Cheerleading for Diabetes Awareness, with a Heart Bigger than Texas

It was exciting to learn that this year the NFL’s program My Cause, My Cleats would include the Diabetes Research Institute as Raven’s Tight End, Maxx Williams, would wear custom-made cleats recognizing the work of the DRI scientists.  This program allows NFL players to wear custom cleats in December.  In fact, many, many players take part and usually auction off the cleats to raise money for the charities they represent.  Quite a few diabetes organizations were represented in the NFL this year (Branden Jackson/ADA; Jarvis Jenkins/JDRF to name just two) and social media got into sharing so many of their stories.

As is the nature of social media, one never knows where a simple post will continue.  One story, and a video in particular, really caught on.  Interestingly enough, it was not a story about a football player, it was about a professional cheerleader.   As the
My Cause, My Cleats was being unleashed, The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (DCC) were releasing an effort of their own called My Cause, My Boots.

And how social media responded. And how the diabetes community cheered the loudest.

As any football fan will tell you, ‘dem boots worn by the Cowboys Cheerleaders’ are as much known as the Dallas Star that is worn on the team’s helmet.  Run a little differently, DCC’s My Cause, My Boots is more about the cause than a particular organization and I was given the incredible opportunity to interview a member of the DCC who, as it would turn out, has a very special reason to discuss diabetes, and to take it from the sidelines to center stage.

Tess, thank you for taking the time to discuss your choice to use the DCC platform to bring awareness to type 1 diabetes.  How long have you been a DCC?
Tess: I have been a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader for the past 3 years.

As I prepared for this interview, I learned that Tess was actually a dancer through all of her life and to me, what being a Radio City Rockette is to those who dance, a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader is to those who have ever cheered.  It’s the icon for perfection in the industry.

Did all of the history play into your mind as you worked to become a DCC, how so?
Tess: I never actually cheered BEFORE cheering for the Dallas Cowboys.  I was on dance teams, but not cheerleading.  I danced all through college at LSU and in fact my first Dancing was at a LSU football game which was in the Dallas Stadium, coincidentally.

Yes it did play into my mind. You’re in the stadium.    But it was more exciting than it was intimidating. When I ‘did get the call’ (to be a DCC) being back in the same place it all started, and in this new and different role, was certainly a moving experience.

It’s no secret there is just so much outreach in communities all across the country with NFL Programs.  One, in particular is My Cause, My Cleats where players wear cleats adorned with their favorite charity in a special design. DCC came up with My Cause, My Boots?  Of course My Cause, My Cleats is a close relative to My Cause, My Boots…..can you share how the idea came about for the boots?
Tess: My Cause, My Boots came about, and as far as I know we are the first team which started last year with the boots.  It was just an idea.  We started by trading out one pink ‘star’ for one blue star on our vest and we had a pink star on our boot; and our directors thought it would be an incredible idea for us to choose our own causes.  And they worked with Lucchese Bootmaker, the official bootmaker for the Cheerleading Team, on what we could do with our boots for a cause close to each of us.  We had a pink star that first year and in the second year the thought was how to expand that original idea, and what else could we do with the star.  So, we gave them our cause and Lucchese Bootmaker was very creative in utilizing just that one star to not include various charities but also to be individualized to represent so many charities with so many different and unique designs.  They did all sorts of different ideas. I chose diabetes and sent them the ribbon with the blue and gray colors with the blood drop seen in so many places and that is all I did.  Their hugely creative team came back with the little red heart in the corner of the star.  Simple, direct, and powerful. So yes, we were the first team I believe to do something like this, we can only hope it spreads and more cheerleaders get involved.

Tom: When I first saw it, I actually sighed because it was very clear what it represented.  The phrase ‘Deep in the heart of Texas’ took on a whole new meaning.
Tess: Oh good, I am glad it was clear.

You did this for Troy, your boyfriend.  Could you share those series of events?
Tess: Troy and I met in December 2016 and he was diagnosed in September of the same year.  I was not there; the hardest and worst time at diagnosis…but since we met I have gone through this progression of being by his side.  I’m a big animal lover and last year I chose Animal Rescue as my charity as I have a cat I rescued.  This year, many of the team members chose to honor people they knew living with different diseases and I thought it would be a nice honor, a nice gesture, for Troy if I chose diabetes.  I thought it would be a nice surprise for Troy.  Again, I had no idea what the design would look like.  I never mentioned it, I never spoke to Troy about it.  He never knew about it until the boots were made.

Could you share a little of his reaction.
Tess: We all picked the causes in September, and did not know what the final result would be.  About a week before we received the boots, I shared with him, ‘Remember last year when I picked purple for Animal Rescue for my boots as a cause, this year I wanted you to know that I chose type 1 diabetes for you’.
It was a very special moment and we both became pretty emotional.  He was shocked, he couldn’t believe it.  They surprised us when the boot came and I rushed home and opened the box and it means a lot to me that you said you knew right away what it meant.  It was a very special moment when I saw the boots for the first time.  He was very excited, took pictures and sent them to his family.  It truly was just very special.  What I liked about it was that it was more about awareness of the disease as oppose to linking to a specific organization.  It was about honoring someone you know, someone who has the disease, and supporting THEM; and that was an incredible feeling.

So now, it’s out there.  The My Cause, My Cleats is out there and so is My Cause, My Boots.  You make your awareness video and the social media explodes.   What started as a simple gesture…..‘bam’ it goes everywhere…..what was that like?
Tess—I quickly realized, as I expected it to be, that it was going to be more than just a simple gesture.  Taking advantage of the platform I know that I have, that we all had being part of the DCC, and being able to reach more people and especially just to be a light to this whole community was overwhelming.  Last year the idea of My Cause, My Boots was new.  This year we had more media and people were expecting it.  My cause was highlighted by an accompanying video.  People were already sharing stories and reaching out to me saying they saw that I chose type 1 diabetes even before the boot, as a finished product, was being shown.  So, I knew from the get-go that this was going to be so much more than just me wearing a different color, or something different, on my boot.  I knew that it was going to reach a lot of people because this community is just so strong.  And because they lean so much on each other for support.  I have seen this before, I have seen this with Troy.  It’s a big thing to know others are out there and to also know you are not going through this alone.

I saw your video as you spoke about Troy and what he goes through with his t1d.  Being a father to two children with this disease, it was very moving.  Could you expand a little bit on what you see him go through, he’s an athlete……right?
Tess: Yes.  He plays baseball and played at LSU.  And played before he was diagnosed.  He was always an athlete and he was playing and also having type 1 diabetes before anyone caught it.  Maybe they thought he was too old so no one checked, no one is sure why, for whatever reason; he went on struggling with it without him knowing and without others knowing what it was.  He went to many doctors.  It took one really bad episode where his blood sugar topped out over 800 for everyone to realize what was going on.  He was 22 when he was diagnosed.  He quickly handled it.  He got this (his management) to where he could play.  Late diagnosis, but early enough.  And he played then, and he is playing still.

 

Tom–After him sharing all of that with you, what would you say to someone who was newly diagnosed?
Tess: I’m surely no expert at this but as I prepared to make the video, and learned what I needed and saw the video that I made had over 70,000 views, it just highlighted to me how much more I need to know and educate myself so I can figure out how to educate others.  As I learned from Troy, and I know you know Tom, I know it’s not my disease.  I can only do so much.  It’s Troy’s disease.  I can do just so much but what I can do is be there, offer words of encouragement.  I’ve seen him struggle with it but I also have seen him come out the other side and truly follow his dreams.  He keeps going.  We all see others succeed, even doing so with what burdens they have to bear having this disease.  Those stories uplift him.  He’s now one who can inspire others. He is the perfect example that you can keep going, it does not matter….you can do whatever you want.   He says, “The less you control it, the harder it is to control”.

My saying is that you must control it, or it will surely control you.
Tess—That’s a good one too, I have to share that with him.
(I laugh) Yeah but I have 26+ years at this…..he surely learned much faster than I did as a parent.  I’ve had a few more years at it for sure.

Now that you have started this, do you see yourself continuing advocating, helping, etc.?
Tess: Short answer, yes.  But I have so much more to know.  When I started this, I knew I had to become educated and I know I have to do more to understand what this disease is about.  I knew of this disease.  I knew there was a difference between type 1 and type 2.  But living beside someone who lives with it 24 hours a day is different.  I gained a new appreciation.  To know…..just……just how near death Troy must have been, was terrifying.  That’s something that was new to me.  Something that I did not know was going on.  I think that in itself is enough to bring awareness and I hope to raise resources to share that story because it’s incredibly powerful.  Maybe it can prevent someone from going through what he went through.  Maybe if they hear the story, they will see and know the symptoms whether it was a child, or an adult.  Even if someone says, “I heard something like this and do you think it might be diabetes”?  Even that would be an incredible start.   To educate.  I mean I have seen already, hearing ‘My child, my dad, my whomever…….’ is just so amazing to create a connection.  So yes, I will continue on this path and I know it’s a dream of Troy’s because he knows how important it was that people helped him.

Your video was spot on and resonated with many people.
Tess: I tried to stay focused on the person I knew and not try so hard to explain every aspect of the disease…it’s complicated and it means a lot to hear that we were close to the mark.

As I said—spot on the mark, if you ask me.
Tess:  Thank you that is good to hear.

As my readers know, I like to end my interviews by giving a word or short statement, and ask you to share the first thing that pops into your head, either one word or short phrase. Is that okay?
Tess: Sure

Diabetes?
Tess: Troy

Dance?
Tess: Love

Dallas, the City.
Tess: That wonderful skyline

Dallas, the Team?
Tess: Represented by Cowboy Hats.

Troy?
Tess: Strength

A newly diagnosed child?
Tess: Fear.

Thank you

Tess: Thank you for setting this up.  This is the reason for My Boots, My Cause and I hope this can continue and I appreciate the opportunity.

It’s very clear that this incredible couple will be heard from again, and again, and again in the future on this new journey.  A journey for diabetes awareness.  They will save lives as they continue to use their respective platforms to educate those who might not even know what diabetes is, what diabetes looks like, or even what the warning signs might be.

Saving a life, methinks, would be better than even winning a Superbowl.

I’m a DiabetesDad
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2018, The Year People Died Because of PURE Greed.

There was a chill in the air as 2018 nervously tapped one leg than the other.  Every other year had to wait outside and 2018 was sure it was planned to be made to wait until the Boss came in.

The Boss came in out of breath and stood behind the desk, red-faced and staring at 2018.  Both did not speak at all for what seemed like an eternity.

Really?  Really 2018?  Each and every year I had to let your predecessors go because they did not fulfill the goal of finding a cure.  It’s a mandate of every year to take us closer…….to find a cure.  But you, 2018, you did the complete opposite.

2018 started to speak; I……I……I’m not sure……

The Boss broke in; Hush up.  I’m furious, 2018.  Livid.  Angry. Disappointed.  And I won’t even get to the subject of a cure.  Not at all 2018.  I have one word that continues to infuriate me.  One word.  (screaming now) Do you know that one word, 2018…..do you know the word?

2018 stared down at the ground and the tears uncontrolled spilled out of each eye and fell to the carpet below.

Yes, I think so.

The boss leaned forward on the desk and burned a hole into 2018 with a stare both steaming hot and frigid cold at the same time.

Insulin, 2018…..the word is Insulin!  Every year before you 2018, made an argument to be kept even though a cure was not found and quite frankly, I owed it to them to consider—-to almost allow them to continue based upon some of their INCREDIBLE advancements,  but not you 2018.   CERTAINLY NOT YOU!  How could something so crucial be kept out of the hands of those in need based solely upon cost?  REALLY 2018……it’s money?  Greed?  Pure Greed?  And it does not lay at the feet of the Insulin Companies, that is too easy an answer, and it is not an accurate one either.  There needs to be open disclosure…..the Insurance companies, the retailers, and most of all; the PBMs (Plans Benefit Managers).  Buybacks, rebates, and everything else that adds to the burden of the patient.  I’M SICK OF IT 2018! DO YOU HEAR ME?

The Boss stopped.  Just stared at 2018 who had nothing to say.   No defense.  No words, No retort. No possibilities.  Just……..nothing.

The Boss spoke almost in a whisper.  People died this year 2018 because of utter and stupid greed. People were forced to ration their insulin, and some plainly had to go without.  Shame enough for all.  Everybody pointing fingers at someone else.  “Not my fault” said by almost everyone.  And yet a son, a daughter, a mom, a dad, a relative, a person who was loved was buried, 2018, because they could not afford the one thing to keep them alive………………………………(The Boss yelled)  Insulin, 2018, INSULIN!!!!!!!!!

The silence was deafening.

The Boss with face covered and a whisper of a voice.:
Just get out 2018.  The cure wished for was actually overshadowed by people who cannot afford their insulin.  They died, 2018, they died.  Just get out, you were the biggest failure I’ve ever encountered in all my years.

There was nothing more to say.  2018 got up and walked out never even turning around or uttering another word.  As 2018 opened the door, left, and got into the elevator; the Administrative Assistant hurried into the Boss’ office.  The Boss stared out the windows behind the huge oak desk.

Should I send in 2019, Boss?

The tears rolled down both cheeks of the Boss.
Give me a minute.  (Sigh) Hopefully 2019 will have the correct priorities and we can focus back on that cure.  Someone needs to make a difference.  Insulin must become affordable for all.  Let’s hope 2019 is the one to do so.

We can hope so Boss, we can surely hope so.

The Boss sighed.  Show in 2019.

I am a DiabetesDad.
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An Annual Tradition……Twas the Night Before D-Christmas 2018

With special apologies to Clement Moore.   I present what has become an annual tradition……an updated, ‘Twas the Night Before D-Christmas for 2018

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The meters, CGMs, and supplies were put away with such care,
In hopes that Santa would bring the cure with him this year.

The children were nestled from head to their feeties,
While thoughts in their head were no more diabetes.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, she prayed for the cure too,
A dad still wonders what else could he do.

Remembering this year; CGMs enough to fill a bin,
All so new and even under the skin,
Insulin is still with a cost way too high,
Government should act, stop asking why.

As costs continue to rise and wallets get thin,
We fought hard for lower costs of insulin.
The community raised voices loud and concise,
Costs are too far and need to be lower in price.

The voices were loud and the voices were clear,
We will shout as one, we all have no fear.
Insulin is not a luxury, stop causing such strife,
Insulin for all it is needed for life.

Many things were good, many things were fun,
Diabetes awareness campaigns are still being done.
The word is important for everyone to hear,
Capitol Hill is hearing our voices, we’re getting in gear.

Others will take the lead and we will all see
Better products, more work, and good advocacy.
Better pumps, insulin, and CGMS by the score,
There’s plenty coming and we’re screaming for more.

When you look outside at the fresh fallen snow,
so many are doing and so many you don’t know,
Think of those who inspire and soon you’ll see,
Things will move forward and continue to be.

The life is not the greatest fighting this disease.
Continue to ask as you drop to your knees
That things will get better and rightfully quick,
Good things to come, and not all from St. Nick.

So listen carefully as you think what needs to be done,
If you have an idea, take it and run.
Don’t leave it to others; it’ll be just a few,
“Don’t do nothing” is what you really must do.

And if you think you’re done, tired, and feeling sort of sore,
Think of your loved one with diabetes, it’ll make you do more.
And if not for you, it will be for their sake,
We won’t stop at all till they all get a break.

And then, in a twinkling, one day we’ll hear on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
And the only thing needed in Santa’s bag for sure,
Is when diabetes is gone because of a cure.

So we will all continue to work, the ‘where’ is up to you,
But you have to make the decision on something you’ll do.
And one day we’ll scream and exclaim, “diabetes is gone from sight,”
The Happiest Christmas ever, and to all a good-night!

I am a DiabetesDad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’

Remember there is a “Best” in Banting and Best

November 14th, is World Diabetes Day.  This date was chosen because it’s the birthday of Frederick Banting.  Who chose this?

I’m a huge fan of Hamilton, the Broadway Musical.  In as great as the show is, I always found it interesting that Alexander Hamilton, a man who was not even president, became as popular as he did, and stayed.  Was the biggest claim to fame the fact that he was shot, and died, in a duel?   In the show, the opening number in fact, Aaron Burr announces,…..and me? I’m the damn fool who shot him.  We are lead to believe in the musical that Aaron Burr was much more popular than Hamilton and his life’s love declares that she would spend the rest of her life making sure history remembered Alexander Hamilton.

I guess it worked.  I mean I do not see Aaron Burr’s portrait on any currency.

Which brings me back to my opening sentence.  Who decided that Frederick Banting gains all the attention when poor Charles Best, lacking the PR machine that Alexander Hamilton had, becomes not much more than a foot note in this historic discovery.

Now I’m very aware that it was Banting who spearheaded this endeavor but it just seems to me that there was much work that went into the discovery of insulin.  I mean both of their names are on the patent (there is a third name as well—a different story for another time).  Banting even shared half of his money from winning the Nobel Prize.  Good. But not good enough.

The world will never fully understand the work of Charles Best in the discovery of something that literally has saved the lives of millions of people.

Insulin.

So this February 27th, the birth date of Charles Best, I say we do something in honor of the man most forgotten in a discovery that had glory enough for all.  Perhaps pass legislation on this date that makes the very discovery created to save lives, also affordable to save lives.

I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Could it be; a Patch that REALLY STAYS? Take a Look and Try for Yourself.

As many of my readers know, I do not use these pages for advertising.  If I find something that can help, solve a problem, and/or make diabetes life any easier, I share. To be clear: I have received no remuneration for this article, I’m sharing about this product because, quite frankly, it just does what it’s supposed to…….stay on.

I hope it works for all, but in fairness I have not seen it on everyone so I can not say 1000% that it will be for everyone.  And of course if you have any hesitation, ask your medical team about the product after you visit their site and find out more.  That said, and the disclaimers aside, if you ever had a problem with your patch you may want to read carefully.

StayPut Medical is a series of patches created by Mike Mangus (founder Pres./CEO) because he heard from so many while in his prior jobs what a problem these patches are/were with the medical devices supposed to stay on, including those devices worn by people with diabetes.  I saw a group of moms talking about StayPut and then I gave a few to people I know; and each one said the patch made an incredible difference.

So now I share with you.

You can click the link above on Mike’s site where you will find a boatload of information,  how this all came about, and also how you can receive a free sample ($1.99 for shipping and stuff).

Good luck and let me know what you feel after you try them.  And also share this on sites where this patch might help others.
I am a diabetes dad.
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Just another Dog???……Not by a Long Shot

I was not going to have another dog.  It just was not in the cards.  When a new litter of Shih Tzus was born to a family member, we declined as we expected.  Weeks went by and all the dogs were spoken for, but one.  All the others that were claimed were brown, but his little fella looked like a black and white patchwork, more seen in a cow than a dog.  He was so tiny.  We were visiting and I was asked to hold this little, tiny, furry, slightly squeaking bark of a dog when I held his nose close to mine and said; gimme one reason to take you home.

Without hesitation, he lifted his head and licked my nose.  He’s coming home with us. …….and just like that Dusty became a member of the family.

We welcomed the little pup who grew quickly and he grew strong.  He was surely a small dog as Shih Tzus tend to be, but he had large shoulders and was a strong dog for his size.  Soon another litter was born and we took another puppy, Jessie.  The two became thick as thieves.

Inseparable these two became, as I playfully nicknamed them Stupid 1 and Stupid 2 because whatever trouble they did get into…..they got into together.  But they were great dogs.  People marveled how when told to go to their room, they marched right in.  Same as when we announced, Bedtime!  If told he was a bad dog, Dusty’s shoulders would drop and those big eyes looked up at you as he walked by knowing he did wrong.  They were also fabulous with both kids and seniors.

He was a loyal dog.  Once, a UPS man delivered a package to me while on our porch.  I turned to walk away and the UPS man took a step toward me while my back was to him because he wanted the spelling of my last name.  Dusty took a leap between us and leaned on his hind legs and growled his upper teeth.  Should I be afraid.  I answered that he had never done that and I would not take the chance…..and the man left.  Dusty jumped up on my lap and looked up with those big eyes again, Like that daddy, right?
I pet his head, kissed his nose and told him what a good boy he was.

When we were hurt or sick, he would lie next to me and not leave.  Same as when we worked in our office….just lay there content to be with us.  He could play catch, he could run.  Oh how he loved to play catch with one of about 15 balls he would fetch out of his ‘toybox’.  And if he chose one to play with, it was THAT ONE ONLY that would do.  Too smart.   Once when Jessie got out of the house, we could not find her anywhere.  In desperation my daughter took Dusty out on the porch and with a desperation in her voice she said, Dusty, find Jessie….go find Jessie, Dusty.   He put his nose up in the air as if he was smelling, then immediately ran down the steps and a half a block away and stopped and stared at a neighbor’s house.  We were astounded.  Jessie was found in their back yard.  And whatever he was to me, he was ten times more to Jill.  He was smart as a whip and as protective as a bear, this little cow of a dog.

On Sunday last, at around 3 pm he started breathing funny, by 5:30 my Little Cow was gone.  The Vet said, in actuality, he died of natural causes even though by all expectations and written materials he had another 6+ years left.  But that was not to be.   Amazing the things we can become attached to and we are rewarded greatly with mountains of unconditional love and kisses and all we need to do is just give them a little love.  As he was fading in and out and leaving us, I kissed his little nose one last time and whispered, That is the kiss you once gave me……I hope mine now takes you home.

Sleep my Little Cow, We will always love Dusty.

A Favor……Perhaps……..Could be Times 4!

As many of you know, I rarely utilize this column for anything more than the articles to hopefully teach and inspire,  But there is this incredible opportunity given to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation that I’m sure hoping you will join in and help.

The Sola Sweet company, from now until the end of November –Diabetes Awareness Month—-will match every dollar up to $10,000 donated on the site listed below—-we already have over $1600.00.  And to make it even better; we also have another match from a Foundation that will match that $20,000 donation as well.   It’s too good an opportunity not to ask if you would be so kind and help.

Go to this site on FaceBook:
https://www.facebook.com/thesolacompany/
……and donate today.  November is Diabetes Awareness Month, Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, with everything your $20 donation would be matched to make it $40, and that entire match would be matched again to make it $80.00…..so EVERY donation will be multiplied by 4……please donate today.

Any questions, feel free to shoot me an email at tkarlya@drif.org

Thank you so much for caring so.
I am a diabetes dad.
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Painting Your Child’s Diabetes…..Careful, it’s Not your Canvas

I saw a picture this week, a child in a hospital and the person who posted it wrote that this was their life with diabetes, that no one knew what they went through, and this is their world every day, all of the time.

As I read this story, I felt bad for two reasons……the first, and obvious, is that no one wants to go thorough their life with a child in a hospital for any length of time. The second is that this person truly believed that this IS their ‘world, every day’, how sad.  Our life was not this, ‘every day’.  From my kids’ point of view, yes they have a disease. Yes it sucks.  But they hit it head on and move through, on, and/or around but they do not stop due to this disease………….ever.  They accomplished what any other child WITHOUT diabetes accomplished.

Bad days?  You bet.   Time they want help to take a break from a CGM and/or a pump?  Of course.  But for the most part they realized the only way they can move forward is to……well, move forward.

If I was a child of fourteen-or-so in a hospital stay from  a low blood sugar, I’m not so sure how thrilled I would be if my dad posted a picture of me on social medial for the world to see.  If you think that it does not matter to your child, you better think again.  And if you think that they do not see things like that on social media……..you better think about that again as well.

It’s a tough balance because; for whatever diabetes charity one is involved, it’s important to move people to give and help those causes, and that is great, but also do not be afraid to ask your child what they think on the picture you are about to post or the story you are about to tell.  Ask them.  And listen to their answers.

When I write or I post, I have guidelines from my kids.  Twenty-six+ years into this I still remind myself daily that I do not have this disease.  I do not know what it’s like…..not for one second.  I respect their space, their feelings, and how they want the world to see their diabetes.  It’s not my disease.

I can speak from/as a parent but that is all I’m allowed to speak about without asking them.  Richard Rubin, one of the leading psyche-social-aspect-gurus of all time taught the meaning of the balance of respecting our kids and helping them understand that their life is not ‘just an open book’ because we think it should be.

Remember this the next time you are trying to make a point about this world of diabetes.  Know that this word is your child’s world 24/7/365……if you think you own it, your children will never learn to.  And the faster they take it on as their own, the better you will all be.  Help them through ALL OF IT but don’t assume you have rights without asking them.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Tennis Balls and Syringes; How the Diabetes Ball Bounces

Here we are for our 27th Diabetes Awareness Month.   Ahhhh November.  The thing I always share with parents is the fact that no matter how much time we spend on this journey, whether diagnosed last week, or 26 years ago, it makes sense to look back to the beginning and realize just how much we learned.

Because whether it is a short time, or a long time, one thing I know to be true is that no matter how much time passes, we gain knowledge every day.  Don’t we?  We start with the realization that we have no idea what this disease is about, and how to handle it, to meeting with newly diagnosed parents sharing with them that they too can do what we all have done.

One-day-at-a-time—–and breathe.

The other day I saw a tennis instructor working with a young pupil.  A basket full of tennis balls accompanied the teacher.   I’m not a tennis player and know little about it other than what I learned the times I tried it in my youth.   This was a new visual for me.  Tennis ball after tennis ball after tennis ball went from instructor’s racket over the net to the student’s racket.  It clearly was a practice they had done hundreds of times because the student knew, without a spoken word, when to move to different parts of the tennis court, or to use a backhand or overhead swing.  It was fascinating to watch.  Hours and hours and tens of thousands of tennis balls……tennis ball after tennis ball after tennis ball, again and again and again.

Every now and again the student would get frustrated because a shot was missed.
“Grrrrrrrr” came the noise.
All for one goal—-perfection.

We, too, do the same thing when it comes to our children and their diabetes management.  Again, and again, and again we try, striving for that perfection.  Perhaps we need to give ourselves a break sometimes because we are going to be right back at it tomorrow, and the next day, until such time that the ‘break’ we wait for arrives and this disease is cured once and for all.  But until such time it’s injection after blood check after treating a low after injection after blood check after treating a low after injection after……..

“Grrrrrrrr”.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Our Child’s Scariest First Dive

This may not be big news to anyone, but my little guy gave himself his own shot today.
Point: This IS BIG NEWS to anyone who understands that our children, once diagnosed, not unlike us; face incredibly ‘firsts’.  To me whether you are jumping off a cliff into water 80 feet below or taking an injection of insulin for the firs time——the unknown….is just that…..unknown.

Having the courage to say, “Mommy, I want to give myself my own shot today.”  Well to me, that is a huge step in the life of a child living with diabetes.  To begin to say, “This is my disease, I want to take control of it.” That’s huge and is a big step in any child’s life.

We, as parents, as much as we may try, have no idea what this might be like.   Think about it.  One is diagnosed.  Months go by and hundreds of blood-checking and insulin shots have occurred in your little one’s body.  They watch, but they really do not understand everything, they might nor even understand much at all.  But something clicks in their little minds; Why is mommy doing this to/for me each and every time, numerous times a day?

They ask themselves that question.  And each time, for days and weeks, they watch as insulin is given.  And at some point it hits them; why does mommy have to do this, I can do this.

Then, for a number of times, they ask the question inside their own heads at first.  Not sure what it means nor what you will say when they ask.  Again, again, again, and again they watch and the words are on the tip of their tongue.  Then, as if a voice from way down deep inside pushes their tiny thought our of their little mouth;  Can I give myself my shot today?

The world stops dead-in-its-tracks as parent and child stare at each other.  Almost as if the disbelief from the one hearing it,  is matched by the disbelief of the little one saying it.   They stare at each other.

Mom will speak first.

Ah……um…….sure honey.  If you want to try it.  Sure.

Mommy smiles as she hands the insulin to the waiting child.
The child has seen it hundreds of times, they know what to do.
Still, there is that moment.  That moment of the unknown.  The child does it, takes the injection, lifts the needle out and looks square into the eyes of mommy.  The child smiles.
See mommy I knew I could do it.
Mommy smiles and hugs her child tightly.
Yes baby, I knew you could.

The child runs and goes to continue playing outside with the incredible feeling of accomplishment.  The first step in taking on their diabetes.

Mommy smiles until her child leaves the room and is outside playing again.
She drops on the bed and cries her eyes out.

I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.