Let’s start something here. I hope you’ll read this and then in the comments share your amazing T1D accomplishment — or share a “Cant” you want to change to “Can and Will” for yourself or your loved one with T1D. Let’s inspire one another.
If there is one word we all need to strike from our T1D vocabulary, it’s this:
I’ve seen a lot of “cant’s” being used in the past week or so. Part of it is back to school and entering fall sports and starting new jobs. It’s scary – for sure – to start something new when you – or your child – had Type 1 Diabetes. One family went on the news to say they could not send their daughter to her school because it has no full-time nurse (and they could not put her on the bus without a nurse). To be clear: I absolutely believe that every single school needs a full-time nurse. And heck, that’s not just about diabetes. That’s about allergies and reactions and yes, injuries. When my daughter was in school, our elementary school nurse literally saved a child’s life on field day. That’s right – when the EMT’s came, they said had that nurse not been there, they don’t think the child would have been saved. But that’s beside the point. I found myself wishing those parents had not said “can’t.” Instead, I wish they had said “She WILL go and we WILL figure it out.”
I also heard folks saying their son could not play football because of his pump; their daughter could not go on the field trip because of diabetes; their child could not go to a certain party because the parents did not get it. A few said their teens could not live at college because of diabetes.
It reminded me of our mantra as Lauren was growing: “Ask yourself: what would your answer be without diabetes on board. And that, right there, is your answer.”
I worked hard at doing that. And while I think the parents of today have so much information it’s easy to be more scared than we were (there kind of was something to being somewhat in the dark…. What you don’t hear cannot scare you) I find myself wishing they’d stop with the “Can’t”
And then I saw THIS. I mean … just stop right now and watch this and ask yourself if there is ANYTHING a person with T1D cannot do.
That got me thinking back to some amazing folks I’ve come across in my time. Like Will Pericak, newly minted defenseman for the Chargers (he was with the Ravens but dropped. Their loss!) . I had the delightful experience of interviewing him, and loved his take on life: no excuses. Go for what you want. Let your results speak for you. Don’t freak out if someone questions your diabetes impact – sometimes it’s the right question to ask.
And Charlie Kimball – race car driver extraordinaire, whom I got to meet this summer. That guy is not letting ANYTHING slow him down, much less T1D.
And my daughter. She’s interning on Capitol Hill, charging toward her dream of serving the nation. This morning she woke up in the 300’s and sick from it. Know what she did? Took a shower, took a correction, boarded the metro (prayed to not get sick on the metro) and headed into work. It’s an important day on Capitol Hill, and she was absolutely going to be there to play her role. No can’t in her vocabulary, that girl.
And then I thought of Ethan. I knew who Ethan was because I know his awesome D-Mom, Tiburon. I watched from the distance as Ethan took part in Hope on Two Wheels this past summer, pedaling as part of a team more than 200 miles in one ride. And then in August, I got to ride next to him (quite literally most of the time) on my own 100-mile JDRF Ride to Cure adventure.
Ethan is a hoot. He’s always smiling, and has a way of charging along and making you pick up your pace too. That day, he was an inspiration to me every single mile. I might have been tired or hot from time to time – but this kid was managing blood sugars while I was just managing heat, tired bones and 100 miles. He made it the entire ride … and found out a week later he’d done it with a broken bone.
No can’t in that kids vocab.
So I ask you today to strike it from your thoughts, your words, your beliefs, your plans. When in doubt, watch that Ironman video again.
There is NOTHING a person with T1D cannot achieve in this life. Sure, it’s harder. But honestly: all this just makes you smarter. And cooler. And way more fun.
Ethan is my proof of that.