To My Canadian Friends……….With Love.

Canadian FlagI started writing my article today and I am filled with the horror and sadness of the news from our neighbors to the north.  And I am compelled to relay my feelings.

My heart aches today for Canada.

A soldier, standing at a tomb of unknown soldiers—unarmed—gunned down for the reasons we all now know as meaningless….is something I just cannot get my arms around.  A soldier dies, and a hero comes forward as the Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, ended the day where surely more people would have died.

This is not a day to re-hash arguments about ANYthing.  Today is a day to mourn the loss of a soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, doing his job in an area where he should not have given his life; and the story of a hero putting a stop to a deranged gunman, because it was his duty.

The gunman who, if it is all the same to you–I choose not to mention and give him one additional iota of recognition which he deserves none, was carefully and methodically covered in black with a scarf half covering his face performing the most cowardly act ever—–shooting someone who had no chance whatsoever.

He shot, by all accounts, a good man.  And for this I am so saddened.

Since 9/11, these acts have impacted me completely different.  They are all personal.  One person is too many and 3000 people is a lot of ‘one persons’ too.  As each one is a person with a family, a life, a hope, and a future………no more.

My diabetes world has taken me to Canada a few times and even to their Capitol.  My friends are in Canada.  I’m sure I have photos somewhere of a soldier by that tomb, meaning I have stood on that ground, which will forever be considered more hallowed than it was before.  That unknown tomb will now represent those unknown plus one other who was known and gave his life in honor of those who never will be.

The gunman failed.  He wanted to disrupt government and make people afraid.  I’m sure the government will go on; and life for many will go on without fear.  Perhaps a little more understanding of the fact that differences may occur in a house of Parliament, but at the end of the day they are Canadians; together.  As we have learned once, and were painfully reminded that we, here, are all Americans.   We are all people.

To my many friends across the border who I have been fortunate to meet in our diabetes-pathways, I hurt for you today.  We hurt for you today.  Your pride and your resilience will get you through this—-you have a beautiful country with beautiful people.

As former President Bill Clinton once stated; In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that tear nations apart, Canada stands as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity, and mutual respect.

Nothing should ever take that away from you——and we may have very well learned on a day when someone thought they could—that no one ever will.

God Bless and keep all of you.

I am a diabetes dad.

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


A Painful Event, Tears….and a Few Lessons to Share….My Little Girl.

Kaitlyn FlowerFunny that at the age of 24 my eyes still see her as the picture I posted.  She is not of course and she is an incredible woman who I am so positive will have an incredible impact on so many.  But parents know that no matter the scenario, we see them so young.

I have sat down to write this quite a few times.  It seemed to get harder each time, and much of this story, will stay within our family but there were some things that I now know, and my family now knows that could help others.  So I will attempt, again, to get through this story.

It happened over the last few months. We did not want to share it until we were ready.  Today is such a day.  Only a very few knew what we going through at the time.  Kaitlyn was hospitalized.  Hell on earth came to visit…….again.

She is, or seems to be, fine; now.  Some blood work is still outstanding and some numbers from various blood tests are still askew but for the most part we are under the strong belief that she is getting stronger each day.

Kaitlyn is a stoic.  She rarely complains and for someone going into the medical field, she wants to know what is happening with her body at all times.  So it was with concern that she came to us weeks ago, after a few days of these ‘flu-like’ symptoms, and informed us that blood was passing out through her system.

Not good.

We went to the emergency room and she was admitted.  The next five days happened with such speed and, simultaneously, with such slowness that we were climbing the walls.  Ever had that feeling?  Her internal organs were swollen, every number that should not be high was off the charts and every number that should not be low dropped below dangerous.  The pain was incredible.  The fear was immeasurable.

All except her blood glucose levels….which through most of this; were fairly normal.  And THAT actually scared us more because now nothing made sense.  Imagine that?  Each day, as we progressed, I would call experts I know from around the globe trying to determine what all of this was about.  The first, and common thought was mononucleosis (mono), which seemed like the rational thought given the symptoms; but our medical team given the results, were unsure as to what was before them; what WAS clear was that this was not a ‘normal’ case of mono.

I lost count on how many tests were done. Sixty….seventy….who knew?  Kaitlyn was getting weaker.  We were getting more worried.  More tests were being ordered.  These were/are very good doctors.  Stony Brook University Medical Center is one of the best I know of for so many reasons.  It is also where Kaitlyn ‘grew up with diabetes’ and also did her undergraduate studies.  We KNOW this hospital.

And still, they poked, prodded, and scratched their heads as they grappled with each test that was returned……..levels still of concern….but no clear diagnosis.

She had four teams of doctors.  Each studying everything carefully.

It seems, in many cases, it’s a hospital protocol to remove an insulin pump in the ER.  Not so sure why this is, and I also am unsure if I have my facts exactly correct on this issue.  THAT was not going to happen with us and we came to a compromise that the insulin pump would remain but we would have to use the hospital-prescribed insulin.

Compromise.  The first and important lesson.  Listen carefully should you ever end up in the hospital.  They have reasons for rules and it’s not necessarily important that we know why they have some of them, but they do.  We heard what they said, and we told them our concern.  And we came to a course of action.  Even when it came to checking blood sugar, Kaitlyn wanted to use her meter because if you HAVE BEEN in a hospital you know that their lancet can be like a harpoon.  When Kaitlyn knew that it was THE METER that was important, she asked if she could use her own lancet but their meter; problem solved.  Listen and look for common ground.

You Make the Decisions.  All medical teams will evaluate and give you your options.  I cannot tell you how many hours were spent after we left the hospital trying to decipher what we were being told.  As we were given information, we felt it extremely important that her 4 teams conferred a little more frequently and they obliged.  It avoided mixed signals and helped us come up with a clear course of action.

Ask questions.  The decisions are yours to make and at one point in our scenario there was a discussion about surgery.  Asking questions, and them conferring, created a wait-and-see attitude that resulted in no surgery.

Take Notes.  You will never remember everything.  Write down what they tell you during your stay, and who said it.  When someone would come in and state something; we would refer to the notes and were not afraid to say, “Doctor XYZ stated this, how does that come into play with what you are now saying?”  It was explained so we understood, or it was agreed that Doctor XYZ would be in contact with Doctor ABC.  And when Doctor ABC came in, we were the first to ask if they heard from Doctor XYZ?  Notebook.  Take notes.  What was said and by whom.   All—-important

Listen.  To not only the professionals, but each other.  Kaitlyn’s opinion, and in many cases more-so than ours, was in the mix.  I’m convinced that our kids need to be part of what we feel we can tell them in a process like this.  You KNOW YOUR CHILD and how much or how little input that may be is your call.  But know this, they hear the nurses and people talking all around them….just KNOW THAT and remember that knowledge is power and helps eliminate fear.

Breath.  Seems like rhetoric, but it is not.  Get away. Cry. Pray. Breath.  Educate yourself.  Distract your emotions for some time; but accept your emotions when you need to.  Release is good and you will know when to do that best.

It was diagnosed that Kaitlyn was dealing with mono.  Apparently some think it was due to her diabetes that it hit so hard, but others have had mono without the same results—-so I guess it’s a crap shoot.  An Epstein Barr virus (which mono is) can play havoc, I am told.   I do not have all my answers yet, but I’m searching and will let you know what, if anything, I can find out.  She was released under the caveat that we would watch for anything that would derail, and would notify the medical team immediately.  A diagnosis, based on everything it was not; more than what it was.  She is back to work 7 weeks after it all started, the doctors feel it is okay. Tests results are getting better.  She is getting stronger toward her ‘ol self each day.

I leave you with this final note.  And yes, as I write it my eyes tear up.  One day when I went into Kaitlyn’s room I saw something that will stay with me forever.  It was the nurse supervisor sitting on a chair with her chin resting on her hands and her elbows resting on her knees.  Listening and watching.  Kaitlyn had her insulin pump in her hands and I stood to the outskirts of the hospital curtain and listened as the teachable moment for the professional was given by the patient.  She spoke in detail so there was a better understanding of this thing called an insulin pump.  The nurse thanked her for the information.

Later I would find an empty room and cry.  The patient became the teacher.  The one with diabetes would take a moment from her healing to help so others would benefit.  In this case, that patient who was in so much pain, was a young lady I find very, very special.

Later that evening, as I watched her sleep in a hospital bed, I was taken back 22 years to when she laid in a crib in the same hospital; and the promise was first given……I will not fully rest until we have done all we could.  People need to be educated, and I whispered the words again as I watched her sleep; “Daddy will not leave stone unturned honey, until a cure is found.”

Thank you for indulging a dad today.  A dad who wants what you want.  A Diabetesdad.

I am a diabetes dad.

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


Do You Know About the TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT???….You Should!

Teal-Pumpkin-ProjectThere is much…I MEAN MUCH…that the diabetes community can learn from the Teal Pumpkin Project.  I thank Christina for informing me of this endeavor.  What is the Teal Pumpkin Project and who is responsible?

The Teal Pumpkin Project is an endeavor by FARE.  Their informative website states:
Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, including all those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in 13 children in the United States – or roughly two in every classroom. FARE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was formed in 2012 as the result of a merger between the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network and the Food Allergy Initiative.

Their mission is to find a cure for food allergies, and to keep individuals with food allergies safe and included.

I, for one, love that word “included”….it says so much doesn’t it?  I also love the fact that someone, or a group of people, stepped outside the box and stated we should join forces and become one.  Better to be a group to be reckoned with by becoming one powerhouse than two groups jockeying for positioning in the same space.  Not that it could happen in our worlds, but it surely gave me food for thought.

Now about the Teal Pumpkin Project.  Again from their website: This Halloween, FARE is encouraging communities to start a new tradition that will help make this holiday season less scary for children with food allergies: the Teal Pumpkin Project. This campaign encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies by providing non-food treats for trick-or-treaters and painting a pumpkin teal – the color of food allergy awareness – to place in front of their house along with a free printable sign from FARE to indicate they have non-food treats available. 

The Teal Pumpkin Project is designed to promote safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies – and to keep Halloween a fun, positive experience for all.

Now kids with Type 1 are NOT REALLY restricted from foods, but they surely have to watch carefully what they eat and balance their management with what they eat.  But we all have kids in our neighborhoods and it very well may be that some have food allergies and in fact, I can almost guarantee that some kids coming to your house; will!

It certainly would not be a bad thing to take part in this program so take a look at their site and download whatever you need to become a Teal Pumpkin Project House in your neighborhood.  There is no reason why we cannot help this organization because it makes sense and helps others…..why not?

Which takes me to another large point about this project—when you go to their Teal Pumpkin Project website you are informed: FARE would like to thank the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) for this wonderful idea. We are pleased to bring it to the attention of families across the country, and we hope you will join in our effort to make Halloween more inclusive for children with food allergies.

I find it so incredibly encouraging that a national organization publicly  thanks a group for an idea and actually partners with them to expand it because it makes sense.  It’s not merely an awareness campaign, it is an action step so kids with allergies know which houses have toys/items/small gifts in lieu of candy.  Again, it makes sense.
So FARE, my hat is off to you for your campaign and giving credit where credit is due and not merely taking an idea, changing it slightly, and making it your own.

We all deal with kids during Halloween, so this is something we surely can help spread the word; so feel free to share this post wherever you can.  At the end of the days, all of us are a community are we not?   In any community it surely strengthens it when ALL BOATS rise together.

Nothing scary about that…………………… there?

I am a diabetes dad.

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


Everywhere in the World…..Kids are Kids….What are You Teaching Them?

St. Lucia School ChildrenI had the opportunity to travel for the last week.  It was a vacation and I traveled to St. Lucia. St. Lucia has a population of about 174,000 residents and clearly makes the most of their income from the resort industry.  The people who live in this area, with an income of roughly $13,000 annually, are very friendly to Americans and are very proud of their long history.

As I traveled across this small island, I noticed a very interesting event occurring at a corner firehouse.  It was while watching a group of school children, in full uniform (they are in uniform from elementary thru college), listening to the man in uniform with wide-eyed amazement that caught my attention.

It was not that I expected something different, but it was clear to me that whatever the children were listening to, it had the full attention of every child in the room. How often is this very scene played out in every community in the United States?  It struck me clearly that it does not matter where you are in the world; children are just that: children.

They are amazed by things they do not understand, they question what they do not know, they like to laugh, and their eyes are full of wonder and hope.  My question is if we fully realize how much we are responsible for the wonder and hope that we place into our children’s lives?  What is the example we set?  I am all for being realistic but  have you noticed that children become the reflection of what we give them?

In the world of diabetes, we need to ask ourselves how our kids are doing and how much do we play a role in how they do living with diabetes day-to-day.  Do they feel like they can do whatever they set their mind to do, or do they live in absolute fear that diabetes will stop them?  Do they move forward knowing we believe in their efforts or are they challenged at every corner that they are not taking ‘proper’ care?  Do they see a future of hope or a valley of doom?  What are we doing to show them that life is there for them to grab?

Children are children all across the world; they will take what we give them…….what are you giving?

I am a diabetes dad.

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


Our Diabetes World…..IS CHANGING Faster than we Think!!

Train speedWhen Kaitlyn was first diagnosed in 1992, at the age of two, many people told us that if there was ever a time to have diabetes….it was now.  There were so many things different.   You no longer had to pee in a cup to check your blood sugar, there was now a meter that in 45 seconds would give you the amount of blood sugars and you could adjust the insulin to help quicker.

There were two insulins; one long acting and one more immediate so it would help with what she was about to eat, and also throughout the day.  It was an insulin…..made of pork.  Drawing two needles a few times a day, mixing insulins, drawing into the syringe, ‘flicking’ for bubbles to be removed all became part of the regime; but it was better than boiling syringes, and using ‘dipsticks’ testing urine for some sort of reading on blood sugars. But it was supposed to work better than anything else before that time……and it did

We quickly came to accept that a cure was a slow process and many people told us that what we heard, was not the way it would be.  Be careful of the news; the cure would be years away we were told back then.  The ‘ten years from now’ and ‘decade for the cure’ were not exactly as planned; but were said in terms of hope more than anything else.  But as long as many were working on it—-that was important.  News of advancement, although mis-information in many cases was just that, news.  And this was a good thing.  Way back ‘when’, and remember this, the headlines said that the discovery of insulin was a cure.  To the world of news perhaps, but not to those who lived with it every day.

We heard of this thing called an insulin pump.  It was just about, we would read, maybe just a year or two away in practical use.  Someday (in a StarWars-esque kind of way) there may even be a way that Kaitlyn would test her blood sugar electronically without even pricking her finger.  But that was a long way off.

But things were different in 1992, if ever there was time to be diagnosed, it was at that time.  So many things coming, we were told.

And that was true, they were.

When Rob was diagnosed in 2009 I was told that it sucked that Rob was diagnosed but if ever there was a time to have diabetes, it was then.


Now you may think that this is a negative story but it is far from it.  Having two children diagnosed 17 years apart has given me an incredible perspective. It’s an exciting perspective to have, as much as one can have, living with this disease every day from the observation deck of being a parent.  Actually living with it is probably a different story and NOTHING is fast enough for those in the 24/7/365 cycle of diabetes’ grasp.

But I’ll tell you what I have observed and how I feel.  And know these are MY feelings alone.  But I have a vantage point that many do not, having two children with this disease.  In a relatively short amount of time; insulin pumps are worn directly or on the hips; CGMs are in regular use, insulins have changed, syringe’s are more-and-more being moved to the ‘back-up’ role with click pens full of insulin already to go, artificial pancreas, bionic pancreas, stem cells making insulins, viacyte, biohub, devices to hold islet cells, omentum, have all entered our everyday vocabulary.

They were not there just a few years ago.

This diabetes changing world is moving at a speed faster than we realize and of course not fast enough for any of us.  But a lifetime is, we surely hope, a long time.  When I think of the amount of change I have seen; the amount of words that were not there just a few years ago; the devices that were not there just a few years ago; the new approaches that were not being investigated just a few years ago to rid this forever; the management tools that had no definition just a few years ago; the meds and knowledge that were not there just a few years ago; not even to mention the immediate sources of connecting with each other and supporting each other in the DOC…………………..well, I am deeply encouraged.

We all need to continually support the entities we believe in, challenge all of those we know who are smarter than us working on what they are working on, and support our loved ones and each other until whatever it is we seek; arrives.  Know that “it all” is a process and it takes time.  I know that it’s not here fast enough.  And ‘it’ is whatever it is that we see down the road for our children, or for ourselves.   But keep your chin up and stay positive because I do know this, it’s coming.  And “it” is the many things that are exciting, advanced, and hopeful; and they will get here…………………………albeit never fast enough.

I am a diabetes dad.

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


A Diabetes Celebrity Right in Our Hands……..Let’s Put Him to Work!

Coco and Mickey MouseWithout a doubt one of the most beloved animated characters of all time is Mickey Mouse; and I think on that we can all agree.  I have stated it before, and it is worth repeating, that Lily Diabetes and Disney teaming up to create an actual Disney character with diabetes is one of the most incredible partnerships I have ever seen.

Mickey’s friend, Coco, has diabetes……kids do not feel so alone!!!!!  Cool, right?

I have written about it before but it’s important enough to repeat especially now that Coco is becoming quite active with “going to school” and doing “sleep-overs” and stuff.

The diabetes community has always, and continues, to look for GREAT spokespeople to educate others about diabetes.  Well there is one in our own back yard and we should take advantage of it.  And it is one Mickey Mouse and his friend Coco.

We, in the diabetes community, are always looking for ways to educate the public and always are looking for ways to help.  People, many times, share with me their limited resources.  They cannot be fund-raisers for a cause or have a huge outreach, here is something that is simple and could truly have an impact educating others.

What if we could figure out a day, a national day, that could be for reading.  I know they exist and I know the NEA’s Read Across America happens each year, and there are others also; not to mention Diabetes Month and Diabetes Alert Day in March..  Why not grab one of those great collaborative books of Coco and Mickey Mouse….and offer to read it to your child’s school or in a library.  How cool would it be if all across America the diabetes community was reading one of these books to children on the same day or in the same week/month?

The question always arises, if we had a celebrity……what would we do with them?????  Who is a bigger celeb than Mickey Mouse for goodness sakes? Well now you know.  Take Mickey and Coco into the classroom, your child’s classroom.  Read about diabetes……talk about diabetes.

There is plenty of time to set it up, but I wanted to get your thoughts.  What do you think?  I’m truly interested in your feedback.  Kindly reply to this, and not just on the FB page where you saw this, but here on the post so everyone can read what others think.  We have a celebrity here in the diabetes community…….let’s put him, and Coco, to work!!!!


I am a diabetes dad.

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



R-E-S-P-E-C-T; Each Situation Warrants this Action Step!

RespectNone of us, NONE; have all the answers.

I’m the first one to say that each family/person needs to take control of their diabetes; and I will certainly push back when I need to when needed, but let’s be very clear about something; in as much as no one knows our children as much as we do—-there are many, many  medical professionals that are, and need to be, part of our team and THEY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

If they do not, find somewhere else but if we are not in a situation, let’s just not be so quick to throw the rope over the tree.  When someone shares 7 sentences on a situation and the reactions/comments/posts begin, I’m often amazed at the quick judgment.  Remember that whatever you write or say………that person may do exactly what you said (which is silly to think but know that they might) without all of the facts to consider.

One must always respect a situation or a professional.  No more, or less, than we ask them to respect us.  If you are not personally involved in a situation be very careful to offer a course of action.  I read one response recently, ‘Absolute violation of HIPAA’.  Uhm……not necessarily.  There are many papers signed as we create a medical plan in our schools for our kids and when I read that statement I thought, “Wow, I have a million questions, how did that person know that the action was a violation?”  A bit bold…and wrong…..don’t you think?

Now what if the person who stated the situation took that comment as gospel?  Now many might say that when anything is written or stated it is understood that it must be taken with a grain of salt; and that is a fair statement.  But I also would like to add, that when advice is given, it needs to be given with a grain of salt also.

You may not have all the details, facts, and/or angles of the situation to give a sound course of action.  Take a breath and ask, will this help, truly help; or do I just want my opinion heard?  We have to be very careful and remember that everyone does not think like you do.  Some may not take it all in and weigh everything.  We hope that they do, but they may not.

My point is simple.  Respect each situation and respect those involved.  If you need more information….ask.  There are wonderful resources for education out there and all of us take advantage of those opportunities.  We all must just take an extra step in making sure any advice…….is sound advice.

I am a diabetes dad.

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




Is it About Time You Hit the “Take Control” Button?

take-control“It’s been two years since my child was diagnosed and I cry every night, still.”
“My school denied my child having a medical plan…..”
“I am so upset from my last Endo’s meeting.  She got mad at us because our A1C went up 1.5.”
“I took my child out of school again.  This is the 30th day missed already.  I am so upset.”

As I look over the many writings that happen each day; when I see these type of comments I always ask myself the same thing; why?

Either we, and the thousands of people I know, were just very lucky or there is something else here that needs addressing.  Heaven knows I’m the last person on earth that anyone needs to justify anything, but I ask this question today for you to ask yourself.  For you alone!

When you read so many parents stating how their families deal with diabetes and thrive, why are you not?  Again… do not owe me, nor anyone else, ANY EXPLANATION.  Whatever you are going through, you are going through.

But at some point, when devastation hits, you must choose to get on with life.  Death, divorce, diagnosis, or whatever else has impacted your life will always lead to a point where coping must allow you to continue.  Taking control (and I am not speaking of blood glucose levels) is a choice we need and must make

As I got dressed today, I stopped and looked at my grandparents wedding picture on a shelf.  As I looked at it I could not help but think; they are gone.  They had friends like we have, they went on vacation like we do, they had fun like we do, they had problems like we do and with the exception of one child; their immediate family and friends are all gone.  They are, but a memory.

Now as you read that, my guess is one of two reactions entered your mind.  How depressing or how important life is for every minute.  For all intent and purposes, at some point we all go to meet our maker.  Do you really think that this life was meant for you to live in despair and depression for the entire time you are here because of your child’s diabetes?    Now THAT’S depressing.

The only way to shake yourself of these feelings is to take control.  The ONLY WAY YOU CAN TAKE CONTROL is by educating yourself.  No one can make you feel a certain way unless YOU LET THEM.

If your child is missing that amount of school….and there are no other additional factors….find out why.  Hundreds of thousands of kids went through school and go through without missing 1/4 of the year….ask yourself why?

Others visit their doctor and when told about their A1C, do not just sit there and take that sort of attitude from their doctor it begins a dialogue…..ask yourself why?

Others walk into school and know their child’s rights inside and out when it comes to what covers them through the American Disabilities Act…..ask yourself why?

We all still get upset over what life has given us……but if you are overwhelmed each and every day……still…..ask yourself why?

After you ask yourself why; go out and do something about it. I know so many parents who have lost their child to this disease and still, somehow, find a way to continue.  When I feel down, depressed, defeated, or any other short-lived feelings I realize that how much my kids can thrive and grow with this disease.  I (me personally) feel that whenever I start to feel sorry for myself (not to mention what my kids WITH diabetes must feel) I nip-it-in-the-bud right away.  When I think of so many who lost this battle, I have no right to do anything but fight with all my might each and every day.

Because when so many were NOT given another day to live, and we are so fortunate to wake up and our kids to wake up….well I’m just going to make dang sure that we do everything in our power to control this and make sure we seize every moment we can.  I have said it a thousand times, and some still get pissed at me when I say it, but if you do not own diabetes it will surely own you.  And THAT is just not acceptable in our house.

Realize what we have, learn about what we don’t know, and take everything we can out of this wonderful life because at some point………we will end up as a mere picture on a shelf.  How will YOU decide to take control and live for YOU!!!!!

I am a diabetes dad.

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


Breast Cancer/Diabetes Awareness…..Are We Educated???…..Should We Be?

pinkribbonBREAST CANCER!!!!!!

The words alone scream at the reader with instant images of horrified pain and suffering.  But what does one know, when one does not know?  In a new series of articles I am proud to team up with Author, Lecturer, AADE’s Educator of the Year, and a good friend, Susan Weiner.

Susan Greenberg Weiner

She and I will discuss in a “She said-He said” forum/format some topics that we hope will open a dialogue.  We are not speaking as experts and not always about diabetes; but rather, we are speaking from the point of view of two people who, like others, might want to know something about a topic they otherwise may not know. And also, to just give two people’s opinion on the matter.  This being October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month it seemed like a natural way to start.

Many times people with diabetes state that others should be educated.  Well we in the diabetes community should be educated also; and learning about other topics outside of the diabetes world is not such a bad thing after all……is it?

Again, we open the dialogue and urge you to participate.

SHE: When my best friend told me she had breast cancer, I didn’t know how to react. Mostly because she had recently lost one of her closest friends to the disease. The truth is, it wasn’t about me; it was entirely about her. Listening to her and realizing that this was truly complicated allowed me to help her in ANY way that I could.
HE: How often do we tell others to just ‘suck it up’?  ‘Not to worry?’ It is important that we, as friends, realize the good days and the bad days come intertwined when it comes to dealing with cancer.  Everything does not always have an answer and just listening can sometimes be much better than ‘any right words’ of comfort.  Some days those words just don’t exist.  Listen.  Key big word to learn. 

SHE: Don’t “over think” how to support and help your friend or family member with breast cancer. As my friend Tom has taught me “do something, don’t do nothing”… so, figure out what you can do to help, without overstepping.
HE: I have always thought that when someone was diagnosed with cancer resulting in many friends shaving their heads in support that it was such a wonderful act.  I have found this to be true but not in all cases; the person it is being done for should be consulted first.  I was surprised to find out that the gesture, as wonderful as it seems, can also serve as a reminder to the person everything they are going through each time they now see their bald friends.  I never knew that aspect could come into play.

SHE: Coordinate meals “Be the meals on wheels coordinator”.  Many people want to bring or send food. Some days there might be too many meals, others too few. Don’t let the person you want to help feel overwhelmed with deliveries. You can set up the meals too once they arrive.   It’s great to have 3-4 meals a week because there are usually leftovers. This is very helpful especially after surgeries or during treatments.
Don’t be afraid to join her on those trips to the Doctor’s Office or to be on a conference call regarding insurance.  Let the questions be asked and you take the notes.  It is hard enough to stay focused, to help to write everything down as well is just that much ‘more work to do’….do something to help and not just wear pink.  Which, by the way, one woman told me that if she received anything pink; she would have screamed.  She understood the support but it only served as a reminder.  SO caution here.

SHE: Instead of sending flowers (or in addition to sending flowers) chip in with a few friends for a cleaning person to help out with house hold chores.
HE: Do not be so quick with one of those male phrases that are all-encompassing like “Don’t Worry” or “Cheer up”.   She will worry and you telling her to cheer up will not make anything better.  It is a fine line because you should not act like the voice of doom either.  Take each day as it comes.  Let her feel whatever it is she is feeling.  There are times she wants to be alone……let her be.  She needs to work through this in her own mind.

SHE: If there are young kids at home, send over a fun basket of things to do. It will keep the children occupied and happy and distracted. And speaking of kids driving children to and from activities can be a huge help.  Although the kids may want their mom to drive them, staying on schedule will help the children’s lives be much less disrupted.
HE: Until she says otherwise, everything needs to be on your shoulders.  Whatever was hers to do is now yours.  The more you do and help her feel comfortable that everything she took care of you now have under full control; the more she can concentrate on what she needs to handling her cancer.  Peace of mind is the best gift you can give her. So many times people ask “what can I do?” or “how should I react?”  We hope these are just a few thoughts that you might find valuable.  It’s important to realize that breast cancer can impact men as well as women.  According to the American Cancer Society, it is much rarer being 100 times less common among men than among women, but it does happen.  Breast cancer, according to the CDC is the most common cancer among women with no regard to any race or ethnicity.

It is a devastating disease and worthy of a discussion so PLEASE feel free to add whatever insight you may want to give to help educate others.  Thank you.

I am a diabetes dad.

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


Oh My God……SO Low at 4 am….it Could Have Been So Much Worse!!!!

4AM_logoIt happens, probably, somewhere in a household every hour……maybe even more.  It’s diabetes.  Hypoglycemic reactions, well, they come with the territory.  No one wanted diabetes and no one certainly wants to deal with a low or a high……..but they happen.  They do happen.  And they will happen to you.

My child had a severe low in the middle of the night.  It was a disaster.  Stayed up all night.  I cried.  It was a close call.  All I kept thinking is; WHAT COULD HAVE happened. 

Any of this sound familiar?  Sure it does.  We have all been there.

A long time ago, I tried my best to ‘redo’ my thinking when it came to a hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic reaction.   I made the ‘could have been’ the ‘what it was’.  Now that may seem a little strange, but every time it happened I made myself think, “that was it.”  There was no almost, or might-have-been, or could-have-been, or a we-dodged-a bullet-this-time—none of that.  Each episode got the attention needed and believe it or not, we moved on.

Over the years everyone in our house has been in some doozie car accidents.  Cars destroyed.  Sometimes a hospital stay.  Self-check: Alive.  We recover and we move on.  Life awaits no one.  Back in the car, hesitant at first; but soon driving again.

Life is so much like getting behind a wheel of a car.  The comparatives are many and this is another one.  After a crash, we get back on the road.  We do it quickly, and get our kids back out there quickly, because we have to or we never will again.

When our kids had a glycemic reaction; we did what we had to and got them (and us) back on the road again.   The ‘freak-out’ became shorter lived each time because why spend a whole lot of time on something ‘that might have been’?  The truth, we learned this with each episode, is that we DID WIN.  This time.  And we moved on.

Now this thought process took some time to achieve but glycemic reactions will happen. Deal with it…be scared…..but move on.  We were under the absolute belief that if we totally freaked out over an episode, our kids would pick up on it.  That’s not good.  “dealing with” is better than “freaking-out over” any day of the week.

When we get the call that our child was in a car accident, our heart stops.  They get better and we get them back in the car again as soon as possible.  Honestly, there is not much in this life that sucks much more than seeing your child become very, very low or very, very high (there are some things but this is bad enough).  Get them through it.

Should they get through it, which they will in most cases, celebrate that you won that battle and move on……… me; another one will be coming.  And you can live your life waiting for them in fear or take them as they come.

No one stated that living with diabetes would be easy……..but do not let it rule your life with fear either.  It should not be an “Oh my God it could have been so much worse….”  It should be, “We’ve got this, and if it happens again, we’ll have that too.”  Because the alternative is not a viable option.

After 22 years, we almost have it perfect.  But it isn’t easy……….is it?

I am a diabetes dad.

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