What a great run today. Short, sweet and sunny…it reminded me of Jake ;). I met Jake’s parents, Vadrian and Jeff, during a T1D class at Children’s Hospital, about 6 years ago (Vadrian, how can that be? Six years already? Phew!). I was there by myself, it was a refresher course and if my memory serves me correct it was on nutrition.
I can still picture that day during class, trying to keep up with the nutritionist while secretly wishing Tony would have gone instead of me. Sometimes it just gets to be too much, I know that at one point I just stopped taking notes. My head was spinning . I imagine as it is with any new diagnosis, there is an overwhelming amount of information given to you, or sometimes what feels like, thrown at you. T1D is no different, in a flash you become a dietician, mathematician, nurse, doctor, nutritionist, insurance agent, school liaison, advocator, educator and… your child’s pancreas.
Today on my run I thought of Jake and Vadrian and how they have moved forward with such confidence and commitment. Jake is a wonderful little boy, every time I see a picture of him all I can think is “He’s just a little burst of sunshine“. So today’s sunshine was all Jake.
Tony and I ended up taking a different trail, I don’t know why I hesitated, but I did. I think I’m seeing a pattern here, I guess I like structure more than I care to admit. I was glad that we took the new trail, it felt fresh. It wasn’t too crowded with walkers and dogs yet, there were a lot of ducks on the water, and it was a little windy but not too bad. It wasn’t long before I started to feel my shoulders relax as the sun smoothed over my rough edges. Change is good.
There was an elderly couple walking in the opposite direction that I was running, and as I passed them a second time the woman smiled at me and said “2”, I laughed. So on the third loop when I considered stopping, I thought “Well, crap, I can’t stop now, she’s counting” and I kept going. In fact, I ended up feeling so good that I added another 1/2 mile to my original plan. It was one of those times where it felt like we could have kept going, but Tony is tapering and I had 175 miles to ride on my bike over the weekend, and I could hear them calling my name. I’m not kidding. I am going to ride those miles. (I made a vow to ride one mile for every dollar donated this last Wednesday and Thursday).
Thinking about the woman counting for me made me smile, it’s something that I picture Vadrian doing for me. Keeping track, giving me a nudge, smiling at me, keeping me going. Like my other D-Mom friends, Vadrian’s friendship is an unexpected gift that came with this journey. I have been blessed with so many amazing women in my life, and I am doubly blessed to have such strong D-Mom’s in my life that help me fill in the gaps and keep me moving forward.
Vadrian has been there for me more times than I can count. I can go to her with anything. We share, we stress, we shake our heads. She lets me have my mini D-vents, she never judges and we can still laugh when we feel like crying. She gets it.
Jake continues to thrive and doesn’t let anything come between him and what he wants to do, especially not T1D. Here is what Vadrian shared with me earlier today about Jake and her family-
“Jake was diagnosed at age 2, and is now almost 8 and in 2nd grade at the Milwaukee German Immersion School. He’s a great student, and is involved in scouts, violin, and karate. We do our best not to let T1D hold him back from anything in life. I enjoy volunteering regularly at his school, which allows me to oversee his diabetes care as well as help in his classroom and school – a real win, win!
The three of us in our family are very close, and spend a lot of time together. As parents, we don’t miss much in Jake’s life, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. We just absolutely adore him!”
We adore him too.
Today the T1D community wraps up Diabetes Awareness Month. Did I do all that I could do? I hope so. Did I raise awareness? I think so. Is there more I could do? Always. I am so grateful to have all of these wonderful D-family’s in my life. Families taking it all in stride, taking T1D head on, and never giving up.
Thank you Jake and Vadrian for sharing your story with us. Thank you for your commitment to raising awareness and for your strength and optimism. Shine on Jake!
Vadrian and Jeff continue to be top fundraisers for the JDRF walk in Milwaukee, WI. They have worked very hard over the years and each year their team, Jake’s Jaunt, commits itself to advocacy and research. To find a JDRF walk in your area please follow the link below. There you will find out how you can volunteer, walk or donate. Thank you!