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Thursday
Nov112010

Stolen Dream

I know I have written about this subject before but because it is so heavy on my heart and continues to affect me I figure I should try to get this out.

You always hear how you can do anything you want to do regardless of having diabetes. Don't let diabetes stop you from living your dreams! Diabetes is not going to stand in my way!

For most things that is true. You should not feel like you cannot achieve your dreams just because you have diabetes. But there is one dream that was crushed for me days after I was diagnosed and I have never gotten over it.

My dream to serve our country in the Air Force.

We didn't have a lot of money and I knew college was not something my parents would be able to afford. My plan was to join the Air Force, get an education, and then who knows. 

I had been speaking with a recruiter from school and was pretty excited about it all. He called me a few days after I was diagnosed to see how I was doing. I told him about the whole diabetes thing and that was when he told me that I would not be accepted.

I have had diabetes for 20 years and still this gets to me. Like it did that first time. I remember hanging up the phone and feeling more alone than I ever had. What was I going to do? What else is now lost? Why should I go on?

Maybe it was too much to handle. Not only finding out you are the new owner of a life long chronic illness but also that your plans for the future have just been destroyed. Maybe that is why this particular thing still stings so bad.

Maybe it's because of all the pride I see across this country for our vets and how I should have been one of them. All the tweets thanking the veterans for doing what we cannot. For being brave and proud of their country. It kills me. 

Maybe I just need to suck it up and get over it.

I wish it were that easy.

 

Reader Comments (14)

I felt the same way as a kid - and felt my dream jobs cut because of Diabetes.

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJason Turner

George, I was thinking of you this morning when I saw all the tributes to Veteran's cause I know how much you wanted to be one. I don't know if you knew this but Dad also wanted to serve his country and was not accepted. As I understand it, he was not drafted for the Vietnam War, but decided, shortly after I was born, to sign-up and serve. He was denied due to medical reasons. When he spoke about it, he had similar regrets, mostly cause so many of his friends served and many of them did not make it home. I think he felt a loss of being a part of something "bigger" in his life. You are so much like him. The funny thing is that even though there was regret, I feel like he felt he had accomplished so much in his short life and I would guess that he would feel his biggest accomplishment in life was the four of us and the people we turned out to be (I know he watches over us and is smiling!).

While you may not have been able to be called an official Veteran, due to circumstances that you could not control, you have shown your children, family and friends what is means to love this country and how important it is to appeciate all that those who have fought for our freedom have done for us. You are a true Patriot.

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Riggle

I don't think anyone could say it better than your sister. :)

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

George, Marty has always talked about being in the military I mean since he was around 3. He is only 11 now and he still insists that he will be able to get in. Being a Navy brat I couldn't be prouder that Marty feels he wants to serve our country. But no matter what we say, he feels by the time he is of age they will allow him to do some type of job that's not necessarily in the front lines where it would be detrimental for him to have a low. He makes a good point about the role in which he serves, but he still doesn't understand it's one rule across the board. I feel your disatisfaction over this whole thing and I know Marty is going to feel the same way.

And Jason hit the nail on the head in that last paragraph. You do your country a huge service by standing proud of those who serve and sharing that with your family.

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRenata

George - I had these same thoughts for my son when he was diagnosed that he would not be able to serve his country in the military. That option was taken from him. It made me very sad because I have nieces that currently serve and he really looked up to them. But I believe you are brave. You fight this disease every day and you have to be brave to do that. You can also still be very proud of your country. Diabetes cant steal these things from you. Some of us need to be here to support our soldiers and their families and that is what we can do. You do great things everyday to help support people with diabetes. So thank you.

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMellena

Your sister has written a lovely tribute to both you and your father, and I feel lucky to have read it.

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentershannon

My son's dream since he was about two years old was to be a Marine. There's never been a doubt in his mind that this is what he'd do. He loves war, weapons, history. He can tell you everything about every war past and present. It's what he feels a passion for.
When he was diagnosed at 10 years old with diabetes the nurse was telling us that it wouldn't get in the way of anything. He'd be able to do anything he ever wanted to do..."well, you can't be a soldier, but anything else" was how she ended her sentence. She had no idea how deeply that cut into him.
Last year somebody posted what you'd written on this and that's how I came across your blog. I'm so sorry to both you and Camden that these dreams can't be realized.

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmily B

I was told constantly what I could and shouldn't do based on eye damage at birth. I would have loved to join the USAF and maybe the Space program. But, no.

Sometimes we need the soldiers, sometimes they need us.

Our service is here at home/down on Earth. We are no less 'in service' to our people. because we wear no uniform. It is in our hearts that we wear the colours and in our hands how we also serve.

I can never fly a plane, or go on the space shuttles, but I can always talk it up and promote our land. I can go the VFW or whatever and offer a hand to ones who've been there.

George, NEVER lose sight of your value as a human being and American. 'Angels' don't always have wings, you know. :-)

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

I do imagine the "sting" of finding out your future was affected in more ways than one...one being the chronic condition ... and then...your hopes and dreams for your career and so much more being placed out of reach, through no fault of your own, was difficult at best. AND. Obviously this still affects you deeply George.

As your sister stated...You are a true Patriot. I admire your passion for the armed forces and your grace and candor in the sharing of your lost dream.

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterReyna

Your support of our Armed Forces is admirable.

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercolleen

Your sister said it best, George. All I can say is that we love you big time.

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKerri.

I wanted to join the army out of high school and didn't know I couldn't until I was told over the phone by a recruiting officer. I remember being so angry... but, now...and maybe this is what I do for myself to feel better... now I feel that maybe I got diabetes so my life would be saved from what might have awaited me in the army...it's possible right? Anyway, it's how I have managed to ge past it. By choosng to believe diabetes was an intervention to save me from some sort of ill fate. Great post George and I'm happy to call you "compadre" :D

November 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSysy Morales

I was thinking about you on Veterans Day too, knowing that it would be a hard day for you.

All of the great comments here are a little helpful, I hope. I know Anna's comment touched me. You have a great family (and extended D-Family) that will support you through everything. Good days and bad, easy days and hard.

November 13, 2010 | Registered CommenterScott K. Johnson

Sometimes, siblings just rock. You've got some really great ones!

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara

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