Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, Eid Mubarak, Ramadan Kutlu Olsun

My life is chaos...or at least it feels that I sit here at a table covered in paperwork and a slew of other things to do, I wonder how is this ever going to get done? "This"..what is "this"? Everything?!! Its absolutely nutts. So much has happened in the last year its been unreal. Just when I think I have things under control, I am thrown another curve ball that rocks my world. And not just for me, but I feel like a lot of people have had a lot of stress, sickness and accidents in their life this year that they would otherwise take a big PASS on.

At the end of October, my son was diagnosed with juvenile, or Type 1, Diabetes. He was only 20 months old. This really wasn't expected and we do not have this running in our family, so it was quite a shock for us and has completely changed my life more than his or anyone else's.

Why does it happen..there are all kinds of theories, but everyone is more looking for a cure. I have tons to say about that..finding the cause to prevent it I think would also be a great idea. Too many kids have this as well as too many other diseases that we just didn't see in the past. Are we as a species getting worse as we multiply, or are we just killing ourselves through development, vaccines and the environment?

Erin is handling it very well, as kids often do better than their parents with these things - which makes it almost more heartbreaking. He is on an insulin pump, which we are informed is the best way to manage diabetes. I believe it, but it is very difficult to get to a manageable state for a toddler in the beginning. He doesn't mind having it at all. However, I think I can compare my emotional roller coaster to the highs and lows of his blood sugars. I should have been vomiting on a daily basis from motion sickness some time ago! I am currently on a leave of absence from work, and happy to be able to do that to support him and get some kind of normalcy in life again, but it has not been easy to say the least, and I do not know what to anticipate when I do return to work. I really do not know how parents who have children with more severe diseases handle it, I really really don't and my heart really goes out to them.

So, here we are at the brink of December and I feel like there is just so much to be done, so much that hasn't been done. We just finished the Eid holiday as they are called in the Arab world, or Ramadan in Turkey. The Festival of Sacrifice. It happened to fall on Thanksgiving this year - it changes every year like a lot of Muslim holidays as it still follows the Muslim calendar, based on the moon. It is called the Festival of Sacrifice to remember the sacrificing of Abraham's, or Ibrahim's (yes, the Biblical and Koran players are the same - oh as well as Judaism) son for God. Although from what I have read, in Islam, there is some grey as to which son he is to sacrifice...regardless, Ibrahim was up for it, even couldn't be distracted by Satan. Fortunately, in the end God stopped and said "sacrifice a sheep instead". ..I'm sure not in those exact words as God is much more formal, but you get the idea. To this day, there are still sheep sacrificed throughout Islamic countries.

This is also the same time that Islamic Pilgrims take a Haj and make their once in a lifetime journey to Mecca, the Islamic holy city located in Saudi Arabia. Thousands upon thousands of people go every year. Its quite an interesting site from what I've seen in pictures and media. I would love to go observe, but this will never happen. You have to be a Muslim to enter Mecca for any reason - even business. And that's ok and keeps it special. I respect that. I still think it would be such an interesting thing to observe. However, I agree, if that can of worms was ever opened, they'd end up with a McD's and a Starbucks in one of the most sacred places on earth and I wouldn't approve of that either.

I was unfortunately sick the entire holiday, so it was good that we decided not to go anywhere for the holiday. We also didn't want to expose Erin to more potential to pick up a flu for just a few days of travel, so we decided to wait. We are not the panicking parents, but we have now learned that a child with diabetes is in a high risk group for flu and other illnesses. When they get it, it is critical. Kind of scary. It even scared me enough to get Erin a flu shot (the regular one, not H1N1) while we were in the US for his pump and treatment, which is something I am fundamentally against as someone who tries to go it more natural. It was a difficult decision for me. So, having not gone through any sick days with him yet, and blood sugars not yet under control, we opted to hang out in the warm weather of Dubai.

I cooked my Thanksgiving dinner early since I knew people would travel for the Eid days off. Did it a week early. Had our "Christmas Group" of close friends over - those that were in town - and did the Turkey, home made pies, all that stuff home made. Honestly, I don't know where I got the energy at all. I don't know where the motivation came from; what was I thinking? I had been so incredibly down the last two months, but despite the diabetes, despite my husband loosing his father this year, my friend loosing her father, another lost her grandmother, and many other tragedies for a not so great year, I knew we still had a lot to be thankful for. I managed to pull it off and we had a nice dinner. I was exhausted, but so glad I did it to be with close friends again and laugh.

Despite the chaos and stress of it all, the mountain of things to do staring at me, and the uncertainty, I am thankful. I have had the most difficult two months of my life, and I hope that is the most difficult I will ever have to endure. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I have never felt so shocked, alone or afraid. So, I didn't have a choice, couldn't have prevented it, but somehow my son ended up with this disease. I HATE it. However, a very manageable one. The important thing is I still have a very happy and healthy son. And for this, I am thankful.

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