In celebration of the seventh anniversary of Arden's Day, I'll be talking about Diabetes and Fear.
Now I know that diabetes and fear don't sound like celebratory topics, but they are the very words that we should be talking about. Too many blogs are about the good stuff, too many talk about just the fear – not nearly enough talk about being afraid and getting past it.
Hearing the words, "Your daughter has type I diabetes" was decimating. It felt like a universal force ripped me from my body, fundamentally changed who I was, how I saw the world and what I expected from life – then shoved me back into an unfamiliar corpse to live out a numb existence.
Even though I was never the type of person to wallow in a moment, that feeling didn't leave me for years. I was stuck, couldn't move forward and diabetes wouldn't let me move back. Most days I knew that I was doing the wrong thing as I passively allowed myself to not try and escape. I would tell myself that all I needed to do was move forward, I believed things would be better if I kept moving... but I just couldn't make myself do it. There were too many new unknowns and I was afraid of every one of them.
As much as I knew that moving forward was the only answer and even though I could feel that my inability to do so was going to have negative long-term effects on our lives; I spent every hour of every day trying to pretend that I was building a strong defense, but in reality, I was only allowing myself to be trapped by a specter that only existed in my new fear-formed heart.
I knew. I KNEW that Arden was going to die, I could feel it. I constantly kept my eyes on her when she was awake, as if that would stop a low blood glucose from surprising us. I taught myself how to stay alive without sleeping and at one point had myself convinced that I could tell if she was high or low by looking at her.
Today, I know how wrong I was. Today I can tell you with the utmost certainty that I should have kept moving forward. That all it took to not be mired down in the fear, was the guts to not be afraid and the sense to focus on living instead of not dying.
“Don’t stop and don’t give up. Some days will bring the weight of the world to you—don’t stop. There will be times that those days turn into weeks—don’t give up. There is a wonderment of understanding on the other side of your struggle, and it’s worth getting to. These days and weeks that seem as though they exist only to torture you and the people that you love—they teach. The pain strengthens you and the dings in your soul aren’t as deteriorating as they initially seem. In the end, they are reshaping it, and it’s up to you to decide what shape it will take.”
When I look back, it's unbelievable to me just how much fear was able to change who I was and how adamantly I was willing to defend my position. I really believed that diabetes was going to kill my daughter either today or in thirty years. Diabetes and fear had taken the place of reason. I had lost myself and the human desire to enjoy life to the diseases and in the process, forgotten why we had children. I was no longer a loving father who wanted to show his children the world, now I was but a well-meaning jailer trying to protect Arden against the one thing that none of us can guard against.
One day I was lucky enough to fail at my job of never letting anything 'bad' happen to Arden and then the process of moving on was finally able to begin.
I was saved by the very things that I was trying to avoid... they are my topics for the remainder of this week.
#DiabetesAndFear don't have to go together.