Sunday, September 19, 2010

In My Own Words . . . by Jim Houston

Nathan James & James Joseph Houston

Diabetes… A word.   A disease…. one that I had historically only given but a passing thought and maintained a level of understanding that could easily be described as faint and distant. Despite the millions of persons affected by this disease (many with struggles that have lasted near a lifetime) admittedly, for me, this disease has lived in relative obscurity and one in which I had little perspective for. Then, one year ago, we learned that our lives would be forever changed and frankly, there was not anything positive that could come from news that our son, Nate had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

It is amazing how much our lives as a family have changed over such a relative short period of time. It is still difficult to come to grips with how different our lives likely have changed as a result of one simple word. A word that carries with it, a complex series of emotional and physical challenges… Of course that word is diabetes - and what a challenging 12 months it has been. One year later, the perspective is understandably much different and the disease no longer lives in obscurity to me. Like so many readers of this blog, we live with diabetes daily and we see perspectives of the disease that few can understand unless you live with it daily. 
And so with that, I begin to look back and reflect on the past year. Anniversaries, a time which are used by most to reflect back on the aggregation of emotion, challenges, successes, comfort, event and tears. So on this “anniversary”, I decided to reflect on specific feelings, thoughts and emotions conjured as a result of Nate’s diabetes diagnosis one year ago. Immediately, a sense of guilt, fear and helplessness comes to mind, but those feelings were easy, predictable and instinctive to come up with, I guess. This was not the level of depth of thought that I wanted to produce this anniversary and moment of reflection, so I continued on…. As I mustered deeper thoughts, one word kept getting in the way of clear thinking…. This word was, “Thanks”…. A nonsensical word it seemed, to be introduced into my reflective thoughts and feelings surrounding such a horrible disease. I began to wonder if it is even possible to use the word “thanks” and “diabetes” in the same sentence.
Taking a step back but trying not to digress, I begin to see that although we view September 17, 2010 as the one-year anniversary of Nate having diabetes, it is likely that the seeds were planted long before September 17, 2009. It is quite likely that this seed was even planted well before Nate was born and although never a part of our plans, it certainly is part of God’s plan. I will circle back to this thought later, but for now, moving on…

Small but MIGHTY!    

So then, as I move on, where does “thanks” take me in this thread and why is this word confusing my picture so much? In order to dig deeper (and ultimately in hopes of moving on from the annoying thought of “thanks”) I decided to explore further and give “thanks” some time. My hopes were to move on from this noise, so that I could find more appropriate feelings to describe and share with others, the series of emotions endured by me over the past 12 months (it is amazing how thoughts can begin to fill in the voids when one opens the mind).

Immediately, thoughts of the enormous outreach, sacrifice and love received from the many family and friends over the year came to mind. Their gift of time, fundraising and overall effort donated to us as we deal with the daily challenges of our new normal and our contribution in seeking a cure. For that, we share a heartfelt “Thanks” that words are unable to adequately describe. 

We are thankful that we have a very special team of medical caregivers, specialists and team OmniPod that contribute to outstanding care and attention to Nate in the hope that we will be able to bring up an otherwise healthy young man, fully able to achieve all in his life that he is meant to and capable of. 

Thank you to our incredible 4- and 6- year old daughters who show an amazing unselfishness, patience and cooperation as their little brother takes a greater level of mom and dad’s time- just as there seems to be less and less time to go around each day. All of this in light of Sophia, our wonderful four-year old, who too is battling an auto-immune disease that she battles with admirably. Thus far, her ability to share her badly desired “mom-and-dad time” shows an understanding and maturity well beyond her years. 

A very special Thank You for providing this family with such a strong, determined and beautiful wife/mother that shows amazing strength, grace and resolve in providing unwavering dedication to helping Nate have an incredibly (albeit relative) normal life. He may never be able to appreciate her strength and understand the struggles and pain she feels daily, but those who know her best, do understand, and are very thankful that she is at the helm. 

And perhaps most of all, thanks to God for giving us the opportunity to be the caregivers to such a wonderful boy and the trust in us to help him grow and fulfill his personal destiny. Although we did not know it until one year ago, the plan for Nate was to include the burden of being diabetic. I can not express effectively my gratitude and thanks to be a part of this journey. Although we likely will never claim victory in our fight against diabetes and we continue to have much to learn in raising a young child with this disease, we can be thankful that we have made it thus far. We have grown as a family and as each day passes we become more capable. This road we travel, and all that lies before us, will never be mistaken for easy and, although diabetes is likely to be a burden Nate will carry forever, it is a challenge that I am thankful to be “Chosen” for, chosen to help him in his fight for life- and for that… I say from the bottom of my heart, “Thank You”. 

I close my eyes to sleep tonight, no longer looking for more “appropriate” feelings to describe my first year of challenges posed by diabetes. I rest well tonight understanding that maybe “Thanks” is the best description of my reflective moment, on this, my first year anniversary.


Unknown said...

What an incredibly beautiful post. A man after God's own heart.

David and Goliath....with your perspective, you've clearly already won the battle.

Laura, you are have a beautiful family.

God bless the road ahead. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

D Mamas said...

Beautifully put Jim. Nate is a lucky boy to have such a loving family looking after him.

I love the picture of Nate sleeping..Addison used to sleep just like that with his arms up over his head..the time goes by so fast!

Meri said...

After all the trials, all the craziness, how can we not be thankful for our beautiful resilient children? Thankful is a perfectly appropriate word.

I agree, you have a beautiful family, and an amazing wife. God bless all of you on this journey.

helen said...

I am truly touched by your words Jim. Perfect in every way.

Penny said...

Jim, thank you for your heartfelt word. You are an amazing man, married to an amazing woman, with amazing kids. They are a lucky crew. And sometimes, 'thanks' is the only prayer that is needed.

Unknown said...

WOW, beautifully written Jim. And, yes, "thanks" sums it all up quite nicely. Your family is beautiful. I have enjoyed connecting with your wife through the DOC. She provides unwavering support to us all.

Houston Family...YOU ROCK!

Lora said...

What great support and love you have Laura(from all angles). I think that makes all the difference in the jouney. You guys are all very blessed and that IS a lot to be thankful for.

Tracy said...

I loved reading this from the D Daddy perspective. Thank you, Jim, for opening your heart and sharing with the blogging world.

Definitely a lot to be thankful for!

Jim, this was lovely and moving.

I, too, feel thankful, and I know my husband does as well.

Great post!

Thanks to you Jim, for opening your heart and sharing with us.

Cindy said...

Thankful is definitely appropriate! Beautifully written and so incredibly inspiring! Thank you for sharing this with us, Jim! Laura, you are one very lucky woman and you both have such a beautiful family!

Renata said...

So Beautiful. It's nice to get a Dad's perspective, can't wait to read more.

Heather said...

So beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

Yes, like everyone said, you said it beautifully. We all have to be thankful that God chose us to face challenges like these. He knows we have all the love and understanding and patience to fight this disease. Kudos for a year of triumphs!

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Just a Mom

I am NOT a doctor, nor do I play one on this blog.

I AM a wife.
I AM the mom of 3 wonderful children.
I AM my son's pancreas.

The information provided on this blog is from our personal experiences with Type 1 diabetes. Because something works for us does not mean it will work for you.

Please consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your health care options.

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