My Kids…..”If Anyone was to Get Diabetes, the Right One Did.” Really?????

the right oneOf course there is no science to this and I may be way off base; but did you ever think that if anyone was to get diabetes; the correct child to get it…..got it.  I mean no one ever really talks about this and I’m never one to be shy on matters no one talks about; but have you ever asked this question?  I know,  it’ a ‘taboo’ thought…..but honestly have you thought it, ever?

Now there are a few possible answers for this.  Yes. No…….or……is it the fact that the child who was diagnosed with diabetes, and has been dealing with it for so long, that they just ‘shaped themselves’ around the fact that they have it and they dealt with it so well that they adjusted accordingly?

I’m not sure.   I hate that any of them have it; but I HAVE BEEN guilty of holding that discussion with myself.

I do remember saying that if any of our children were to be diagnosed, Kaitlyn’s temperament and personality would be such, that she would be the one to handle it best.  SO in retrospect, we were thankful that IF ANYONE was to get diabetes, the one who could handle it best is the one that got it…………..right?

Well, not so fast.

Because we were so good with the first one that whoever/whatever you believe in; God, fate, laws of nature decided to ‘bless’ us with the second diagnosis.  Do I now say that if anyone was to get it, the correct two got it?

No thanks——I’m done.

My point is that in as much as we think ‘the right child’ was diagnosed; it may not necessarily be the case that there is only one answer to this thought.

Rob and Kaitlyn handle their diabetes completely differently.  But both have tackled what they need to tackle in a way that is best for them……and it works.  For that I’m grateful because at the end of the day it is managed to the best of their abilities SO THEY have as GREAT a life as possible and feel as good as they can to continue in this wonderful life…..THAT is what matters.

They are both (as my oldest is also) striving to do what will make them happy, what they want to do, and they are moving forward at a pace that is exciting to witness from the ‘parents gallery’.

So if you think ‘the right child’ is the one to have been diagnosed with diabetes……..I’m here to tell you that when tested, your kids will surprise you……..I know mine did……….and with all my heart and soul it is my absolute profound wish that you are not ever shown this fact as we (and others) were; with multiple diagnosed!!!!

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

Your Child Deserves a Rock Star in their Life……oh Wait…..They Have One!!!!

RockstarSo it is around 2:00 am.  I’m wondering how many other parents are up at this time; for the millionth time?  I turn on the TV and there is a movie about the boy-band sensation, One Direction. I could use a little ‘fluff’ tonight.

As I watch their incredible trip with stardom, I’m taken by their parents and what they have to say.  One mom, or mum actually, says it all, “….I know this will one day all be gone…..so I have to be there when that happens, and pick up the pieces….” And that of course made me think of you.  All of the ‘yous’ out there…..parents.

How many times have we been there for our children when those ‘pieces’ need to be picked up?  The times when it is…..say 2:00 am and you are up; the millions of hugs needed, the care, the doctors appointments, the fights with insurance companies, the discussions with school, the soccer coach, the dram teacher, the choir director, the ice hockey coach, the tears, and the worry, the worry, and the worry. Rock stars, kids in general, and definitely kids with diabetes.  You need to be there….and you are.  It does not matter of you are on the road in China or if you are on the sidelines at the soccer field; our job is never-ending.

But I also realized that it does not matter of there are a million people screaming your child’s name or your child scores a goal, or even gets through the day with a smile on their face; we smile broadly at those successes.  Our children have succeeded.

There is not a happier moment in my life than when my children succeed.  And that success is them achieving the things THEY WANT.  The things they set their minds up to do; and achieve.

And in the cases when your child has diabetes, well……..you stand just a tad higher because they did it with an obstacle that no one understands as much as you do. You understand that point.  You respect that point.  And you fully grasp how much the successes they achieve are worth because they did it and diabetes did not win.

Remember that; remember how much you do.  Because on this day……the music may very well be up on the stage of life…….but as my dear friend Paul Madden would say; it is YOU who is the rock star. Look in the mirror and smile at what you see today……..you deserve it.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

Diabetes Discoveries! Not as Fast as We Like; BUT Faster than We Think!!!

fasterBobby Kennedy once said, “Some men see things as they are and say why…….I dream things that never were and say why not.”  Recently, with World Diabetes Day upon us, I had a conversation with someone who shared ‘how slow’ things seem to be going when it comes to diabetes, devices, and research.

I disagreed.

Certainly things do not move, and are not moving, as fast as we would like; but if you remember that insulin was discovered in 1921…..I would say that it has been a very productive 94 years.  And the last 40 being incredibly fast.  Again, I get it; yesterday is too slow for a development we want today; but it all takes time.

I am spoiled, as it were.  My kids never had to pee in a cup for a color swatch test that was a range and not an accurate reading; but I have seen many changes that even those diagnosed today, were never without.

A glucometer reading in under 10 seconds was unheard of when Kaitlyn was diagnosed.  An insulin pump in everyday use….that was a Star Wars theory, at best.  We might see it some day.  CGM? uhm….no.  Bionic Pancreas?  Artificial Pancreas? Really?  Uhm…..no again.  Not even on our radar.  Insulin pens?  Nope. Devices being placed inside the body like the BioHub or Viacyte; to mimic the native pancreas?  Seriously? Uhm…..no.

In our 22 years at this, as you see, there are many things that are now in everyday use and/or being seriously tested that will shape the next upcoming years, that were not much more than a thought back when Kaitlyn was diagnosed in 1992.

We need science, researchers, bio-engineers, and others to keep dreaming.  It is important.  It’s crucial that they ALL stay funded.  It’s important that we keep encouraging them and listening to their progress and asking the tough questions.  Most important is that we never lose faith that a tomorrow will come that will be better for our children than today.

I believe that with all my heart…….as long as there are people who don’t ask why at the things that are………but ask ‘why not’ at things we need for our loved ones with diabetes……let’s keep working together to create the ‘why not’s.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

 

The “F” Word is Just Unacceptable…….Do YOUR Kids Use It?????

FThere is no room for the ‘F’ word in our world of diabetes.  It’s enough that we do what we can, when we can, and the best way we can.  The word ‘F’ailure need not apply yet we both hear it and use it all the time.

Everything regarding diabetes, it seems, has a gauge.  Whether it be A1C, blood glucose, blood meters, CGMs, or anything else—if it has a number we seem to, hit it or miss it…..and since we miss it a lot….we declare our actions a failure.  It is not made any better when many others TELL US that these numbers MUST BE HIT.  And in our minds we have said, why is my child failing at this; or why am I failing at this?

I hate the ‘F’ word and the answer lies in the one word I stated above, gauge.  Do we consider ourselves a failure if the thermometer says 101.3; or the speedometer states 72 in a 55 mph zone; or the temperature in a room is 68 instead of 65?  Of course we don’t.  Why?  Because it’s a gauge.  Nothing more.  You look at a gauge and you adjust it and you move on.

So why is it that when it comes to diabetes, when the numbers are not perfect…..we feel that we failed?   I have seen it time and time again.  A parent comes home from the Doctor’s appointment and their very tone reflects that they beat themselves up because an A1C went up 1.5…..yeah, so?   A child comes home from school and numbers are running 225-280 all day….failure; right?  Wrong!!!

I’m not saying that we should not do something about it, we certainly should; but thinking we failed is just not correct.

And remember this, even more, when it comes to your child.  I’m not saying that we all do not have to work together but be very careful when it comes to your kids.  They try so hard to gain your approval……..in everything.  If the meter says 310……your face can very easily ‘give you away’.  Translation in your child’s mind; “I failed again”.

A healthy conversation should replace that grunt and facial expression.  Not every time, but when you feel you must react, react by engaging in a conversation so everyone knows why numbers may be running high, or low; engage the gauge.

It is not your fault you have to deal with this disease and it is most important to understand and realize that it is SURELY NOT YOUR child’s fault they have diabetes.  Must they take care of it?  Absolutely; but remember this……and sometimes we need to remind ourselves of this point…..everything your child does; bicycle riding, playing, studying, sports, arts, watching TV, sleeping, eating, talking; they do with diabetes.

EVERYTHING.

Stop right here and think of that for a moment.  EVERYTHING.

The fact that our children do so much and achieve so much while battling diabetes is monumental.  Do not bring down their huge amount of successes with a few things that do not land where we want.

Failure is but a word……..and in our house we do not use, nor experience, the ‘F’ word and if you are doing everything you can; neither should you.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

 

Waves Crashing In???? Take Heart, We’ve ALL Been There!!!!

row boatHave you ever felt like the waves of the ocean are crashing in over your little row-boat?  You know that ‘row boat’, just you and your family going along in life doing your own thing and expecting life to have some ups and downs when all of a sudden……crash.  The waves come in from all sides and the boat is taking-on water faster than you can bail the water out.  It  feels like you will be sinking any minute.

Take heart.  We have all been there.

The number one thing I LOVE about support (groups, online, a group of friends—what ever) is the sharing of experience.  The greatest teacher in the world is experience.  There is a saying I am sure you have heard a million times, “That which does not kill you makes you stronger.”  Kelly Clarkson even has a song about it.  It seems like a silly phrase for the only reason we have heard it a million times.  But it is a true saying none-the-less.

If we weather the storm, get through it; somehow……one will almost always be stronger when they come out the other side.  Now it surely does not feel like that when you’re going through it…..does it?  When it comes to diabetes, I tell people the same thing every time.

I know it is tough to be a parent.  Trouble seems to be coming in all over but remember this: even if your child was diagnosed a week ago, look how far you have come in just a week.  The longer you are ‘at this’, the more experienced you become.  The further out you are, you merely have to look at that fist week after diagnosis.

There was a man I knew, Larry.  He was like a pastor and when you would tell him how far you came in your faith he would answer with a big smile on his face as he put his arm around your shoulder, “Yes brother and you have a long way to go.”  Much to be said in that statement, isn’t there?

SO look back every now and again and realize how far YOU HAVE COME dealing with diabetes.   Know that you have a long way to go as well.  Take it in strides.  The good thing about storms…….is that they will always pass.  Some longer than others, I admit, but they will always pass.  You will laugh again, dance again, sing again, and the sun will rise again.

Experience has taught me that……………………………….many times.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

Another ‘Taboo’ Subject…….Bullying….Today I Seek Your Input!!!!!!

bullyingWhen you were in school, what was more common; kids who did things positive and creative, or kids who were bullies?  I was speaking with an old class buddy of mine and certain names came up and it was immediate when one particular name was called a bully.  We stated what an idiot and he received his 12 seconds of remembrance at being a moron, and we moved on.

The bullying we hear about today is not like when we were younger.  Back ‘when’ no one did anything about being a bully.  One kid in my grammar school bought a gun to school and shot many kids with this pellet gun.  Newspaper?  No such thing.  That said, our Principal in this Catholic School beat the living daylights out of the boy.  If that happened today, it would be national news.  Not saying it wa right, I am saying it was the way it was.

Now there are a million things wrong with this story, my point is that in my day, bullies were not stopped.  Notice I did not say bullies were allowed, they just were not stopped and we had to deal with it in our own way.

And believe me when I tell you that many of us had our own way of dealing with bullies.

It’s a different world today and it’s my hope that bullying is not the same as when I was younger.  Surely it’s not tolerated as much these days……..or is it?  Is teasing the same as bullying?

I find it very disturbing when I read of a child being made-fun-of who has diabetes.  I know it happens and I know many people also do not talk about it.  But it happens.  It’s easy to say well “kids will be kids” and teasing is part of what they must endure.

I think that is a whole wheel-barrel load of crap.  It should never be.  Ever.

I remember a story about a child who was made fun of for having diabetes.  This one kid in particular just would not stop, I am told, and a few times a month it was the same thing.  He was out of school for two days and on the third, the teacher told the child’s mom that the young boy was diagnosed with diabetes.  The boy’s mom asked the teacher to let her know.

That afternoon, the mom and her daughter went to the hospital and spoke to the parents and the young lady went in and spent time with the boy telling him that it would be okay.

No one is quite sure what the two of them discussed, at bedside, but it was clear that the young lady helped and did not ‘get even’ with the newly diagnosed young man.  An interesting turn of events for sure.

The lesson here is compassion.  No  matter how hard it is…..compassion.

No one should have to ‘put up’ with anything like teasing or bullying while also dealing with diabetes.  That said, the compassionate heart will always win out.  As hard as it seems, the best thing to do is ignore it as much as one can.  Many times it will stop just because the person realizes that ‘it’ is not working.  If it gets to the point of unbearable, something could/should be said.

But in many cases, even saying something does nothing.  Many times the person just finds more creative ways of doing it without being found out; or the parents—you find—are not that different from the child and it’s clear that nothing will be done.

The most important thing you can teach your child is that when these things occur, it HAS NOTHING to do with them.  If they did not have diabetes, it would be the color of their hair, their clothes, their shoes, or something else.  The other thing is that they are not alone.  Even though they may not see it, others are getting it also.  It is about the person saying things and not about anyone else.  THEY HAVE THE PROBLEM.

Now all of this is nice to say but believe me I know how much your child just wants to punch them in the nose and make them stop.  It’s not like the movies, that would not necessarily work either.  SO I ask all of you today, what did you do to handle bullying?  What did you tell your child?  Did it get better?  It happens and it is not always discussed.

Today let’s discuss it.  PLEASE share….you can help many others.

Talking to the teacher?  The Parents?  What was your course of action?  Kindly share.
Today I seek the wisdom of those who have been through this very tough subject.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

 

On this Diabetes Day……16,000+ School Nurses Hear a Child’s Cry for Change…WOW!

SchoolsSitting across the table from Donna Mazyck, the Executive Director of the National Association of School Nurses, one cannot help but feel her incredible passion for not only her members but the people her members serve. On this day, I am not only sitting across from Donna but also at the table is Sarah Butler, Director of Diabetes and Nursing Education; many of their colleagues are there as well.

The meeting came about after Sarah and I had a meeting at the AADE Conference over the summer.  These two powerhouses listened very intently as I explained the purpose behind “A Child’s Cry for Change”.  Where we need to do more to identify DKA, and to better educate about diabetes across the board.  T1 diabetes being diagnosed at death, needs to be changed. This meeting was the result of many other meetings and contacts discussing the initiatives needed to make a difference.  At this meeting, after listening for a good deal of time, Donna smiled at me, “We will do this, we need to do this.”  After months and months of utilizing every inch of my spare time knocking on doors, writing letters, sending mailings….a door opened. It’s very emotional to watch something go from nothing to something.

It was like when Kim May (a d-mom) and I created Get Diabetes Right and created the original posters listed on the FB page for people to send out and utilize wherever possible about diabetes education.  I have been very clear about the fact that although we created this together, it is Kim and her wonderful ad agency that keeps adding posters to the site and running it everyday; my involvement is very little and it is Kim and her team deserving the credit for what that site has become.  Another door opened when Kim and I connected.

I have chosen to write about this today, on World Diabetes Day, because I felt it important that YOU are made aware of some recent developments that have been done, and continue, to better the lives of all our children across the nation.

As I said goodbye to Donna and Sarah, they made it clear that this initiative would receive the push it needed….and WOW how it did.  Here are just some of the things they have been instrumental in creating:
>The NASN’s Weekly Digest has a newsletter and right at the top is a letter from their President.  The digest that went out yesterday had this included: “……. Also, in the midst of flu season, it is important for school nurses to be vigilant and promote awareness of warning signs of type 1 diabetes that may appear as flu-like symptoms. Thank you for the care you give all year long.
Carolyn Duff, MS, RN, NCSN, President of NASN
This newsletter is sent to over 30,000 people 16,000+ of them school nurses in all 50 states and American Schools abroad.  THAT’S HUGE!!!!

>In addition, they included downloads of material including the Get Diabetes Right poster about warning signs for diabetes.  They encouraged the nurses to download it and place it in their schools.

>They also included, in their resources, a suggested letter to send home with each child who is showing flu-like symptoms for the parents to be aware that it could be  initial signs of the onset of diabetes.

>They also created a pod cast for the nurses surrounding managing a hypoglycemic reaction during the school day.

This is World Diabetes Day………It’s a time to educate, anywhere possible, about diabetes.  There will be a lot of people, myself included, wearing “DIABETES BLUE” today.  But you need to know what people like Kim May and her colleagues do every day; you need to know what the National Association of School Nurses and their members are doing; to educate, to teach, to spread the word.

There are many other things on the plates of these wonderful people, BUT THEY CHOOSE to ‘Not do Nothing” for not only our kids and those with diabetes; but also for those who have yet to be diagnosed to make sure diabetes is diagnosed as early as possible.  They have heard that child’s cry for change.  If one other person becomes educated, if we spare just one family the horrors of a prolonged DKA…..all of this would be worth every minute of time.  To these people I highlighted today, I say THANK YOU for hearing, and more than that; THANK YOU for taking action. 

And isn’t that what World Diabetes Day is all about?

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

If Tomorrow is a One Shot Deal…….We’re Being Unfair to Our Kids!!!!!

Diabetes Blue CircleRecently I watched as one of my children entered the kitchen to handle their low.  As I noticed what was taken out of the refrigerator and the pantry, torn opened and consumed, I knew it was a low needing immediate attention.  When two of your kids have T1 and they are 24 and 19; trust me when I say that you have to become very good at watching from the sidelines.  Ready-to-go-nonetheless; but clearly from the sidelines.

“You okay?”
“Hrmrphhphphph.”

Anyone who has an older child dealing with diabetes, clearly knows that if they answer, you’re probably okay to let them continue ‘their way’.  As I went into the kitchen to clean up the counters and the floor I got to thinking.  Tomorrow is World Diabetes Day and there is something that should never be forgotten; what we do, we do for them.

It’s not just about wearing blue, blue-lit buildings, and doing something to recognize the day.  World Diabetes Day is not my “diabetes” Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, or anything else.  It is a day with a mission.  If everyone did what they could, there would be no ‘one’ day needed to recognize…..well……anything.

Do not misunderstand; I think it’s terrific that we have one ‘unified’ day to hopefully get the word out there for people to understand what diabetes is…..what T1 is…..what T2 is…..what organizations are out there.  But I have also discussed this with many people who have diabetes, and specifically with T1, and I get the feeling that many of those who live with diabetes 24/7/365 will tell you that they surely do not need a day of recognition of ‘ANY’thing.  From 11:59 pm tonight clicking to midnight when World Diabetes Day kicks in; and to 11:59 pm tomorrow night to Midnight when Saturday morning begins and World Diabetes Day kicks out…….the lives of those we love will not change one iota but for this………they will have diabetes another day.

My World Diabetes Day will be recognized when my kids no longer have this disease.  However we get there; but THAT WE GET there.  Until such time I pray for the many management tools needed to improve their lives and their lifestyles; we need these tools to become a reality.  Until such time that we no longer need to educate people.  Until such time that TV doesn’t thinks it is a joke to stuff cookies in the mouth of someone passed out from a hypoglycemic reaction (Seinfeld).  Until such time that the world doesn’t think all people with diabetes got there because of being overweight. Until such time that there is enough money given for research across the globe.  Until such time people “Don’t do Nothing” and Get Diabetes Right.

Many people’s World Diabetes Day is everyday…..not each November 14th.  Do wonderful things tomorrow to recognize the day and hopefully make the world take notice.  But be ready to work again on November 15th and beyond.

Diabetes is not once a year for those we love……and when it comes to our advocacy, our actions, and our efforts……neither should it be for us.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

This Man Saved Your (Your Child’s) Life…..What Do You Know About Him?

BantingNovember 14th, as World Diabetes Day, was not a random day.  It’s the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting.  Dr. Banting was the lead scientist in the discovery of Insulin in 1921.  The amount of lives that have been saved since that tome could probably never be counted.  There is a movie floating around out there, ‘Glory Enough for All”.  It was a TV movie in 1988 and if you go to you tube you can see many segments of the film which is a scenario surrounding Banting and Best’s work.  With Doctor, or Sir, Frederick Banting’s birthday just two days away……I thought I would give you some facts about the man who saved so many…..facts that you may or may not know.
>He is Canadian and was born in Ontario.
>He was married twice and had one son, William (First one lasted 8 years—ended in divorce)
>He was actually killed in an air disaster on February 21—-he was only 49.
>He was a painter
>In 1923 the Canadian Parliament granted him a Life Annuity of $7,500 (according to dollar times.com that would be worth 103,424.11in today’s terms).
>He served in both WWI and WWII
>In 1923 he was elected to the Banting and Best Medical Chair (and here is what I love about this); which was endowed by the Legislature of the Province of Ontario.
>He was an M.D. and also a Lecturer in Pharmacology
>Best, with whom Banting did his work was a medical student at the time and, of course, would become Dr. Charles Best.
>interesting enough, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine he won was shared with J.J.R. Macleod who gave Banting the facilities for his work.  Best received little recognition compared to these two but IT IS stated Dr. Banting shared his money from the award.
>He was Knighted in 1934

So now, perhaps—you know a little more of the man who saved my children, your children, and millions of others and is responsible for keeping them alive each day.

In his honor why not commit to doing just one thing on his birthday to help educate someone else about diabetes. Hang a poster, speak to someone,  and/or do something that spreads the word about diabetes education.  Education was a big part of
Dr. Banting’s life. Sharing education is the least we can do to pay homage to a man who has done so much for us, like saving the life of our loved ones……….don’t you think?

Happy Birthday Dr. Banting…………………………………….and THANK YOU!!!!

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

 

 

Veterans Day……A Story of a Soldier with T1……..What? Really?

Mark-ThompsonThis being Veterans Day….it just seems to me that this incredible about Sgt. Mark Thompson, Army Sgt. First Class, seems both appropriate and inspiring to watch.  A man’s desire to serve his country is stopped………by nothing.  Listen very carefully to what happens when he lands and what he tells you about his device.   Just when you think this story is done, it flips and turns to horrendous.

None of that would get in the way of this incredible role model who shows us that no matter what happens…..forward is the best direction.

Happy Veterans Day to all who served………and THANK YOU.

Click here or on the picture to see this wonderful, nail-biting, and inspiring six-minute. video.  Hero in more ways than one.

I am a diabetes dad.

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