horns and made the most of each and every day!

Happy D Day!!

Alexis of Justices Misbehaving Pancreas said...

awesome D day post! i think this day is always hard for us but your spin on it is wonderful. i would do anything to rid our kids of this disease but i dont know what id do without all of you! hugs and kisses to both of you!

Lorraine of "This is Caleb..." said...

Happy D Day.

Congrats to both of you (really all of you) for maintaining such a great,balanced attitude.

Heather said...

So wonderfully put! I can relate to your words so well. We have only had one D Day so far, but I pray that I will look at it with hope, as you do four years down the road.

Kris said...

What a wonderful post, Heidi. I know it's hard to look at the positives but I'm so thankful when we are able to do that.

I'm sorry for the reason that I met you and your wonderful family. I wish it could have been for other reasons. But if we have to go through this, I'm so glad we are able to do it together.

snoring solutions said...

Congrats to both of you for this great post. You have taken Diabetes by the horns and made the most of each and every day!

Hallie said...

Happy D Day! I hope it was great! Amen to all that you said. Although I hate the reason, I'm glad for the friendships I've made and the strength I've gained. Still... Can't wait to hear about Bret Michaels!! That's a perk!

Mommy Meryl said...

What a beautiful and meaningful post. . .while no one likes being dealt lemons in life, when you are able to make lemonade out of those lemons that you realize that while somedays it can be awfully sour, there are others that can be fabulously sweet. . .and fortunately your lemonade appears to sweet much more often than sour. I can't even pretend to understand all you go through, I just know I am soooooooooo glad to have connected with your family and thrilled I get to have Jack this year!! And yeah, can't wait for the post on bret michaels!!!