J Kate
By J Kate Latest Reply 2012-04-10 14:18:08 -0500
Started 2012-04-04 16:59:13 -0500

I remember about 2 months after my four-year-old son was diagnosed a relative asked if I would like her to come over for a weekend and watch the kids to give me a little respite from diabetes care. Not sure if it was the dark circles under my eyes from night hypo patrol, the fact that I hadn't worn make-up in months, or perhaps it was the hair… probably the hair. My first thought (which lasted about .0005 seconds) was "Wow, that sounds so amazing". My second thought kicked me in the stomach, and instantly brought an indescribable pain in my chest and tears to my eyes. The thought? "If I feel exhausted, worn out, and a need to escape… what must my son feel like? And barring a major medical breakthrough, he will not get a respite for a long time."

I'll never forget that moment. It has stayed with me always. Yes, even on night hypo patrol, especially when it was scary. I never could feel sorry for anything I went through because I love a diabetic. Why? At any point I could walk away for a break and no matter how much I wanted, I could not give him that gift.

And so, we looked for other escapes, even if it was just an hour. A blessed hour or two that we didn't think about what we were going to eat, or when we need to test again. We read a library full of books together and escaped with the Swiss Family Robinson, Harry Potter, and Leven Thumps. We made blanket forts in the family room, pretended to be alligators in the pool, and shot a large amount of soda cans to pieces in the desert.

Escape to me is that piece of our soul that says "D, you don't own me. Whatever you dish out, I'm still in charge."

My son is too grown up now to want to escape with his mom, but I still encourage him to take time for himself. So he fishes, hikes, snowboards, and he still shoots cans to pieces in the dessert. (Some things are still fun no matter how old you get.)

I'm a strong believer that everyone needs an escape.

What's yours?

25 replies

roshy 2012-04-06 21:00:17 -0500 Report

Reading your story has reminded me of a number of experiences ive had with my own diabetes in the past.

It truely represents the fact that the person with diabetes does not go through it alone; they family go through it together and that's very important.

Diabetes can capture feelings of invasion, intrusion, entrapment, relentlessness and helplessness so learning how to escape is important to surviving it.

I think for me its the simple things that help me escape it and manage it. Remembering that i have a purpose and i dont need to go it alone. I dont need to brave all the time and try to manage it by myself.

Its very touching to be reminded that mother never stops being a mother. And a mother of a diabetic child is just as heroic as the child.

Thanks for posting!!

techguy87114 2012-04-06 13:02:13 -0500 Report

You're never too old to hang with your MOM! maybe you two could do lunch or go shopping… his time is important but your time together is as well..

Great story! thanks for sharing..


Caroltoo 2012-04-06 01:26:29 -0500 Report

My primary escape is into nature. I bask in the beauty around me, pick the flowers, walk on the grass, chase the butterflies, feed the ducks, watch the falling stars, and feel the sand between my toes. Another escape is through books, which I use to take me places I can't go physically right now. Diabetic Connect is also an escape for me, because here I can meet new people, have friendships, and feel supported.

Walking is another avenue of escape, so is running, biking, swimming, playing tennis, planting flowers, growing tomatoes, feeding the doves on my lanai, singing a song, playing with my cat, taking a hot bath, getting a massage, having lunch with a friend, or creating a new recipe.

In quiet moments sitting under the stars, hearing the night heron by the lake, and feeling the trade winds brushing my cheeks, quiet and meditative music brings me peace and serenity, allowing me to push the chaos from my mind.

I don't feel the need to escape from my diabetes. I have a routine which works for me and it is under control. I approach it with curiosity and I experiment with things that are/can be healing to me. In my world view, this is all positive and proactive activity, not stressful, nothing I need to escape.

What I feel the need to escape from is my husband's 10 year decline into Alzheimer's, from watching him slowly lose his personality and his mind, from feeling a vibrant and loving 35 year relationship withering away not from lack of nurturance and love, but from the existence of a disease process that is taking his life away from us.

He was a brilliant, outgoing, loving, very special man and now, somehow, he is both more and less. It breaks my heart.

J Kate
J Kate 2012-04-06 11:10:58 -0500 Report

Beautifully written Carol. You are a talented writer. You should write a blog. I love all the things that are your escape. It's an escape to read about it. Like I was there. I love the sand in my toes too. I feel your sorrow and loss with your husband. I think we can all use an escape from something at points in our lives. I love that DC is an escape for you. The members here are some of the most incredible people I have ever come in contact with and I've never met any of them in person LOL. This is a great place full of inspiring people. There are many days I think I need to pinch myself because I have the coolest job in the whole world. :) It is so wonderful to know you.

Caroltoo 2012-04-06 11:32:21 -0500 Report

Thank you, Kate. You have been a wonderful addition to the Alliance family. As I reread what I wrote, I realized that writing is another escape for me and it helps me hold the good moments close to my heart.

Young1s 2012-04-05 16:17:54 -0500 Report

It's funny you bring this up, I was just saying to myself that I need a time out from my D. Some days it feels like all I do is talk about it, read about it, or think about it. I was prepared to have to center my daily comings and goings around getting better or doing better, but there are those days where I just want to stop the bus and get off for a moment.

J Kate
J Kate 2012-04-05 16:19:18 -0500 Report

I hear you. I was thinking about a summer vacation, but a D vacation would hit the spot right?

GabbyPA 2012-04-05 10:10:38 -0500 Report

I love your story. I think in a lot of ways it is hard to see your child deal with something like diabetes. It sounds like you taught him well.

For me escape is getting out of doors and camping. I feel so different when I am outside in a tent or around a campfire. It is like things don't matter the same. My levels always do well on my trips I find, as I am more active than my regular day. I was scared to do it at first, but it has been a blessing.

When I can't do that, my other escape is the garden. Watching things grow and seeing how nature takes care or even makes things harder. It is a great way to just be part of the cycle, and the plants don't care if I have to test my levels. Plus there is great satisfaction in knowing that growing my own food is also good for me.

J Kate
J Kate 2012-04-05 11:03:08 -0500 Report

I love both of those Gabby! There is something about being outside that is so invigorating. I also think gardening is such a great way to clear my mind. I once had a therapist that told me I'm to flighty and I need to be grounded. He suggested putting my bare feet deep in some freshly tilled earth, closing my eyes and picturing myself grounded to the earth. I thought it was weird, but it was a great experience. I enjoy shooting for the clouds, but sometimes I ground myself this way from time to time. I love that you also think about how growing your own food is good for you. It is such a good thought. :)

jayabee52 2012-04-05 13:26:22 -0500 Report

I grew up on the farm and now I have no contact with the soil. Sometimes I get a bit batty when I am too far removed from the soil (either farming or gardening) for too long. Looking forward to going back to my roots for a family reunion next July and renew my connection with the earth.

J Kate
J Kate 2012-04-05 13:39:05 -0500 Report

That sounds fun fellow farmboy-. Growing up on a farm is the best. My sister and I used to have a contest on the sharply pitched roof of our barn. We would climb out the hay loft up to the tip of the roof and see who could run down the closest to the edge. Looking back I can't believe how stupid we were. We did it all the time till one day when I flew off onto a pile of outdated farm equipment… I wasn't so interested in playing that game after that, as you might imagine… :)
It was only slightly better than my brothers game- who can start the biggest fire and still put it out. Wow we sound really dysfunctional… but a farm is a great place for a kid. My heart still aches for my horse Sugarboy. How I loved him.

I have been trying to think of a good vaca for this summer. It's my first summer being divorced, so it's different. I'm thinking about taking my boys to Dinosaur National Monument. They have some great hikes, fossils and hieroglyphics.

jayabee52 2012-04-05 14:11:10 -0500 Report

Sorry for the divorce (no matter who initiated it)

I had been divorced out of a 25 yr marriage about 11 yrs ago. It was really rough for me for the first 7 years (until I met Jem —- who helped to make it all better!)

Your game soundes dangerous and eventually painful. Not much "give" in lold farm equip. My brother and I did some stupid stuff too. We had bee bee gun wars. He was benind the barn door and I was prone behind the sandpile. He would pop out from the barn door and fire off a shot and duck back behind. He did that 2 or 3 times when I got the idea that if I trained my bee bee gun on the place he popped his head out of I'd nail him. Sure enough he popped his head out at the same place, I squeezed off a round and nailed him in his glasses (praise God he was wearing them at the time!) breaking the frame. (but not the glass lens) That scared both of us and we called off our little battle and he "dropped and broke" his glasses.

We knew if Dad found out we had been shooting at one another, we wouldn't be able to sit down for a week! (Dad was ever so stict about gun safety and literally beat it into us when we messed up.)

One time Bro D and I were with mom and we told about the battle and the busted frame. She said she wondered how that had really happened, now she knew. (Dad had been dead for several years by then, victim of a freak gunshot accident.) At least we only used Bee Bee guns instead of .22 cal or shotguns like some other boys in our general neighborhood did. (fortunately no one was injured at that time.)

I didn't like farm life when I was living it as I thought the "townies" had all the fun and the free time on their hands. Now in retrospect it was a glorious time in my life where I learned so much more than the other (townie) kids. It equipped me to be able to do so much more with my life than I would have been able to do otherwise.

I am aware of the Dino Ntl Monument, and wanted to take my youngest there as a father and son outing. But my youngest turned against me due to the divorce and is only starting to come inching back into one another's lives. He will at least talk to me now the during weddings of his older brothers. He is the last one to get married.

J Kate
J Kate 2012-04-05 14:18:09 -0500 Report

Thanks for sharing that. Sounds like A Christmas Story, LOL You'll shoot your eye out! Sounds like you have a similar divorce story. It's so horrible when one person turns the kids against the other. I have been going through a little of that, and I'm glad to see my son inching back too. Keep working with your son. they seem to get it the more time that goes by.
That's funny about the "Townies" I think we all feel a little of that at one point or another.However I would give a lot to go back just for an afternoon and catch a frog though…

jayabee52 2012-04-05 14:28:05 -0500 Report

I wanted my sons to experience farm life as I experienced it, but since they themselves had become townies it was not the same, and by that time in my younger brothers' lives they had become more "townified" (is that even a word?) and there were no animals to tend and few chores to do. So my intent, though good fell flat.

I don't now know what I really expected from a 2 week stay on the farm. I believe I had some unrealistic expectations. They did, however, get to meet their 1st and 2nd cousins.
I am hoping I can get my eldest son and his wife back to the family reunion before they go off to Japan for about 4 yrs for the US Navy.

J Kate
J Kate 2012-04-05 14:54:03 -0500 Report

That would be nice. 4 years is a long time. My brother is Navy. Quite a job. Tell him thanks for defending our country for me!

jayabee52 2012-04-05 15:44:41 -0500 Report

I will.

He is glad that he is still in the navy. He wants to be a "lifer" but for a while there the military was having a "RIF" (reduction in force) and he was afraid that he'd be cut. And in this economy it would be very tough for him to get a job. (last job he had in the Navy was a repairman for the propulsion system for frigates)

He was relieved that he was sent to Japan to serve on a destroyer in much the same capacity (propulsion systems) that he was in when stationed on a destroyer (Donald C Cook) out of Norfolk VA.

J Kate
J Kate 2012-04-05 15:46:59 -0500 Report

Wow, the best friend of my life has spent most of his 20 year career in the Navy stationed in Norfolk. I wonder if they know each other? Small world. =)

jayabee52 2012-04-05 15:50:20 -0500 Report

who knows? Inbox me the name and I want to call him this weekend and perhaps I will ask him. it would be interesting if they knew one another!