I have diabetes. Life slowed suddenly and unexpectedly. I was reeling. I didn’t eat sugar. Have lost a ton of weight and exercise daily. How could I have diabetes? For the first few hours after hearing the news, I was incredibly despondent. Why now? Why me? Then, getting ahold of my emotions, I slowed my roll.
Life changes on a dime.
I know this. I’ve lived it more times than I can count. I’ve made it through all of the other times life threw me a curveball. I would make it through this. Did I want to? No. Would I have chosen not to have sucky genetics? Yes. Did I have a choice? Not in getting diabetes, no. But I did have a choice on how I handled it.
It is a pointless waste of energy fighting something you cannot change. Sure, I could wail to the heavens and live in denial. I could bury my head in the sand and hope it magically went away. I could do a lot of things that would hold off the reality of the situation for a while. Or, I could dig in. Learn, research and find a way to pull some good from it.
I did what I always do. Research, learn and acclimate. Because life happens whether we want it to or not and we can either let it break us, or we can adapt to our new normal. Never easy. Never, ever easy. It is what it is though and what that is will be totally what you make it.
The three weeks following that phone call have flown in an instant. I was two weeks into April before I even realized it. 14 hour days in ICU with his dad, home only to sleep and change, then back to the hospital first thing in the morning for rounds. Scary terms from Doctors. Bleak outlook. Millions of tubes, wires, and pumps. Constant beeping. Teams of doctors, nurses and techs working nonstop. Hours spent sitting in waiting rooms with strangers who were walking a similar journey. Holding your breath when the doctors came in because it was never, ever a good sign when they came themselves, as it was usually an indication, someone’s loved one had passed away. Yet, while your heart broke for the family losing a piece of their world, you clung to the hope you wouldn’t lose part of yours.
Exhaustion has permeated every single cell of my body for the past three weeks. Fear and sadness have been constant companions. It has been gut-wrenching to watch my Father In-law struggle with the reality of his mortality. Seeing him dig deep into a well inside of his soul to fight his way back from the edge of life. He did it, too. After many surgeries, he is finally, slowly, moving forward. Out of ICU, into rehab and now, for the moment living with us.
All within the past three weeks.
Life changes on a dime.
Eventually, things calm down. The pieces of chance fall where they may, and you know for the moment where they land is entirely out of your control. Life is happening and regardless of how much you struggle, fight or deny it – things are going to change whether you want them to or not.
I most definitely have not asked for any of the changes I’ve had to acclimate to over the past month or so. I didn’t want to change my life to accept diabetes. I didn’t want to be pushed to the point of collapse wandering the halls of the ICU waiting for word if his surgery was successful or not. He didn’t want to face the signs his body had been giving him for a long time. Yet, it forced the issue with the heart attack and now, while thankful to be alive, he is completely overwhelmed with how drastically his life is going to have to change.
Life changes on a dime and just because you are heading one way doesn’t mean something isn’t going to come out of left field, blindside you and send you careening to your knees, wondering what the hell just happened. How did we end up here? Why us? Why now? What did we do to deserve this?
All questions I have asked myself a lot lately. Bringing my Father in law into our home to help ease him into his life changes and new normal means all of us are walking into a new normal. What our lives looked like a month ago is not even remotely close to what it looks like today. It would be so easy to cling to what was but doing so serves no purpose. What will be is going to happen and you can either drive yourself crazy lamenting on the injustice of it all or you can dig in and get to know your new reality. It doesn’t happen overnight. No one is ever just okay with massive changes that come out of the blue.
But you do what you have to do.
I became so focused on helping everyone else adapt, I forgot myself. Telling myself, there are only so many hours in the day, and I will get to me eventually. I know better. I can’t help anyone else if I run myself into the ground. The chaos of all of the changes and trying to figure out how to put all the new pieces together in some cohesive fashion had me spinning in circles. I had to remind myself to breathe and center. Retreating to the still calm within our own soul, that place we all have where the world and all of its craziness cannot penetrate is imperative when life gets mind boggling.
I needed a break from the chaos. I needed time with my words and my muses. I needed silence. I couldn’t hear my own thoughts and those thoughts were what was going to get me through to the other side of this particular life storm. I needed to stop long enough to embrace the knowledge that things are going to look a lot different in my life for a while and to make it all work and come together I need to make peace with this. I didn’t want to change direction at this point. What I have been working towards on my horizon did not include anything that I now have in front of me and part of me cries inside because of this.
You acclimate to a new normal because life demands it. Step by step you find your way. It won’t be easy, but you will be better for it. Stronger. Life isn’t always fair, but it is one beautiful journey. For there are moments to be had that will come out of the blue and take your breath away by the sheer joy within them. Happiness and contentment can and will be found if you do the work needed to learn and acclimate. Embrace instead of fight. Release that which you cannot control and focus only on what you can. Mostly, you control how you handle it. Cry. Scream if it makes you feel better. But then, refocus yourself.
Just keep moving forward. Slow or fast, whatever. Baby steps until you feel stronger. Then, once you find your stride – keep going. Own your world just as soon as you can and know that nothing will ever stop you because you are far too strong, far too experienced and far too amazing to be kept down for too long.
Believe it. Learn it. Live it.