Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quarter of a century

This marks my 25th year with diabetes. A worthy feat, particularly since I'm turning 30 years old on Feb. 1. With my diabetes anniversary, also comes the one for my mother marking her 50th anniversary. We both have cause to be thankful, as we've been blessed to have no serious ramifications of complications at this point.

When she was diagnosed at 5, docs told her parents she wouldn't live past 21. That was back in the mid-50s. Obviously, that worked out. My prognosis was much more optimistic by the time this 5-year-old got the news in the mid-80s, though the looming fear of complications clouded the manageability. Years later in the teens, I heard from docs that if my poor control and high A1Cs continued I likely wouldn't live to see 30. Well, that clock is counting down on that one. Only a few weeks to go - (here's me knocking on the wooden desk...)

While alive and relatively healthy, both mom and son have encountered bumps in the road, of course. She's got her own, and I'll leave those untouched as this is my blog and my story. I have the initial onset of complications and am in by no means good control, but we must look at the positives and move forward, not dwell on the past. In the fourth year of marriage and wanting to start a family, not to mention just feel better all around, that notion of tight control is on the mind. As it should have been all along.

But I can see my wife, dog, cat, and all things at this point despite the reality that retinopathy has started. I'm able to walk with all my limbs, though neuropathy is there and the pain is sometimes shooting enough to keep me restless and awake all night. Not to mention the potential side effect of chronic foot and ankle issues, possible from poor circulation - all of which has led to the inability to walk or run or sometimes golf or run around with the dog outside. My kidneys and other internals appear to be working, so the doc says.

So, the goal for 2009 - to test 8 to 12 times daily, write down each test as I go to give myself some sense of accomplishment and initiative to continue, to accurately measure all foods and count carbs and dose for what I'm eating, and to change my pump sites more regularly than now. This is all very long overdue, and it's something that's been started and kept up and eventually abandoned, so many times before.

I'm a diabetic, and while it doesn't define who I am, it's a part of me that cannot and willnot be ignored and seemingly swept under the rug. Not at 25 years when complications are already starting..... Too much to live for to let this get me now. There's that 50-year mark I have to make it to, and beyond. It's not just possible, it can be a reality if I start NOW.

So let it begin.... (again). This time, let it last.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Living On

Heard a great song by Kenny Wayne Shepherd - Live On. An awesome four-minute experience, even at the 2 a.m. hour.

No coffee, but enjoying some Irish or English Breakfast Tea that was part of a Christmas gift box from the parents. The dog is curled up in a ball on her blanket by the window, as I sit here typing on the home computer in our disorganized and far from clean office. Wife is sleeping down the hall, nice and snug I know as I've checked on her and laid next to her more than once. But tonight is one of those times when sleep just isn't coming easy, possibly because of aching legs and feet, much on my mind, and just simple restlessness at week's end.

Of course, sitting in front of me - while I sit here with headphones strapped on and the music blaring - is a wonderful reminder of How Lucky I Am. A card that says just that. From Suzi. Just a no reason, on the spot reminder from her one day. So, it brings a smile at this late hour and lets the mind wander about life's examples for my blessed life.

Anyway, the song. Symbolizes life, and while it does have some depressing hints, it's a song about hope. Something we can all look forward to with the tough economic times hitting hard, and a historic time where we'll soon be welcoming a new president that symbolizes that hope.

Might be cold out, but you just hold out. The sun is going to shine your way.... Know it's true. I'm living proof. This road is hard, and long.... If I could find a way, and I'd take your place, but you just gotta live, Live On.

We're blessed on this end. We are attending church regularly, finding faith and recognizing how good we really have it. While you can find downers in anything, there's always hope.

This new year time is always energizing, and I'm reticent to make resolutions simply for the sake of making them and jumping on that bandwagon. But my wife inspires me to do better, and church is reinforcing what's really important and what we shouldn't be doing in life, and so it's time to make at least one.

Putting things into perspective: approaching 30 in less than a month, after a year's worth of family history research and rediscovering religion and what it means for my wife and I.... All of that makes you look at your life, what you've done and what you haven't, and where you need to go.

So....

1. Health. Daily blood testing and logging my results down as I test. Why? Because I am diabetic, and the year 2009 means I will own it, not the other way around. This doesn't define my life, but it can't be ignored or put on the backburner - it dictates how everything else in my life will play out.

2. Church. We will continue our journey together, discovering and relearning what that means and how it will shape our lives.

3. Family. More love. More appreciation. Appreciating everyone, loving those with us, remembering those no longer with us, and envisioning what will be once others who may one day be part of the family.

There's so many more, as each of the above have many countless subpoints such as reading and study, enjoying relationships and going through life with great friends, doctor's visits that mean juggling work schedules, and balancing those day-to-day priorities to make sure the Big 3 stay at the top of the list and aren't lost in the shuffle.

Team effort - me, us, God, friends and family, those we encounter each day. But we Live On. Here's to that for 2009, and beyond.