Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Decade

A decade. As most know, a decade is defined as a period of ten years. Today marks the end of a decade for me and my family.

At noon on January 31, 2000, Dr Jennifer Najjar altered our lives forever with the words "Kyle has diabetes." "Isn't that what old people get?", "what did we do?", "can he get rid of it?", and "how will this impact his life?" These were some of the thoughts going through Momma Squire & I's mind that day. Kyle was diagnosed with Type I (juvenile) diabetes when he was just 18 months old. Ever since that day ten years ago, he has had to have insulin injected into his body in some form or fashion. That is 3,653 days of watching what he eats, monitoring blood sugars (minimum of 5 finger sticks a day), counting carbs, and dosing insulin. While I would give anything for Kyle not to have endured this, some blessings have come from this. Sound strange? Let me explain it on two different fronts.

First, when Kyle was diagnosed, we both were working full-time jobs, running crazy, and our idea of eating in was ordering pizza. Lori had quit her job @ HCA to go to work in a bank branch for less pay (35%), but more potential (bonus). I think that step down in pay was God's way of preparing us for what was coming. When Kyle was diagnosed, Lori quit her job to stay home and take care of Kyle. Thankfully, we had taken that intermediate step down in pay so it wasn't like suddenly stopping from 70 mph; it was more like stopping from 40 miles mph. Kyle's diagnosis slowed us down and made us focus inward on what was really important - our family.

Secondly, when Kyle was diagnosed, I heard about an organization called Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). We immediately got involved by walking in JDRF's annual Walk to Cure Diabetes that fall. Ever since that day, Lori & I have volunteered with JDRF on the local, regional, and national level. We have met people who have become life-long friends by working side-by-side for a cure. These friendships were forged by having a common bond and we have leaned on each other through the years and we are the richer for it. We have met medical professionals who have dedicated their lives to helping find a cure and caring for those with Type I until that cure is found.

Speaking of cures, when Kyle was diagnosed, we were told that a cure would probably be here within 10 or so years. Well, we are now on the "so" part of that expression because right now, Kyle's insulin pump is putting insulin into his body as he sleeps. Honestly, my idea of a "cure" has changed over the last decade. I believe there won't be a "magic" pill or potion and "poof", Kyle's diabetes is gone. I think it will take multiple steps to finally realize the cure. A cure could even be in the form of an artificial pancreas. Who knows?

God has blessed us in so many ways in addition to those mentioned above. Yes, it is a nasty disease that keeps everyone on their toes, but when Kyle was diagnosed, God helped us with that as well. The only bed that was available for Kyle at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital was on the oncology (cancer) floor. Kyle was the "wellest" baby there. Daily we would hear parents wail as physicians told parents bad news regarding their children and we would see very sick children in the halls. We realized that most of these kids would not be going home with their parents - ever. Our Kyle would get to go home and live a full life.

A decade does make a lot of difference.

Zach, A Tennessee Squire

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas 2009

As I sit and write this, I realize that I must return to work tomorrow. The last time I was in the office was December 23 - gonna be hard going back, but I have enjoyed myself over the last couple weeks. Here are some random happenings/thoughts that happened during the Christmas/New Year's Eve break.

My parents spend Christmas Eve night with us and we exchange presents on Christmas morning. As I find my way to the coffee pot, my father scares the crap out of me because I wasn’t expecting him to be sitting in the living room. Later he proceeds to ask “did you know that if you don’t wash the Metamucil granules off the spoon, it will become hard as a rock & won’t come off.” I reply “no, I didn’t know that.”

I brought Will along with me on my annual pilgrimage to Wal-Mart on Christmas Eve to pick up food for that evening’s dinner and some last minute shopping. Nothing says Christmas like watching red-necks choosing between blenders or coffee pots for their sweeties. (Momma Squire got the Dirt Devil!)

Attending the candlelight Christmas Eve service at our church. This has been my favorite church service of the year for many decades.

Youngest son, Kyle, giving the blessing on Christmas Eve and after blessing the food and every person (including dogs) in the family, closes with “well, I guess Happy Birthday. Amen.”

The Mother-in-law got Van Halen Guitar Hero for me. My friend Joe came out and Joe, Will, & I played Van Halen. Since Joe & I have traveled all over the Southeast to see VH, it was kinda cool sharing it with Will.

My mother-in-law fretting over where Will’s sleep pants were. She is famous for not labeling packages. Well, she had mistakenly put the wrong name on the package. No one was leaving the room until we found those pants.

Momma Squire beckoning me to the garage to show me presents for the boys that we forgot about.

Got tickets to the Vandy-Manhattan basketball game from Joe for the week after Christmas. Took Will and one of his basketball teammates. Was kind of like déjà vu since Joe & I would always to go to the Music City Invitational tournament after Christmas with his folks and family.

Took the boys to see The Blindside. Great movie with a great message. Kyle gave me a hug after the movie was over and said “thank you for taking me to see this movie. It was great.” This meant a lot since Kyle really wanted to stay home & play X-Box when I told him we were going. Sandra Bullock – “WOW” on many levels.

Spent New Year’s Eve with some friends in the neighborhood. Always a great time.

If you look through the list above, you will see a couple of common threads – family and friends. As I look back over Christmas break, I realize that is what it is all about. Peace to you & yours in 2010.

Zach, A Tennessee Squire