Monday, April 8, 2013

Look at the Ducks!

I follow a page on Facebook called "Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes Facts and Information".  She posts really good information as well as some really funny stuff.  She told me she finds the pictures searching on Pinterest when I asked about using this one here.  The image of this made me chuckle out loud.  Just this morning while walking to my car, I counted 4 test strips in the driveway.  Seriously, the driveway!  How does this happen?  They were not there yesterday!  They are so commonly seen laying about that even my husband notices them.  He came home from the baseball field on Saturday and stated he had encountered a first.  There was a used test strip at the baseball diamond and it wasn't ours!  At least we are not alone in struggling to get these little suckers to the garbage can!

But, funny image aside, I found the ducks symbolic in another way.  Way back in 2000, when I first heard the news of Tylie's diagnosis, my mind had immediately gone to the "horrible change" that had just happened to our lives.  It was like those ducks in the picture were dive bombing me with "what if's" and "OMG's" and none of them were good revelations.  I am going to spare you and myself the details of all those imagines because I don't like to visit that place in my mind.  Suffice it to say, those images are also why  I won't watch the movie Steel Magnolia's.  Instead, I want to look at the ducks a different way. 

When putting together our scrapbook for JDRF CC13 this summer, there was a lot of opportunity for reflection.  On Tylie's page, she wrote that she "tries to be a good example for her younger siblings."  And, she is in so many ways.  She recently participated in a competition for DECA (a business, marketing club) and qualified for Nationals for the second time.  Just this week, she won an event in a state journalism competition.  She student manages for hockey, babysits for other families, works polls in elections, and plays soccer.  She will go to college next fall and dreams of studying abroad.   Diabetes does not slow her down and she never fails to find the humor in it.  I can't help but to think all of these experiences will make her an amazing advocate in July.  Taya on the other hand, HATES diabetes.  There is rarely a day that goes by that she does not curse it.  For her, finding the positive is a battle she fights everyday.  At the same time, it doesn't stop her from living her life.  She plays hockey and will be inducted into the National Honor Society this week.  She studies hard in her effort to become a pediatrician.   She recently got a job in a nursing home as a step toward her career in health care.  While her approach to advocacy may not be as vocal as her sister's,  I have no doubt she will have an impact on people's lives.  TJ is an example of  a kid that that truly "lives out loud."  He never stops moving (or talking).  He plays hockey, baseball, football and soccer.  This weekend he was on his bike or jumping on the trampoline every chance he could.  His dream is to play hockey in the NHL.     (Ironically, the Ducks are one of his favorite teams.)  He does all this, pump attached, without skipping a beat.  His older siblings have taught him well and he is not afraid to tell others about what that thing is attached to his hip or why he has to poke himself before he eats.  His confidence makes everyone around him confident.  That was evident when I dropped him off at a birthday party this weekend and in the middle of me giving the parents my standard speech, the little birthday girl says, "It's okay, I know all about his blood sugar.  I'll watch him."   

One of my favorite quotes by an unknown author states, When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."  I choose to look at those ducks- that endless trail of test strips- as hope.  In our house we use an average of a little over 100 test strips in a week.  That is over 100 finger pokes and each one of them to me symbolizes hope and promise.  Hope that someday finger pokes will not be necessary and promise that until that day comes, we have options and opportunities.  I will do my best to be sure my children see their life for the gift that it is.  As a family, we will go to Washington and speak out about Diabetes.  We will be there physically, but we will bringing in our hearts all of their "brothers and sisters" who have fought this fight before them and who are fighting it today and for those yet to know the challenge.  Let's face it, some days are just hard and the easy thing to do would be to give up.  But, something within these resilient kids makes them get up and keep trying.  For them, I will gladly pick up a million test strips- bring on the ducks!

Excerpt from scrapbook for JDRF CC 

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