Friday, January 2, 2009

What 2008 has taught me

2008 has been a tough year for me emotionally (surprise, surprise) but it could never compare to 2006 in which Maddison and I were both diagnosed with the Diabetes Demon. What an overwhelming, emotional year that was. 2008 was a piece of cake in comparison, I have mostly overcome an array of many personal issues this year, what may seem simple to some, is a huge leap forward for me. I have learned alot of things this year that without Diabetes, I may never had the experience to learn. Dealing with chronic illnesses has taught me things I probably wouldn't know otherwise - how to be thankful for the smallest things, how to be compassionate and sympathetic to others without feeling sorry for them, how to sort out what's most important, and how to find peace in the midst of turmoil. Most importantly, I have learned to not speak my mind until I have walked a mile in someone else's shoes. You really have no idea what some one else's life is like unless you live it yourself.

Early on, the past year brought about the end of Maddison's "honeymoon" and the array of emotions that go along with it. (honeymoon means the "easily" controlled and figured out phase of diabetes) I struggled with feelings of defeat on a near daily basis because Diabetes got the best of me so many times. As the year comes to a close, I can honestly say that this year I have learned that despite my best efforts, Diabetes doesn't play by a rule, it doesn't always follow a pattern and certainly doesn't care if you feel you can't take the craziness anymore. Diabetes in 2008 taught me...

*I can overcome things I never thought possible
*I have a choice to learn from my experiences
*I see more every day that we are survivors, not victims. Although some days I feel as though I am slowly draining away, I know that tomorrow is another chance at life. Alot of others out there don't get another chance at life.

2008 has reminded me.....

**It's not what you have in life that counts, it is who you have in your life that matters most.

**it's not what happens to people that's important. It's what they do about it. I feel in my heart that we are doing all we can for others like us, reaching out to other families with Diabetes means another child out there will not feel so alone.

In 2008 I found myself slowly becoming the person I want to be. I have learned writing and talking is a must, good or bad feelings, I need to blog to stay sane. I've learned that I need my Diabetes moms. In 2008 I have built relationships with moms that really understand me. Or, Diabetes anyway :) Only true friends care to hear how hard this Diabetes life really is. I have also learned to spare my words for someone that cares to listen. Now here is our year in review.....

January 2008 couldn't have started any better. In the wee hours of a cold January morning I helped our Golden Retriever Roxxie give birth to 8 perfect puppies. We ended up donating two puppies to the JDRF Promise Ball Silent Auction. Each puppy raised $4,500 toward Diabetes research. Dressed in our formal attire, we were Princesses for the night as we took the stage at the auction to tell our story. What an awesome opportunity!

March 2008 we were left with one perfect puppy. Harlee became a part of our family, he was here to stay.

In April 2008 my A1c came back at 6.0%....thank you honeymoon! Maddison's A1c rang in at 6.6%.....the last of her honeymoon unfortunately.

In May 2008 we proved to stick to our promise in helping to make a difference, we had our chance to speak, and Maddison did very well.

Maddison won 1st place in the "Inspired by Diabetes" poetry competition, she is an amazing girl my Maddison!

2008 brought Maddison's lowest low yet, oh...what a 32 will do

In July my new Niece was born! Welcome baby Sammie!

In August Maddison started 2nd grade, Hannah 7th!!

Maddison started volunteering at a local bird rescue. She even won the title of "Duck releaser"

Hannah started becoming a much more responsible young lady! She continued to play Volleyball and was eagerly awaiting her chance to play competitive leagues.

After months of helping to care for Josh's grandfather, the time came to say goodbye. I learned that no matter how fearful you are to be present when someone leaves this life, if you love that someone and the time comes, it just feels right and the fear leaves you with a sense of peace. September 11th, 2008 my children lost their Great Grandfather, my husband lost his father figure. I gained respect for the love and devotion he brought to his family for 80+ years.

This year I have learned to let go. Maddison is gaining the confidence and knowledge she needs every day to live healthy and happy with Diabetes. Letting go one small step at a time is a huge step for me. I have been trying my best to give Maddison her Diabetes responsibility as I know she is ready to handle. This is truly the hardest thing I have ever done. Slowly as I give Maddison more and more responsibility in her care, I know that she can manage. No one wants their child to grow up too fast with this kind of responsibility, I'm learning that we have no choice but to teach, not shelter our children from this disease.

Chaos of changing employers, COBRA expenses and unemployment haunted us this past year. Insurance issues, medical expenses and pharmacy bull shit tested us one too many times. I guess that happens every year with a diagnosis such as ours though doesn't it?

We had our first ER experience with vomiting, ketones and near DKA. I'd like to forget that part of 2008. I did learn alot though, I must say.

November 2008 my Hannah turned 12. She amazes me every day with her silly sense of humor. Hannah is playing competitive Volleyball now, she has gained confidence, a sense of self, and most importantly she has been driven to succeed.
She has found her passion, and as a result she is becoming a better person. She is happy again. She looks forward to every day. Back in 2006 as our family struggled you could see it in Hannah's attitude. Not in 2008, my Hannah is back!

December 21st, 2008 after just 11 short months of our crazy, bigger family, we said goodbye to Harlee. As Maddison would say, "Harlee was like my brother, not a dog" My children learned again for the second time this year the stages of grief. They learned that our lives were a little bit better the months we shared with Harlee. They learned that you must love someone while they are here, not cry for them when they are gone. Love them today, for tomorrow has no promise. They thought about the happy life we gave Harlee, and they realize that he was lucky for the time he did have here with us. He was loved.... entirely.....every day that he spent with us. We will keep his memory alive just like we do with Great Grandpa. As kids they know Harlee wasn't just a dog, he was a cherished family member sent here to us for a reason. We may never know why his life ended so shortly, but we do know he made a difference in ours for the time that he was here. He kept us busy, he gave us love unconditionally. Surprising how much you can learn from "just a dog"

And here is 2009, another year we can make our promises to ourselves and make them become what we want them to be. I have all the same "resolutions" as most people. Exercise more, follow my healthier way of eating, be more organized and on task. Whatever your resolution may be this year, I hope you stop to think what you have learned in the years past. It isn't necessarily what we plan to do, but it is what we have learned along the way. Planning isn't anything unless we pursue it and make it happen. I hope we all see in ourselves a better person because of last years experiences. Welcome 2009.....I am hoping this is the year of finding "Me" again.....


Scott K. Johnson said...

What a year!

Wishing you and yours all the best in 2009.

Jill said...

Happy New Year! Hope its a great one :)

Lynnea said...

Wow....I feel like I could have written the first part of your post about what diabetes has taught you. I feel it's taught me so much in the past year that I can hardly begin to write it all down....but I know I should! I hope you have an awesome 2009!