If you read my previous post on health (on health, part one), you may have detected a theme: control, control, control. In so many ways the courses of our lives are affected by factors outside our control or influence (not always a bad thing!), but we still have choices. My choices are within my control. For the most part—because I live in a part of the world that has quality health care, because I have a job that blesses me with an excellent insurance plan, because I have access to information and the intellectual means to digest it, and because I want to—I get to choose the quality of health for myself and my children.
However, the occurrence of T1 is decidedly not an outcome of choices. It occurs well outside of our control. None of the efforts I have made to protect and nurture Madeline’s health over the past six years did a damn thing to prevent her from developing T1. Nothing I do now can stop it, either. Talk about a feeling of helplessness.
I don’t tolerate helplessness well. It is a state of being that has befallen me often in my life, a most unwelcome visitor that has quite soon been kicked out the door. I’m not naïve enough to believe that I can control everything in life, nor do I want to, in all honesty. But I don’t lay victim, either. I seek control wherever I can find it.
So while I quickly learned that there was no choice to be made that could have prevented T1 for Madeline, I have found that the choices we have managing it are varied and numerous. Choices mean increased control as well as the responsibility to make decisions that are as best for her health and well-being as possible. Medical providers. Treatment decisions. Nutrition. Activity level. Daily routines. Our attitude about T1 and it’s presence in our lives.
It is very, very difficult to sift through our choices and make decisions. It’s overwhelming and humbling, moment to moment. Let me be clear, though: I’m not complaining. There’s no poor us going on in our family. In the hours of reading I’ve done on T1, it’s astonished me how little choice was part of the treatment protocol even just 10 years ago, and how many more choices will become available in the future. So here’s a silver lining: I’m grateful that Madeline was diagnosed at a time when choices for managing T1 exist and are increasing, and when, by degrees, control is being restored. With the guidance of Madeline’s medical team, we will continue to consider our choices and make the best decisions we can. We will not, and therefore she will not, be a helpless victim of this condition, ever.