2016 has been quite a wild ride so far for the Dykes-Liners. And now it is half-way over. My initial reaction is to be grateful to see this year begin moving on. I feel like 2016 has slapped me in the face a few times already. It’s been a tough one from the beginning.
The weirdest thing happened to us on New Year’s Eve this year actually. Ada was in bed asleep, I had just gotten in bed, and Jim was getting ready for bed. Just before midnight we heard a distraught party goer walking the streets alone, shouting. We live on a busy street, it was New Year’s Eve, so whatever. Except he ended up on our front porch. He continued shouting incoherently from our porch and then began banging on the door to come in. He thought our house was his uncle’s. Jim tried to scare him off the porch by threatening to call the police. He was distraught and drunk. He seemed hurt that his uncle wouldn’t let him in. Jim called the police and they arrived in probably under 5 minutes. While we waited for them to arrive Jim tried to calmly coax the guy to go, but he just sat down on the porch and waited. The police were really cool to him and offered to take him home, but he could not give them an address. They put him in the car and left, and it was all over by midnight.
It was scary. He was probably harmless, but it was nerve wracking. Maybe it’s superstitious, but it seemed to be a bad omen for the new year.
Two weeks later we were in the ER with Ada learning that she has type 1 diabetes. Our lives forever changed. After that I began grieving, which affected me daily for at least a couple of months. I unsteadily began trying to balance my depression and Ada’s diabetes. Our lives are really different in a lot of small, routine ways because of diabetes. And we were pretty satisfied with how things had been. But now, since diagnosis, my daughter has trouble sleeping in her own room, and she has separation anxiety. I have found it harder to keep up with housework since diabetes takes more of my time. We are so fortunate to be covered by a health plan under my husband’s work, but it is still a lot more money than we used to spend on prescriptions, and we live on an already tight budget. I’m thinking about getting a job to help us cover the rising costs of caring for a child with a chronic autoimmune disease, which seems crazy because not only does diabetes cost a lot, but it takes a fair amount of time and presence. Can you imagine finding a babysitter who you trust to dose and inject a potentially fatal medication into your child? I am Ada’s pancreas right now. I don’t really get a break.
So 2016, I’m not sad to see you turn the corner, but I can’t forget the good things that have happened so far this year. My book went from being an idea to a paperback! Ada’s diabetic alert dog is almost ready to come home! So many people have reached out to me concerning these two things. I think my facebook friends list has grown by 20% this year because people have found my blog or heard about Ada’s diagnosis. You all donated $3000 so that we could get Ada’s service puppy. I have already sold more ebooks than I planned, and my dad surprised me with the paperback version. The number of people who have reached out to me over the last 6 months has been amazing, encouraging, and a blessing. Sometimes I get so consumed with finances that I undervalue my unpaid work as a blogger and writer, but some of you have told me that I am making a difference in your fight or in the fight of a loved one. This means so much to me. It helps me keep going. It helps me keep writing and keep fighting. Paid or not, what I really want to do is help depressed people stay in the fight.
Maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to shoo 2016 out the door, but it will end at the same pace whether I want it to or not. And that’s a relief. Good and bad, time keeps going at the same speed. Maybe the drunk man at my door on New Year’s Eve wasn’t a bad omen but a wake up call. “Hey! 2016 is about to get crazy! Hang on!” And I’m hanging on–taking my meds, working as Ada’s pancreas, writing, keeping the house livable, staying strong despite difficulty. I have failed in a lot of ways this year, but I’ve done nothing that I can’t work on. And that’s a win.
As my little family moves into the second half of 2016, would you send us good vibes, prayers, or well wishes? 2016 seems to be full of surprises for us, and I pray we can continue to meet them with strength and grace. And maybe it is all downhill from here. But if it only gets tougher, we’ll just fight harder.