My weekend in Miami was fantastic. I went to see my friends S and JP. The three of us went to Yale together and I hadn't seen them since graduation. It was so much fun to catch up on life, hang out at the beach on Key Biscayne, eat excellent Cuban food in Little Havana, see a crazy film in South Beach, and hang out with S, JP, and their sons, ages 2 and 1.
S and I got to be friends in large part, I think, because of a mutual sense of fascination with a type of person we always knew existed, but had never actually met. I had never known anyone who was a seriously committed feminist. S, for her part, hadn't actually ever met a Southern, evangelical Christian. While we were at Yale, we had so many conversations about different issues. We had a good time this weekend talking about the tension most women face between pursuing a career and caring for a family. S remembered a conversation we had over lunch about this issue several years ago that I had long forgotten. It was interesting to see how our perspectives have changed since she's become a mother and I've learned how much structural discrimination against women exists in academics. It's funny how time and experience change your perspective.The main reason I visited this weekend, though, was to participate in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes. JDRF funds research to help cure Type 1 Diabetes, the rarer form of the disease that I have lived with since age 14. Last summer, shortly before turning 2, S and JP's son K was diagnosed with the disease. Suddenly, their lives were turned upside down with having to learn about insulin, carbohydrate counting, and blood glucose monitoring. K had to get used to enduring multiple injections and fingersticks every day, and his mom and dad are having to learn to read his moods to understand whether he's not feeling well - all while taking care of their other child, who was only six months old when the diagnosis happened.
I know well what it is like to live with Type 1 Diabetes, but I can't imagine what this family has gone through, but this weekend gave a glimpse into the hectic life of a family of a toddler with Type 1. How do you know whether your two-year-old is having a temper tantrum because his blood sugar is high and he feels bad, or because throwing a fit is what willful two-year-olds are prone to do? Do you test his blood sugar every time? If you do, will it cause him to associate blood sugar monitoring with punishment? Type 1 is such a moving target - everything from exercise to stress affects your blood glucose levels - and it can be incredibly frustrating to try to achieve good control. I know this family would appreciate your prayers for K and for themselves.
The good news about Type 1 is that researchers are closer than ever to finding a cure for this disease. This is really important to me, because the longer you live with Type 1, the more at risk you are for complications like kidney failure, blindness, and nerve damage. So S put together a team to walk for a cure for K and for all of us who live with Type 1. Our team raised over $10,000 for the JDRF, and we had a great time on the 5k course at the Miami MetroZoo.
$10,000 may not be much in the grand scheme of things, but we were glad to feel like we were doing something, and are looking forward to raising more next year. Thanks to everyone who helped support me on the walk. (If you'd still like to give this year, it isn't too late! Email me and I'll send you a link. :)
All in all, it was a great weekend. I am blessed to have good friends who make me think, to see the beauty of creation in a lovely place, and to have hope that a cure for Type 1 is within reach. Thanks be to God.