Well, I blew my streak of consecutive weekly posts last week. There was a very good reason, though: LIFE!

But first: ART.

Back in June, my brother’s family dog, Tweed, passed away. He was 15 years old and had been struggling with several health issues for many years, it’s kind of amazing he lived as long as he did. In fact, the reason he did is because of the love and care my brother and his wife gave him. I know they were understandably both really broken up about his passing, my brother especially. Tweed couldn’t have asked to be part of a better family, and despite being nippy and curmudgeonly due to his health issues and age, he was loved very much. I’m sure he knew that. As has become my tradition now, I painted a portrait as a gift:


Alright, so I still have more posts in the queue, especially after missing last week. I haven’t accomplished much this week, but I knew I wanted to at least get a site update in. I’ve been debating whether or not to talk about what’s been going on, due to the personal nature, but I’ve decided it might be good to say something, because it could potentially have a positive impact on others or at least raise a little awareness.

Last week, my middle son was feeling run down. Lethargic. Abnormally tired. He was sent to the nurse at school 2 days in a row, but as he had no fever, he was sent back to class. Finally, Thursday morning, he threw up. He slept most of the day and appeared to be on the mend, but the nausea returned, as did complaints of chest pain in the late afternoon. Of course, at that point, it was after hours at the pediatrician’s office, so it was a while before I heard back from the on call doctor. By then, he had fallen asleep and I was advised to leave him be unless he woke up with the same complaints. Friday morning he slept late, and when I finally woke him up, nothing had improved.

I took him to the doctor immediately, and after a routine urinalysis, we discovered he was in the beginning stages of type I diabetes. Talk about being blindsided by a shot to the guts. After a stay in the ER, we were shipped to another hospital with a great pediatric endocrinology team who helped get him stabilized. His fasted blood sugar was high, and he was in a state of ketoacidosis (I may have spelled that wrong). Of course, it being Friday, the endocrinology team was gone for the weekend, so we were stuck there. It took until Sunday to get his blood sugar and ph normalized anyway, and then his potassium levels were low. We finally met with the team Monday and got a crash course in type I diabetes and how to manage it, but got stuck at the hospital until late that night because that weekend the whole hospital had switched to a new computer system and there were a lot of hiccups.

We’ve been home for 4 days now, and I don’t know that I’ve fully processed the last week. I’m honestly still in a fog and trying to figure out which end is up, trying to settle into a new normal. It’s definitely life changing, and it continues to be scary as a parent. But, type I diabetes is a very treatable, manageable condition. I’m always looking for the positive side of things, searching for the silver linings. It would be very easy to get depressed and focus on the negative in a situation like this, but I know no good comes from that. My son does not have a terminal illness. We don’t have to deal with what life is like without him. His diagnosis sheds light on some of his behaviors and problems he has had, particularly over the last few months. There is nothing he can’t do physically due to this condition. His life, and ours, just requires more planning and forethought. He is far from the only kid, let alone person, with type I diabetes, so we take heart in knowing that multitudes live long, productive, successful, healthy lives with it.

I also have to say I’m very proud of the way my son has handled his diagnosis. He has been very cheerful and not very negative at all. He doesn’t even mind the blood tests and insulin shots. Of course, the heaps of attention from mom and dad as well as missing a week of school probably play into that, but he seems to be taking everything in stride and with a good sense of humor. At some point, while bored out of our minds in the hospital for four days, I showed him that diabetes cat meme video thing. He thought it was hilarious and started saying “diabeetus” in his best Wilford Brimly voice. One night, as we were all trying to sleep in the hospital room, he in his “cool” hospital bed and my wife and I crammed onto one of those fold out bed/chairs, he broke the silence to say “diabeetus” and started giggling hysterically.

I know at this point in my “fame”, this blog only gets read by friends and family, if that. But, in the off chance there are other “fans” out there, I hope this personal story has an uplifting effect, whether you or someone you care about is dealing with diabetes or some other health or life struggle. Stay positive. Look for the good in every situation. Persevere. Make the most of the time you’ve got, no matter how long or short, because life is a gift you only get once.