The title of the email that I received from Geri on yesterday. She is the Associate Director of the American Diabetes Association within Fairfield county, and she is so kindly keeping up on me and my process with the 2008 Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes team that I just started.
This will be the first year that I'm participating in the walk, which is kind of sad since I lived with someone who had the disease for all of my life - my Dad. He passed away in November of 2006. He was diagnosed in his early 20's and was able to control the disease up until his early forties. From then, it was a battle. As a family, we banded together and fought hard. We watched this disease take my father's kidneys, feet, then his legs and finally the Lord called my Dad home. A day which I still remember clear in my mind.
My Dad went into the hospital on September of 2006 and never came back home. Which was a shock to our family because each time he went into the hospital, he ALWAYS came back home. By then my Dad had developed complications to his lungs and it came to the point that he couldn't breathe without a ventilator. Each time the doctors took him off, he wouldn't take in deep enough breathes & the toxins would build back up into his bloodstream.
Let me tell you, it was so hard seeing him like that. Even to the point that my trips to the hospital were few and far between. See I was the girl who always saw her Dad as Superman. But by then, he was so frail - no resemblance to the man who used to let me swing in his arms or who lift me up as if I were as light as a feather. And let me tell you - I was a chubby kid! lol...
Finally the doctors said that we had to make a choice - either allow him to continue in the hospital on the ventilator or to take him off. Never in all my life did I ever think I'd have to make such a choice. How do you choose something like that?? And doctors, God bless them, they want to help, but what could they say? How much peace can they truly offer you??? There was none. My Mom turned to us (her kids) for our opinion and answers. But this was her husband... Her help meet.... They were supposed to grow old together, right?
But deep down we each knew - we knew my Dad well enough to know that he wouldn't want to live that way. Heck, each time he was conscious, the first thing he would do was fight each and every one of us to take that "Damn Thing" out of his mouth. It got to the point where he had to be restrained - another horrible thing to have to experience as well. So as a united family, we allowed them to remove the ventilator and we were moved to a private room, in essence, to watch my father pass away.
I went that evening with my son, to the hospital, to say our good-byes & we both kissed him and left. Only my Mom and my oldest sister stayed. The next morning I got the dreaded call from my Mother who only said "You better come to the hospital now, he's going..." So I raced like a maniac to drop my son off at daycare & sped all the way to the hospital. Mind you, I don't know what I expected to do since in my mind I already knew what was happening... But he was already gone by the time I got there.
Pretty much everything else is a blur.
Yes, I am doing this walk in honor of my father, but also in honor of those family members that are still living with the disease - my Mom, Grandmothers, brother and several Aunts.
I feel that if I can contribute the smallest thing, like walking, then just maybe some of the experience that I just shared can be few and far between.
Thank for taking the time to read my post.
If you wish to join up in your area please click here .
Or to make a contribute on my behalf please click here.