I don't know how it is I'm hardwired this way...but I can write much better than I can speak. Now, if I write a speech, or a talk of some sort...I can deliver it marvelously! But if I'm put on the spot and need to spout a long diatribe on a subject...If I haven't written about it before...I'm lost.
Point being, when I sit down at the keyboard my thoughts flow so much easier. I had a dear friend stay with me this weekend while Ryan and the boys were away camping. We were up until the wee hours of the morning, talking about everything under the sun. It was wonderful, and at the same time harder for me than I ever thought it would be. When I would say, "I believe that..."and have a story I wanted to convey, I stumbled awkwardly through my explanation. "I believe this because...blah blah blah...ummm, yeah." She didn't in any way make me feel stupid, in fact she nodded enthusiastically and loved me just like she always had. It occurred to me the next morning that my thoughts would have flowed so much more smoothly had we been typing back and forth to each other...
Thank goodness for Blogger!
And because the first couple paragraphs really have nothing to do with my post...thank goodness for digression!
What I want to share with you today is an extension of that conversation. The running theme throughout our late night chatter, was "empathy." The next morning I woke up and read this article by Michael Hoskins on Diabetes Mine...You can read it HERE...please come back. :)
The articles title is "At least you have diabetes and not..." Mike shares his story of his Aunt recently being diagnosed with ALS. He shares how this has changed his perspective, and in the grand scope of things realizes that diabetes is not that big of a deal. He is feeling at this moment that all the DOC chatter online is mostly insignificant. And that now he sees that there are much more dire circumstances being experienced by people all around the world. (Paraphrasing...please read the article to really get the gist.)
So is it fair to say this disease is harder than that disease? Are we comparing apples to oranges, or perhaps fuji apples to gravenstein apples?
Personally, I don't think comparing will get us anywhere. Understanding, on the other hand...will get us far. And empathy will take our planet all the way to where it needs to go.
After Ryan was diagnosed I will be honest, there was a length of time I would read statuses on Facebook and say, "Really? Really? Your devastated because your child was high for three hours?" But let me tell you this...five months later, I'm right there with you posting these statuses too. Diabetes is hard and frustrating. Is it fair to diminish that frustration because you, or your child probably aren't going to die today?
Ryan's cancer is hard. Yes it is harder than diabetes. Yes it is awful and horrible and it feels like my world is crumbling down...but without the DOC chatter I would most certainly be in a darker place. Not only to keep my mind off it all, but to give me that support of "same." To make me feel like I'm part of something. I can sit here, on my couch all alone...and not feel alone at all. And the best part is, these relationships are REAL. I've met MANY people. I've spoken on the phone with MANY people. I've had private chats with MANY people. These connections are vital. My boys A1C's are what they are BECAUSE of these connections. They are healthier because of the DOC.
Yes, I would pick diabetes over cancer any day of the week. But we don't get to pick our diseases. The disease pick us.
All we can do is make of it what we can. And what I see is thousands, hundreds of thousands of people online with diabetes, making a difference in each other's lives. Attending conferences and events to make a difference for their own family, and the community as a whole. Diabetes is our thing. We were giving this cause, and it is just as admirable to chat about diabetes as it is about cancer. If your cause is for the greater good, it is always worthwhile.
It will often get said to me, "I feel bad when I am overwhelmed because I ONLY have one child with Type 1 Diabetes, or I only have to take care of myself and MY Type 1 Diabetes...and you have three...so I feel silly I feel that way."
What these people forget is that I once "just" had one child with Type 1 Diabetes. And I was overwhelmed and scared, and exhausted all the time too. Diabetes is HARD, no matter which way you slice it. It adds a second hamster wheel to your brain...you can rarely NOT think about it. Please, whatever you are facing at this time, know that your feelings are valid...and then find a way to come to terms with them.
We need to have empathy for the entire human experience. It is good Mike wrote that article if only to open our minds that others are suffering too. My bestie who stayed with me this weekend? Her Mother...my second mother...died in 2008 of Alzheimer's. Would I trade our Diabetes journey for her Alzheimer's journey? I think we can all agree that that is a ridiculous question, and at the very least a moot point. We take what we are given and we run with it. Sometimes we trip with it. Sometimes we are paralyzed with it. But it is OUR journey for a reason. Grab it by the horns and live your best damn life.
Heaven knows I am trying.
Although a widened perspective is wonderful, and vital...comparing is fruitless.
Love your best. Try your best. Hope your best. Connect your best.
Look around and empathize your best.
Look around and empathize your best.
Make a difference the best way you know how.
In the end, that is the best we can do.