verb (used with object), con·trolled, con·trol·ling.
1. to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command.
2.to hold in check; curb: to control a horse; to control one's emotions.
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No matter what changes we make, choices or sacrifices we implement, diabetes has a mind of its own. When diabetes says, "Stop what you're doing and deal with me!", the entire family has to drop everything and turn its focus to the ever-shouting and always taunting voice of diabetes. Simple choices of what or where to eat involve asking diabetes, "How will this affect you?". When deciding on family vacations, outings, or even our other children's extra curricular activities, we have to ask diabetes, "What do you think?" When my husband and I go out on dates, hang out with friends, or try to escape reality through vacations, diabetes raises its ugly head, smirks and taunts at us: " I am here. I am always here." That silent yell pierces our minds -the voice that only we can hear.
Each time we leave our house, we have to ask diabetes, "What do you need before we leave?" The pressure is overwhelming as diabetes gives us the list. " I need insulin, glucose tablets, juice, snacks, AAA batteries, the pump, the continuous glucose monitor, alcohol wipes, chargers, needles, lancets, multiple bottles of strips, the glucometer, the back-up glucometer, the reservoir, site changes, an insulated cooler, a penny, glucagon, a calculator, a book or app that list carbohydrate counts, a book or app that can track insulin etc.... God forbid if you forget something! Naturally, the one day you forget something, you run into a problem and need the exact item you are missing. The entire family then has to stop what they are doing and frantically rush home or to the nearest store to get the item. It does not matter if you are at the end of year play, recital, or at a championship game -someone has to leave and respond to the call of diabetes.
You may decide to test the limits of diabetes and turn your focus to another child's activities. It's only an hour, right? We can make it an hour without a problem. That's the time diabetes laughs and yells, " No! Pay attention to me!" Your confidence is quickly stolen, your focus diverted and the fight begins again, as you pull back the reigns and try to get diabetes under control.
verb (used with object), de·fined, de·fin·ing.
1.to state or set forth the meaning of (a word, phrase, etc.): They disagreed on how to define “liberal.”
2.to explain or identify the nature or essential qualities of; describe: to define judicial functions.
3.to fix or lay down clearly and definitely; specify distinctly: to define one's responsibilities. Synonyms:state, name, describe, detail, enumerate.
Diabetes you may control me, but you do not define me! I may not have a choice when you rear your ugly head. I may have to submit my physical responses to you, but the only One that can change me or decide the precise meaning of me and my family is God. I can choose my attitude, my response, and direct my family on how they should respond. I can inspire them with confidence and faith. I can direct their attention to their Heavenly Father, and assure them He is always with us, no matter what the situation. Throughout my life, in every hopeless situation I have experienced, the knowledge that I was not alone has offered me the most comfort. I can remind myself and my family that Christ is with us and there is always hope.
I have failed more days than I care to admit. I have allowed anger, frustration, hopelessness, sorrow and depression to rule my days on many occasions, but I take comfort in the thought that His mercies are new every morning. I know that sorrow is only for a night and joy comes in the morning. I thank God that when I fail, I can wait for tomorrow with confidence, because joy is promised to me and will soon come!
How do I not let diabetes define me?
I live in a constant state of prayer. Since Ryan's diagnosis, I have had a true revelation of my human frailty and so I search for God's help in everything. Having Him near comforts me; my focus is turned away from my circumstances and towards the God of all hope.
I have stated the simple words, " Will you pray for me?" more over the past year and a half than I have in my entire lifetime. In the past, I was nicknamed "The Machine", because I feel no pain and can suffer through any circumstance. I have truly come to the realization that I am not a machine. I cannot survive anything without God and His family, and I now know for sure that I can feel pain! Every day since his diagnosis, I have felt small twinges of pain in my heart, and have had many days of all-consuming, overwhelming pain -you know, the pain that you feel that you cannot survive. I have had to swallow my pride and the idea that I might be a bother to friends and family and have regularly asked for prayer from friends, family and church leadership. Prayer is the first thing that move God's heart and moves heaven into action.
I turn my eyes and heart to the God of all gods, The King of Kings, the Alpha and Omega, the One who is more than enough, the Great I Am, the God of all hope, my peace, my joy, my strength, the God of mercy and grace, my all in all, the God who is Holy and Just, the Savior that sits at the right hand of the Father and prays for me daily, my Savior and my Lord! Then I am moved from my circumstances to the presence of my Heavenly Father and the effect of my challenging circumstances are weakened.
The Word was given to us from our Heavenly Father. Jesus was the Word visiting us in the flesh. As we read the Word, we are visiting with Jesus and are reminded of His truth. Then confusion, sorrow and weariness dissipates.
Exercise and Healthy Eating:
I have always had an intense exercise program since I was a pre-teen. When you go through hard circumstances, the enemy always tries to steal any joy and comfort you might have. I still exercised after Ryan's diagnosis, but knew I needed to step it up a little. As a friend encouraged me to start an intense exercise program, I told her, "I can barely survive each day. How am I supposed to exercise six days a week?" However, I ignored my feelings and committed to a life change, and I was surprised how well I could do it! Even if I had to wake up early or sacrifice another activity, I had fun and was able to manage my stress better. Healthy eating just makes you feel better all together so that's helping too.
Time alone and with friends:
In life, busyness tries to steal these gifts from God. As a mom, I felt guilty leaving my children with caregivers or with my spouse. During this trial, my value for friends and personal time has strengthened. As guilt tries to visit me, I remind myself that this time is a gift from God. He is offering me strength through my friends and moments of complete rest.
As you walk through trials that seem to have full control and power over you, be reminded that the Bible warns us to expect trials and sorrow. The good news is, He also promised us that He would always walk with us and give us victory through Christ. Through the cross, Christ has complete victory over sin and our circumstances. As the enemy tries to turn your eyes to hopelessness and your circumstances, remind him of the victory of the cross!!!