The last few days have got me thinking about my daughters T1D and whether or not I was qualified to take care of her. My initial reaction is to say how unprepared we were to care for her. After thinking about it for a while, I think our whole adult lives have been prepping us for this moment.
Let me preface by saying this is not about religion. You can insert any reason for these events happening you want. God, Fate, Karma, Statistical Anomaly, or Sheer Dumb Luck. Either way it happened. I also want to say that I am in no way fishing for compliments. I am in the military and my life has been abnormal to say the least. It is however, the most humbling thing I have ever experienced for someone to “thank me for my service.” The fact is that so many have paid the ultimate sacrifice and it feels almost wrong to take away from their sacrifice. Either way this is not about that.
- You never really get “comfortable” with sleep deprivation. When my daughter was diagnosed and we brought her home it was almost like having a newborn all over again. We were checking her BG every 2 hours. Surprisingly I was able to still function at a high level with the sleep deprivation. The feeling seemed “familiar”. I realized that I have stood countless hours of watch in an exhausted state while being deployed. I’m not the only one. The US servicemen are masters at performing complex and precise task while in a sleep deprived state. No one else in the world can match them. If you need someone to perform complex life threatening task on little to no sleep, I choose them.
- Communication is key within a T1 parental relationship. 2 days after I got married I left home for 45 days and 3 months later I deployed for another 6 months. My wife and I learned how important communication was and most importantly how to communicate effectively with each other. We crossed that bridge long ago. While we are not perfect I still believe we have a really great handle on it.
- My kids are resilient. Military kids and spouses are by far the most resilient individuals in the country. They deal with long separations, missed milestones, and quickly adapt to new environments. I missed my daughters first three birthdays and she was diagnosed with T1D 2 weeks before her 4th birthday. I watched her first steps with 37 other guys on a big screen from hundreds of miles away. They have been through deployments, new schools, new states, new houses, and now new diseases.
- When my wife was 4 months pregnant with our first we moved across the country to San Diego. She was born and raised in Virginia. We had no contacts or family in California. We were forced to reach out to strangers for help and we learned how to trust and discern people. T1 parents need to be comfortable with reaching out to complete strangers for help.
- 2 years ago I had the choice of pursuing a PHD or staying in the military. I stayed in and now have some of the best benefits of any job in the country. Imagine what would have happened if I’d left and we didn’t have any healthcare.
- I just finished a graduate degree in Engineering. This particular degree deals with understanding statistical trends and developing mathematical predictive models after taking a holistic approach and trying to look at problems from new and never thought about perspectives. Bells should be ringing for anyone who has ever looked at a CGM printout and tried to figure out whats going on and whats next.
- Unfortunately T1D runs in our family. That means we were familiar with what it entailed therefore weren’t so completely shocked about how to deal with things. We also have the ability to reach back to those family members for advice.
- My wife is taking her turn at grad school and is getting her Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist degree. We are also blessed to have a very dear friend who is a psychologist that deals primarily with T1D patients. Bottom line is that we have access to tools that help us cope with the emotions and empathize with others and each other.
I hope this post is read in the same intent that it was written. It is not intending to brag or boast. It is simply looking at what attributes in our life prepared us for this moment. I am attempting to understand why “God” chose us to be the parents of this beautiful little girl.
I would be interested in how you think your lives prepared you for this moment. Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.