If You DO NOT have T1; Do you Really Know what SICK Even Means?

Ice ppackWow……what a crappy couple of days.  This summer-fever-cold-flu-knock-you-on-you-butt gripped me but good.

As I laid in bed looking at the ceiling, I had one thought that I could not shake.  I did not want to bother with anything.  Leave me alone.  Don’t whisper.  Don’t say my name.  Don’t touch me. Don’t bring me soup.  Just leave me alone.

First of all, those thoughts were with myself and not said, it was what made me post on FB what a baby we, men, can be. I knew better to keep them to myself.  Seems a few agreed with me.  :)

But my thought was, in the middle of all of this; what if I had T1 diabetes as well?  I have always stated that we always have to be ready to learn something at any given moment.  This was one of those moments.

My goodness.  To feel so crappy and have to check a blood sugar, much less change a site, oy……..how unfair is that?  To deal with all of ‘this’ and still have diabetes management on top of that, balancing numbers, eating (yeeeech), not eating……my oh my; what a whirlwind.

Yes, we discuss all the time what it is like to have diabetes and yet, I’m constantly given reminders that as much as we can say, or try, if we don’t have it, we will never understand it.  We won’t even have a clue.

So to my friends who live with this disease, again, I am so sorry that you have to put up with so much, even when you don’t want to–that lesson was made crystal clear to me………AGAIN!!!!!  Another reason to get back to work and try to rid it forever.


I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Could Lightning Strike Twice??…..We Can Only Hope!!

SierraStrange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he? This quote is from the movie classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.  For today’s purposes, we need to change the word man……to woman.  And in this case, a specific woman.  Her name is Nicole Johnson.  And if she was not around, and thankfully she is, the hole would have been enormous.

There were many, many, many stories running around this week about Miss Idaho, Sierra Sandison (pictured above), and her wearing of her insulin pump during last week’s competition where she was crowned.  In her own words she will tell you that she did not even want to mention her diabetes much less wear a bathing suit with her pump attached, and someone changed her mind.

“The media often tells us this lie: if your appearance deviates in any way from cover girls, movie stars, super models, etc., it is a flaw and something is wrong with you. Well, guess what? Miss America 1999 has an insulin pump, and it doesn’t make her any less beautiful. In fact, in my mind, it enhances her beauty!”

Amen sister!

Nicole johnsonI have known Nicole for a long time and she is as consistent as the sun rises and falls when it comes to diabetes.  I have stated on many occasions that I am not quite sure if other Miss America’s have held fast and true to their platform for change that they talked about when they were crowned, but Nicole’s drive has only become stronger, more dedicated, and more wide-spread.

Her platform about diabetes was truly only the beginning.  What she has accomplished with college students, legislation, testifying on the hill, lecturing, and so much more has changed the face of diabetes in this country.

She has always been who she is and many have benefitted from her efforts; and now Sierra Sandison has made it quite clear why she is coming out in full voice about diabetes; it was because of another Miss America who was not afraid to stand up and say after she was told that she should never try to compete again, “If anybody, if anybody should compete; I have a reason to compete.  I had a message.  I have something that people need to know about.  They need to know about this disease.”

That woman was Nicole Johnson.  (see the video of her incredible story, here.) 

In the fall, a Miss America will be crowned.  When no one else would do it, one did. Imagine another young lady with T1 diabetes becoming Miss America?

We can only hope.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

A Young Man Who LIVES: Diabetes Just Won’t Do in HIS Life

Ryan Reed JoslinHave you ever come across something that just says, “WOW!!!!! They got this right?”  As is so clearly known, I’m staff at the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation and I have to admit that I would be lying if I said I was not a tad envious of my friends over at the American Diabetes Association and their relationship with Lilly Diabetes on bringing NASCAR Driver Ryan Reed around the country…..and to that I must say, Bravo, Bravo, Bravo.

The absolute truth on the success of this program; American Diabetes Association, Drive to Stop Diabetes is not merely the concept of a NASCAR Driver with diabetes visiting kids around the country, but it is actually Mr. Reed himself.

This young man must have had an incredible upbringing because to balance confidence with humility is no easy feat and it is the first thing that strikes you about him when you meet him.  The feeling he has in his heart for kids with diabetes is evident as soon as he opens his mouth to speak.  Maybe because he understands what they feel when being diagnosed with T1 diabetes and told your dream is gone.
Ryan ReedHe told me that he has always loved the ‘need for speed’, as so many in his field.  It is important to make note of that fact because it is what he loves, and always has.  Speed.  More.    As Gary Hall was to swimming, Ryan Reed was to racing; both could not breathe unless they were doing what they loved.

And in 2011 Mr. Reed was told, as Mr. Hall was told many years before; that being diagnosed with T1 diabetes meant an end to their careers.  And both of these athletes made it clear, diabetes would just not do in their lives.  “No” was not an option.

Mr. Reed, at the ripe old age of 20, is one of the youngest members on the NASCAR Circuit—and he is doing it with type 1 diabetes.  His pursuit of fulfilling his dream has served as an inspiration to anyone who hears him; and I have quite a few times already.

And yet, it is not just what happens on the track that is impressive, look at the faces of the kids he is with in the picture above. His recent visit to the Joslin Diabetes Center was filled with kids who marveled at his diabetes on the racetrack and listened attentively to his day-to-day dealings with the same thing they must; T1 diabetes.

His message was clear, diabetes stopped him from nothing; and it should not stop their dreams either.

They say that the first rule in racing is that what’s behind you does not count.  And surely Mr. Reed is focused on his goals in front of him.  Gary Hall once told me that he won more medals in the Olympics after being diagnosed with diabetes than before.  I look forward to the day that Ryan Reed tells of all the things he has done when told that it never would be possible after his diagnosis…….and that list has already begun to lengthen.

Drive open in the corner my friend, until you see God,……….and then pass Him!!!!!  The checkered flag, to Ryan Reed, is not merely on the track……..it is the goals he puts in the hearts of every child who hears his voice.   To reach those goals, one begins by starting the engine.  And when it comes to diabetes, ‘Drivers, start your engines’.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

You Heard What!!!!!! From Who?????!!!!!

say_what“Oh we’ve heard people say that and also our doctor told us to do it, but we just could not ask our little one to do that because she never did before.  We haven’t done it yet, and we’re fine so far.”

Sound at all familiar?  The ‘it’ I will leave for you to ‘fill in’ because I do not want to ‘finite the discussion’ here.  There are things that are done and advised that people, and for the life of me I do not know why, think they are absolved from the possibility of paying a price for; just because THEY THINK it is okay to do.

You may ‘think’ wearing a seatbelt is a major inconvenience and you may say that you never wore one and don’t need to; but it is only THAT once where you will pay the price.

My point; you can talk yourself out of doing anything.  When it comes to diabetes, be really careful that you are always looking for answers and not merely answers you want to hear.  There is a difference and be very careful how you approach a search.

Because someone is loud, strong, or persuasive……..does not mean they are correct.  Know that if you hear or read a group of people all in unison about a particular subject, and there is no opposing side, it may not just be that everyone agrees; it very well may be that those who feel differently do not want to get into a discussion/ argument about the topic.

Ever hear the saying, “I read it, it was printed in the newspaper, it’s got to be true.”  Well we all know now that what is printed is not always the truth……and sometimes it has been proven to be a direct lie.

You may find 46 people who all agree that wearing a seatbelt is a choice for the driver that does not really matter.  You may find 46 people who will tell you that there grandpa smoked until they were 101.  You may find 46 people who will tell you that it does not matter one way or the other if you wear a helmet or not.  But statistics are very clear on guiding one to the correct choice, even though in the end—it is your call.  It always is.  You will always find what you want to hear.   It does not make it a fact.  Know this.

It always comes down to doing your homework.  I have witnessed, at times, people asking more questions about buying an entertainment item than buying a diabetes management tool, or making a decision on ‘something diabetes related’.  Ask many questions, but always include the experts as well.  And even the ‘experts’ won’t be 100% right.  Read.  Read.  Read.  In this day and age you have a library of information, use it.  If you ‘do your homework’, speak to a large number and wide range of people, you will come to an answer you are comfortable with; and THAT is what it is all about.

No one person knows it all……….but don’t take my word on that…….ask around.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.



lights-camera-actionJust wanted to give everyone a final opportunity.

Here is the deal; when a newly diagnosed child occurs, parents (especially those of tween/teen-agers) want to find a celebrity who is doing amazing things…..even with diabetes.  “Anyone know a video that can inspire my newly diagnosed child?”  We hear it all the time.

I am working with a friend of mine to create a short inspirational film/video about kids——YOUR kids; OUR kids doing incredible things.   I’m looking for REAL action shots….the LESS POSING the better.

Playing sports—ALL SPORTS, dancing, acting, drawing WHATEVER—–action-action-action shots.

So when someone is newly diagnosed—-they can show their child true heroes……YOUR CHILD.

Send me your photo of your child.  First name only; state only (or country only if outside the USA); age diagnosed and age now.  “Showing Action” is the key word.  Send to my email karlya@optonline.net AND VERY IMPORTANT—in the subject line just write the word HERO.

The deadline is this week!!!!!!!!   We go into production shortly.

Help spread the word.  Let’s inspire others.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


A Baby can Teach us Somthing VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!

Baby turningBabies are cute….aren’t they?  Ever spend time watching a baby?   I mean REALLY watching a baby?  They do incredibly fascinating things.  I find one move, and almost all babies do it, absolutely fascinating.

Once babies get the idea of crawling……they will start to crawl away from their mom and suddenly turn around and look.  Sometimes they will giggle when they do it.  Sometimes they will just stop dead in their tracks, lean back on their butt, give a half turn and look, and then continue on.  Sometimes they will continue quickly, sometimes they will smile, sometimes they will continue-on while giggling.

When mom (or dad, or the relatives) see the baby turn around they always will do something silly, and say something very positive to the baby; and always with a huge smile in their voice.
“Who is the big boy looking at mommy?”
“Look how pretty you look.”
“Hiiiii there beautiful.”

You get the picture.

Here is the thing.  This action, is by no means an accident or your child is just trying to be cute (even though we all admit they are).  This is a very important part of your child’s development.  ‘That turn’ is your child making sure that they have not wandered away too far from their safe haven……you.  Until such time that they have all the confidence in themselves that they can crawl or walk where they want, and know they can find you again, they are making sure that all they know to be safe, is not too far away.

When we speak to them at that very cute moment in silly voices; we are letting them know that they can continue, we are encouraging them—we are here—-we are with them.  There are certainly phrases or terminology that professionals will share with you but the bottom line; if the child knows that there is a safe haven, they will continue to go forth.  Little-by-little they extend their reach.  They grow.

There is an important lesson {and a reminder for those of us who know everything already :)  } that if our children know that their safe haven is near by, let them crawl a little bit with their diabetes….and a little further also.  We do not crawl for the baby, they crawl on their own.  We do not overpower the baby when they crawl, they learn on their own.  As we all know, crawl, leads to walk, leads to run.

Start to allow your child to do little things on their own with their diabetes as soon as they are old enough.  Even at two, they can hold something in their hand ‘to help’.  As they grow, give them more and more to handle.  The more they can handle when they are young, when they know it ‘is safe’, the more they will do as they older.

There are those who feel that their child will have to do all of the managing details their entire life, so they take on everything for them for as long as they can.  We don’t do all of their crawling or walking for them, we should think long and hard what we do and when do we allow them to take part in their own care/management of diabetes.  The more they do, the earlier they do it, the better they will be in the future.

Each parent must make that decision on their own and surely you will know when that timing is right.  But while there is time for THAT SAFE haven still to be there to nurture and help grow, the more opportunity each child will have to learn how to run as fast as they can knowing that you are there, close by.  And when it comes to that time you are not around to help day-to-day; your child will have the confidence, and you will know that you taught them well, to grow from that crawl to the all out marathon diabetes is known to be.

Because that cute baby turning and looking at you, will grow up faster than you think.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


“Diabetes is a Blessing!”…..uhm….I Could Use Some Help with That!!!!

BlessingsI have read, over the years, of people saying the following; “I look at diabetes coming into our household as a blessing”.  Over the years I have also read of the reasons people stated that diabetes was a ‘blessing’: “I have met such wonderful people”. “We would have been divorced.” “It made us all become healthier.” “We became closer as a family.” “I would be lost without those we met after diagnosis.”

You get the picture.

Now, clearly, those who know me know that I always look for the silver lining in life and I am the first one to say, “find the positive”.  But the idea that diabetes is ‘a blessing’ from the almighty one………………….not so easy for me to do.

Strength?  Sure.   Resolve? Sure.  The ability to take something thrown at us and turn it  into something we face with a positive attitude?  Absolutely.

But the idea of calling my child, and now my children, with diabetes a blessing?    Uhm…..ahh……that would have to fall into the “I don’t think so category.

Now before I get beat up on every aspect from people who have a strong faith, in who or whatever you have a strong faith, I say ‘God Bless You”.  I am a faithful person in the light that I would think one needs to be faithful.  And if you believe deep in your heart and during your quiet times you are thankful for diabetes being in your life, I not only applaud you, I envy you.

I want to be clear, I am not speaking in sarcasm or being flip; I truly admire those that have been able to grasp the belief that diabetes is a blessing in their life.  I HAVE GRASPED the strength given to us to carry on and find the positive; THAT is a given.

But to think that what my kids go through day-to-day is anything of a blessing, blasphemous as it may sound, is no blessing in my eyes.  But that’s me.

Feel free to add why YOU THINK, or better still……HOW you think that diabetes is a blessing.  Please share with us your feelings and I will close the debate on this from the get go.  Each person who may feel differently is surely entitled to their opinion and I am not here to open a debate; I’m here to learn the ‘whys and hows’ in the way people think and feel.

So please share your thoughts.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


It’s a Diabetes Thing…….’”NOW GET OUT OF MY FACE”.

Diabetes thingPeople just do not understand.  Very few do, in fact.

When I have to tend to my child, YOUR timing is not my timing; in fact, and we had to learn this, our timing IS NOT our timing.  If our child needs tending to, our world stops.  Period.

I do not care if you get frustrated because I am late for the family picnic, not in the family photo, or late to something YOU think is important.  When it comes to my child, not only will I tend to their needs first, I will not explain in detail and if that is not understood than you have missed the boat for the last 22 years we’ve been dealing with it.

We do not compare ourselves to anyone else, we work to prevent anything that might be thrown at us but when it comes right down to it…….if others do not understand……’tough boogies’.

We know what it is like to be ready to leave and a pump needs changing, a low needs tending to, and/or something else deserves our immediate attention……and our immediate attention will always be given.  If you do not understand this, too bad.

We have become a little ‘thick skinned’ over the years and you should be ready when it happens to you.  Tend to what you need to and inform the other party when you can, “I apologize for (whatever it is) but we needed to take care of something for Susie.

If after X amount of years your family and/or friends still don’t get it, move forward.  And do not give it a second thought.  AGAIN, DO NOT GIVE IT A SECOND THOUGHT.  You are NOT THE ONE who needs to deal with anything………..THEY ARE.

Remember that, it will come in handy.  I have always loved the phrase, “Those who get it need no explanation; and those that don’t would never understand anyway.”  Anyone else just tell them I said go deal with it and……………………………..TOUGH BOOGIES.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

No Diabetes. Not on this Day. Not Today. You Will Not Win!!!!!!

NO-NO-NO-NO-NODear Diabetes,

I know it has been a while since we corresponded, there was no need.  But you thought you would win recently and it opened the door to once again remind you a little bit on who we are……..in case you had forgotten.

We are a family of resolve.  We are a family of strength.  We have problems in many areas, we are a family and those things happen.  Where we have no differences, no departures, no backing-down, is when it comes to you.  You. Have. No. Chance.

Your last episode of trying to get at us was a really cool idea……stupid, it didn’t work.  We did not spend the amount of years we have spent educating ourselves to let you slip that one in.  Surprised you, didn’t we?  Our kids, us, we know your tricks.  We know your game plan.  We may back up a step but do not confuse us gathering our thought on moving forward and retreating.  We will not retreat.  We do not know the word…..and YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER.

At the time I guess you thought that it might overwhelm us, might make us stop, and you might even have won that round…….we surprised you there too, didn’t we?

So I have said this to you before, I do not look at this as ‘daring’ the fates, but to be clear.  If we, as a family, allow you the smallest victory, you win.  And the plain and simple truth is that you cannot, and will not win, in this household; ever!  Knock us down as you try; let it be known and shouted across this great land:  You. Will. Not. Win.  Period!!!!!!!

Truly yours,
This Household

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.



The Ring, or; Why Mom’s are the Best People on Earth

Ruby ringMoms are real special people.

She was about six years old when her dad took her shopping for a Mother’s Day gift.  “Pick out something, but make sure she will like it.”  This was the only charge given by the dad.

She looked and looked, and already at this young age, it was clear that she would end up with a high level of fashion.  Not because she knew, but because she took her time in deciding what she really, really, liked.

There it was.  A huge ring full of red rubies running up and down it….it ended up bigger than her mom’s finger.  Carefully she wrapped it and with the rest of the family, presents were piled with breakfast; which was served picnic style in her bed.  As her mom unwrapped the gifts, the little girl waited anxiously as she opened gift after gift; waiting for her mom to reach for hers.

It became time.  Her mom asked who it was from and all eyes fell upon her.  She beamed a smile bigger than the sun itself.  Her mom opened it and gasped with excitement at the ring.  It was bigger than her entire finger.  So big it slipped off and fell into her cup of coffee.  Everyone laughed.  He mom reached right in, retrieved it, dried off the ring and wore it all day long.

Looking back, she stated that it was probably the most hideous thing ever created but her mom would have heard none of that and she wore it as if all of the stones were actually real.  She wore it proudly.

The number one value her mom owned, and shared…..was family.  Family is the haven from any storm and the enjoyed fulfillment of everyday life, she taught.  She and her mom were extremely close.  When she was married, she wore her mother’s gown which, believe it or not, was also her father’s parachute in WWII.  The 100% silk made for a beautiful gown.  She was; her mother’s daughter.  Mom taught her very, very well.

The daughter, in her 50′s now with a family of her own, had profound sorrow when the matriarch of the family was laid to rest.  It was unbelievable sadness.

Many weeks later as she was moving everything from her mom’s home, she opened the jewelry box that sat upon her mom’s dresser for much of her 90 years.  There in the back of the box, laid the precious ring she had given her almost 50 years before, preserved and kept safely through time.

Yes, mom’s are real special people.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.