Today I began reading the book A Cure for Emma by Julie Colvin. For those who may not know the book “chronicles a mother’s quest to heal her child from a nearly invisible disease: type 1 diabetes”.
I purchased the book online the first day it came out. I had been following Julie’s progress on writing her book at her web page and I’m also friends with her on Facebook. I was eager to purchase the book for two reasons. One, because I was curious to see what she had to say, was curious to hear her story, her journey. We parents of kids with diabetes all have a story as to how we got here. We all have our lives before and after the disease entered our lives. I have always been interested in hearing other parent’s stories about how diabetes came to take up residence in their lives. I’ve read hundreds of stories written by other parents. And, there has not been one single story, not one, where I couldn’t feel the pain, the exact pain they felt when they learned that their child had type 1 diabetes. Whenever I read these stories it always amazes me that no matter how different we all are, no matter what our life experiences have been, we are all still, in our rawest form, the same. It’s weird and, at the same time, comforting to know that.
The second reason I bought the book was because part of the proceeds is going to support my most favorite cause in the world: finding a cure for type 1 diabetes. Not only is it going to support finding a cure, but it is going to what I believe to be the most promising research: Dr. Faustman’s research being done at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The book arrived in the mail several days ago. But, I finally got up the courage to start reading it today. Courage; why would I need courage to read a book? I read constantly. I really have no idea how many books I’ve read just this summer, but it’s a lot. I’m always excited about starting a new book. I was also excited to read Julie’s book. But, I was also scared.
You see, over the last 5 years I have honed the skill of pushing emotions down. I’ve learned to deal with the task at hand and not feel the moment. It sounds sad, really, when I say it. But, it’s true. It’s called survival. Because if I really took time to process all that type 1 diabetes throws at my child every day, I would be in the insane asylum or dead. Either way, I would be of no use to my child, who now needs me more than ever.
I knew that by reading this book I wouldn’t be able to keep those emotions at bay. And, I was afraid that once those emotions where brought to the surface again, they would overwhelm me.
I sent a little post to Julie that I would start reading the book Monday. Well, Monday came and went, as did Tuesday, and I didn’t start. I have no excuse. I just had surgery 5 days ago and have been lying around doing much of nothing. But, finally, today, I started the book.
I literally took a deep breath, opened the cover, and began to read. And, I’ve done better than I thought. I was on page 10 (“Then I scan her chest for signs of breathing, as mothers do the world over. I’ve always done this, even pre-diabetes. But, now I’m prepared at a moment’s notice for a crisis.”) before I had to blink back the tears.
I’ve made it to chapter 7 with no real break downs. I’ve stifled sobs a few times, but no actual tears have escaped yet. I’m not exaggerating when I say that most of the pages have been out of focus, blurred due to the tears in my eyes. Even the stories that seemingly don’t have anything to do with diabetes, like when she spent time with her long-lost friend who was dying of cancer, make me suppress the tears. Because I know that “seemingly” it doesn’t have to do with diabetes, but that in reality it does. In reality, once it’s in your life, everything, past, present, and future has to do with diabetes.
I know that a break down is coming. Eventually, the flood gates will open and I’ll weep for my child. My guess is it will happen tonight after Riley’s in bed. You see, I made a promise to myself that Riley would never see me cry about his diabetes. And, I’ve kept that promise for almost 6 years now. I don’t intend to go back on that promise now, or ever.
I’m going back to reading now. I just thought I’d give you guys a heads up. I’ve said countless times that this blog is my therapy. I will probably need lots of therapy after reading this book. So, there may be a blog explosion for a while. Or maybe not, maybe I’ll be OK. Actually, I know I’ll be OK. I don’t have a choice really. The question is: how much grieving will I have to do before I get back to a good place again?