Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The friendship collective

Sometimes it takes losing a friendship to remind you of the value of fabulous friends.

We have so many different types of friends in our lives. There are those who have always been there and always will. You may not speak to them all the time, sometimes go months between conversations if you live far apart. But they would be there if you needed them and you for them. A bond that remains strong at all times and pulls close only sometimes.

There are those who are new, and passionate and strong. Not in the romantic sense, but in the sharing of an interest, child or simply newly found common ground. You can’t wait to see them and see them often.

There are those who have been with you through the test of time. It may be through adolescence, through a loss, through relationships gains or breakups (isn’t it is funny how sometimes a new relationship tests a friendship more than the ending of one?), through marriage and children, sometimes when they don’t or can’t have children of their own; standing beside you and you beside them, sharing your lives together through friendship.

And then there are those that are transitional. Really important to you or to them at a point in time. But one day the friendship seems to have passed. Sociologists suggest that this type of friendship starts at the end of our schooling, sometimes at university. We learn to manage our expectation of certain friends, in certain ways, knowing that we may not be “friends forever”. It continues into adult life and becomes a challenge when the expectation of one friend falls into a different category than the other. This type of friendship intrigues me as much as it upsets me. As an adult I have certainly had my share of unexpected “unfriending” (and not just on Facebook). For me, it causes introspection, a questioning of what that friendship meant to me, whether I did something wrong or if it was simply transitional.

It also gives me the chance to reflect on all my friends. Those mentioned above and in all the other shapes and forms that form friendships. It reminds me to say thanks and to be appreciative as well as appreciated by those who I love.

Have you experienced transitional friends? And who have I missed? What makes up your friendship collective?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

“Mummy, please fix my pancreas”

For the first time today my little 3 year old begged me to remove her “diabetes”. She asked that her pancreas not be broken – over and over again.
In so many ways my daughter is so much older than her 3 years. We can have conversations about what it means to be high or low. She understands what her blood glucose levels should be and can read them on her monitor. She is starting to test herself and discuss the carbohydrate content of the foods she eats. We also discuss fats, sugar and protein. We talk about exercise and why it is important and also how it will impact her blood glucose levels. Before today my daughter had always soldered on. Very occasionally she would cry at a needle, but almost always she would take her 5 plus needles each day and 2 – 3 hourly blood tests in her stride.
She was a little high this afternoon and I was tired and in a cranky mood too – so maybe that instigated her self analysis. “Why do I have diabetes? Did you have diabetes when to were 3? Why do some people have type 2 diabetes? Why can they get better and I can’t?” She hit me with question after question. Most I couldn’t answer with anything better than, I just don’t know. When she asked me if one day her pancreas would get better it just broke my heart. In all honestly, I just don’t have enough faith in a cure. Not enough money is spent on type 1 diabetes. Not enough people understand what it means to have type 1 diabetes. Kids and adults with type 1 have an invisible disease to a large degree. Most of the time no-one knows they have type 1 diabetes.
I have shared with you a day in our lives before, my fears when my daughter is sleeping (that she won’t wake up), the constant monitoring of food, blood testing and needles and the common questions about why she has diabetes (“Did you feed her lots of lollies when she was a baby?” or my favourite “Don’t you wish you breast fed her?”). As time goes on I am getting better with the questions. At least people are interested enough to ask and this gives me a chance to explain type 1 to one more person – and maybe that one person will share with someone else.
If I believed in God I would pray for a cure, but all I can do is ask those who have a spare few dollars to donate to the JDRF (www.jdrf.org.au). If not today, next week, next month, next year or even 10 years from now. I would love for there to be a cure one day. In the meantime, small technological advances make life easier for those with type 1. And technology is something I do offer my daughter for hope – that and my 100% support. There are promising medical devices overseas that hopefully will reach Australia and be funded by our government.
We take it one day at a time – but today was a tough day emotionally for all of us.