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This is Caleb...


I was in fourth grade when I became four-eyed. I wore glasses every day until eighth grade when I got my first pair of contacts. I wore contacts for more than half my life until my eyes couldn't bear the irritation and then started wearing glasses again almost every day.

For years I dreamed of getting my eyes corrected surgically. I discussed it with many who did and praised the results. "Life-altering." "Best decision of my life." "Worth every penny."

There was a concern for me because I heard those with an astigmatism might not be a candidate. I was also distracted with more important things like three little ones running around the house with a continuous rotation of needing my attention.

Then about a year ago I took the plunge and went for a consultation for LASIK. I was interested, but didn't know if it would work for my eyes.

I got the thumbs up. No problem. They could do the procedure and bring my eyesight to 20/20. "What date are you available?"

I made an appointment and drove home. I had about an hour's drive and on the way I started to let this sink in. I was going to be able to see. I would wake up and see. I wouldn't have to feel awkward wearing glasses. I wouldn't have to deal with contacts and irritation and supplies. No more worry about the expense, or insurance coverage or prescriptions or keeping up with it all. I would just open my eyes and be on my merry way.

I hadn't before let myself really consider what it would be like. I'd been doing it for as long as I could remember. I was self-conscious about it and it was a nuisance, but it's what I needed to do so I could see. I didn't know anything else and for the first time I started to get excited about life with eyes that worked.

And then it hit me. It hit me like a frying pan smacked right in the middle of my face.


If I could be this joyful about getting my blurry vision corrected, the depth of the elation at the prospect of getting his pancreas repaired would have to be at least a hundredfold of what I was feeling.

My joy went to sorrow and I wept the rest of the way home. I felt guilty about having the option to fix my broken organs when Caleb, and so many others, do not. I considered not doing it as an act of solidarity - if pancreas' can't be fixed then neither can my eyes. But logic won out over emotion and I went through with it.

I can see now. For a year I have woken up and gone on my merry way. It's nice and I am happy for it. But my joy about it has never been what it was for those brief moments on the ride home from the consultation. It is neither life-altering nor the best decision of my life. Whenever I think about it, my thoughts are always directed to what cannot yet be fixed.

Until all pancreas' can be made to properly secrete insulin, I will not feel celebratory about my vision. I want for Caleb what I felt for those few moments on that ride. I want that for all those with diabetes.

Views: 142

Tags: Caleb

Comment by Bradford on April 26, 2012 at 10:24am

I know I already mentioned it, but I definitely got tears in my eyes reading the end of this Lo. Thank you for sharing about this. I too look forward to celebrating the day when all pancreases properly secrete insulin again :)

Comment by jrtpup on April 26, 2012 at 10:50am

Tugged at my heart! You remind me of the post I haven't made in the 'You Know You're A Diabetic When...' thread. You know you're a diabetic when the joy can be stolen in a flash from wonderful events.

I celebrate your renewed vision for you, as I'm sure Caleb does :)

Comment by Gerri on April 26, 2012 at 12:39pm

Made me weepy also. Beautiful. Good to fix the things we can & hold out hope for the currently unfixable.

Comment by Jacob's mom on April 27, 2012 at 5:15am

this reminds me abit about life with a child with diabetes somedays things go along smooth and you almost forget what you are dealing with. other days not so much, often when i am alone on my way to work i cry if he has had a bad night, day, moments.. just because of all he holds alone ( he doesnt share much about his D except with his family, mostly me.) but most of the time he is a happy kid dreaming of his future and does live his life, forgetting in between boluses and pod changes. but it is always there, but i guess that is life joy and suffering, joy and suffering trying to be less reactive to what ever arises and maturely handle what ever life brings, not as easy for our children to process though. glad your surgery went well, be thankful for all blessings and all the joy you find with caleb. also wishing for a cure but trying to live in the moment. amy

Comment by MM on April 30, 2012 at 9:00pm

I was also moved by your blog, but for different reasons. I've been T1 for 47 years, since age 5, and all I know is life with diabetes. I don't think much about a cure, or life without D. It's just part of my life and who I am.
I remember growing up and hearing about how 'if only' they could 'fix' me, as though I was broken, or I was a defect. My diabetes alert card said 'My problem is... ', and it bothered me. They never said it, but I felt I was such a burden to my family because of my 'problem', that no one could fix.

I wondered why couldn't they just accept me as a person with D, instead of feeling sorry for me, and saying how terrible it was to live with such a horrible disease. Even when it wasn't said out loud, I would feel the sorrow and pity.

I enjoyed it when they told me how proud they were when at age 7, I learned to do my own injections. (and needles back then were huge !). And when they commented how brave I was when I didn't cry, and they knew the injections hurt. ('Fortunately', no daily BG sticks for me until my mid-20's).

It may be different for kids these days, but the most significant thing for me as a kid was to be accepted simply as a kid with diabetes, not a kid that needed to be fixed. So the title of your blog really caught my attention.

Comment by Jacob's mom on May 1, 2012 at 5:10am

I agree with you megaminx, acceptance is very important. as a mom of a 13 year old with type 1 it is helpful for me to here comments like these from adults with type 1. as parents we want to fix everything and obviously we cant, i absolutely catter to my son with type 1 over my other nonD son, however they have always had very different personalities, my nonD son is much more independent and not out of necessity. but anyways, i do try to encourage independence in jacob and praise him for doing well handeling his D and everything else in his life. yesterday was a tough day, he ran high because i gave him a new lunch and he didnt bolus correctly, the icecream truck came and my other son ran out to get a slushy, jacob was high and needed a pod change not a good time for a slushy, so he changed his pod, sulked and whined about how i dont understand what it is like to have diabetes... i gave him space, if i hover it is worse.. so he came around was happy at dinner we wrestled a bit before bed, makes him smile on the outside anyways..his words.. and he worked through it.. yeah it is tough.. he says i dont get what he goes though.. as a parent my burdon is heavy to, i think he knows but i dont say..i just try to keep him smiling and help him learn to just be a kid that just happens to have diabetes, i think someday he will be stronger for it. thanks for making me think again about my interactions with him, always learning and growing.. accepting what can not be fixed, at least for now! amy

Comment by Lorraine on May 1, 2012 at 5:48am
Thank you everyone for reading and commenting. I hope I didn't offend or make anyone feel like they were broken - that was not the intent and I don't feel like Caleb is broken. But, yes, I do believe his pancreas is and we take steps to compensate for that. As Jacob's mom said, it's helpful to hear perspectives from adults who have come through the various stages our kids have. I've written about this before - it's a gift as close to looking into a crystal ball as we could ever have. I remember dinstively speaking with Cliff Scherb and feeling as if I was almost speaking to a future Caleb and he was telling me everything was going to be okay. That was so valuable to me and changed me in a way. He gave me permission to stop worrying so much. So although I had these feelings of guilt at the time, it's not something I shared with Caleb, or anyone for that matter, until I wrote this post. Putting Caleb first as a child, has always and will always be a priority. He has diabetes and we accept that and make accomodations for it to be sure he can do everything he wants to do. What he wants is decided first and how we get there is figured out next.
Comment by Jacob's mom on May 1, 2012 at 7:06am

Hi Lorraine, i agree with everything you just said, we hold our fears and concerns alone many times, that is what is nice about sharing on tu, sometimes your read something someone else said it it brings up what is happening right now in your life so you share, it is nice to be heard by others that get it, even my husband who take great care of jacob when i am at work does not get my emotional commitment and just commitment in general to making things better for jacob. the last line says it best they decide what they want ( within reason!) and we work around it, they have an organ that doesnt work so they, we need to be more vigilant about compensating for this it does not diminish who they are or who they can be. i am positive our boys will be more empathetic and stronger for this. in any case thanks for sharing and listening it helps so much. best wishes, amy

Comment by Lorraine on May 1, 2012 at 7:10am

"Within reason" - excellent point! ;)

Comment by MM on May 1, 2012 at 10:03am

Hi Lorraine - I was not offended, and certainly agree it's the pancreas that is 'broken'. I also don't know how it feels to be the parent of a child with D, and it's much different now than when I was diagnosed in 1965.

For me, having diabetes definitely made me a stronger, and more empathetic person. It helped me realize how just about everyone has different 'challenges', some more visible than others. And we ALL have to learn to change/improve what we can, and accept that which we can't. (and have the wisdom to know the difference !)


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