Time to Retire: ‘Diabetes Does Not Cause Complications, Diabetes-out-of-Control Does”!!!

retire “We are what we eat.”  Are we?  Of course we aren’t but the saying, which has been around for a long time, does have some meaning to it.  Believe it, don’t believe it; your choice no harm, no foul.

Diabetes does not cause complications, diabetes out-of-control does” is a different story because it is not just a statement and it is used in conferences and lectures and in writings THAT CAN be a bit detrimental to those who hear it and I think it is high-time that we retire this statement for good.

I had a discussion about his phrase recently with a friend of mine and although I understand it’s intent; I’m not so sure, anymore, that is absolutely true, and for many reasons.

To be clear, I have used it myself.  I have said it, I have written about it.  But anything so all-encompassing is something which we should look at and at least think about.  But the more I think about it, the more I feel that it’s not something that can be a white- wash for everyone across-the-board.  ‘Diabetes out of control’ is a very wide open statement and no one is in perfect control, all of the time.  So if everyone cannot be in control all of the time, in a practical means, why say something that 100% of people would fail at, during some point or another?

So now, not only do you have the worry of complications but now you also have the guilt of ‘failing’ at it.  And yet, there is no specific time limit of being out of control determining when or how complications would become evident.  So why say it at all?  The intent is a simple one; should you work diligently at managing your diabetes, you will certainly decrease the chances of complications; well say THAT but the blanket statement, as stated, is either just not completely true, or almost impossible to achieve…….so let’s retire it.

Clearly there is science backing the notion of tighter control decreasing the possibility of complications and that can be discussed and presented as needed.  But I do know that it’s not as cut and dry as this statement reads; and I do not think it should be stated as such.

Picture a newly diagnosed family hearing this for the first time.  Each time they go hypo/hyper-glycemic……well……they failed.  At that moment in time; diabetes is out of control…..right?  And let’s say a college student is away their first semester, and as is the case many times, their blood sugars spiral in all sorts of directions; diabetes is out of control…..right?

Tighter control is always the goal.  You really don’t have to remind many people with diabetes of that fact.  It gets pounded at them from every direction, and we parents do it more than probably we should.  I often try to step back and look at things and, to me, the phrase “diabetes does not cause complications, diabetes out-of-control does” needs to either be lengthened to be explained correctly, or removed altogether.

It’s a ‘sound bite’ that when stated makes a point but in reality; it speaks louder than needed to many who try as hard as they can and do not need to hear something that 100% of those who hear it, will fail at some point or another.  Let’s retire the phrase.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

“Who Reached Out to You?” Someone Could Use Your Help?

reaching outBeing new.

No one likes it.  New at a school, new in a neighborhood, new in a grade, new even at CWD Friends for Life.  There are ribbons worn by ‘First Timers’ at this event so people know that they can help them should their paths cross.  There are ways to help people and there is also David’s way of helping people.

David is a man (I will leave his last name off because he might not want to be publicly identified) whom we all need to take a page from his book of helping; whether at a conference or back in out hometowns.

David is a d-dad and I am convinced that David has taken the approach that he will never forget what it was like when his family was all new at this and made the decision that he is going to sit with as many people ‘new at this’ as physically possible.  All throughout the conference, David seemed to always be sitting with someone knew.  Answering questions, listening, and caring.

No fanfare or letting people know his intentions.  When I first noticed him at a table, I later noticed him again, and again, and again…….always with someone different.

Now that may not seem like a big deal, but when someone is new some place—-nothing can substitute for a friendly ‘Hello, I am ABC.  Are you new at this?”

Everyone ‘would rather’ just hang out with their friends.  At home, at a conference, makes no difference.  It’s easy just to stay within our inner circles and ‘be safe and comfortable”.  But we should all take a page from David’s book of reaching out.  Being new can really suck sometimes.

Being new in this diabetes world………can suck big time.  Don’t wait for someone to COME TO YOU……let them know you are there; you may change much more than just their world………..you may change yours.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

Glasses in the Shower……AGAIN!!!!! Do you EVER do this?????

GlassesAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!
I am a tad angry at myself.

I am a fairly newbie at wearing glasses, more often than not.  For the millionth time I have stepped into the shower with my glasses on.  I have done it before and I decided to ask if I am the only one who does that?  Do you ever wear your glasses into the shower?

And of course I started thinking how many other things ‘get worn’ into the shower that do not belong there both diabetes related and not.  So my article for today poses a very simple question, what have you ever taken into the shower that did not belong there?  Share, we can all use the humor today.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

 

“This is My Partner, GUILT—–It Goes Everywhere with Me!!!!!!!”

Guilt carryThere seems to be so many things we feel guilty about when it comes to diabetes, isn’t there?  In addition to blaming ourselves for the very cause of diabetes, as if we are really to blame, I have witnessed a ton of self blaming that is about as counterproductive a process as I have ever witnessed.

The biggest, and most, amount of blame seems to happen as one returns home from the 3-month-check-up.  It goes something like this:
Before:
XYZ’s endo appointment is tomorrow and I am so sick to my stomach worrying about their A1C and that conversation.
After:
The endo really gave to us today because XYZ’s A1C went up two points.

If I lived my life based on the 21+ years of A1Cs, I would have thrown myself off a bridge a long time ago.  It has no impact on my life whatsoever.

I’ll say it again, it has been years and years since my child’s A1C has had impact on my life.  I have not fretted over it, I have not been nervous about it, and I have not worried that a lecture was coming.

And neither should you.

I have also not whooped-it-up, screamed, or shouted when the number has been within a certain range.

Now hear me, I am not saying that it is a number that should not be given attention.  But if my children try and try to do something (and for that matter if we do the same), and it does not turn out the exact the way they/we wanted——I give praise for the attempt just as much as the result at finish line.  And to be quite truthful with you, in my opinion, diabetes gets too much power in our lives to allow everything that happens to be measured or based upon an A1C number—–4 times a year.

We get it. We look at it.  We decide a next course of action; and we move on.  If you are in a newly diagnosed household start NOW by not placing so much emphasis on the A1C as a report card.  Take it for what it is; a tool in the diabetes toolbox to assist you in your everyday battles.  Use it as the gauge and adjust as needed.

Failure.  This too is another aspect in our world.  There is so much to go wrong when trying to manage diabetes, isn’t there?  We miss, we forget, we leave stuff in the wrong places, we forget stuff at home and people’s houses, we run out, we buy the wrong thing, we forgot that our child’s actions might have been due to their diabetes………………………….we are just so horrible, aren’t we?

Relax.  REALLY……relax.

Do you know the hardest thing to do in baseball is to actually hit the ball.  The very premise of the game is the hardest thing to achieve.  It is why you see averages like .289——that is based on an average to 1.   You will only see someone batting 1.000 if they get up only once and get a hit.  After that it is just a matter of time that the player’s batting average continues to plummet.  Baseball is about who does better at….well….being bad; than actually being good—-if you think about it.

So give yourself a break.  Stop beating yourself up over something that changes every day and has too many outside factors influencing so much.  You are trying and you are trying hard.  Go blame your spouse for not doing the dishes after dinner last night…….let them feel guilty for something for once.

My money is on you!

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

Do Children Dealing with Diabetes ‘Count’ for Wish Dreams????

tripThere are quite a few organizations that offer that ‘dream of a lifetime’ to those who have ‘life threatening’ conditions, does your child, with diabetes fit into that category?  Someone wrote to me yesterday and stated that they felt they certainly should be allowed to apply, as diabetes has stopped them from many things.  What do you think?

My answer to this questions would go something like this: Whether or not someone is ‘deserving’ of those once in a lifetime trips, is up to each organization granting the wish.  They are the controllers of  the money and they set the parameters of who is allowed to be awarded such a trip.  If they choose to grant such a trip rests solely on their decision.

But it does lend itself to the question if they know how serious T1 diabetes is?   For that matter, does the world-at-large know how serious it is?  There are only a finite number of trips allowed each year…….should those with T1 be included?

So I ask you today to chime in on the topic.  What are your thoughts?

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

YUP!!!!!!! THAT Choice is all YOURS!!!!!!!

Thnk positiveEver notice that there are some people who seem to have gravitated to the act that diabetes is in their life but it does not run/ruin (the only difference between run and ruin is “I”–think about it) their life?  When did that happen?

These people usually have a very positive outlook and it seems that no matter what is thrown in their path, they stay on a positive.  How is that?

I can tell you that even the most positive person has days that they would rather forget.  What I find most interesting is that those who live on the positive-side will tell you that they just decided that diabetes would no longer ‘win’ in their lives.  That may sound easier said than done, and it takes time and practice but I can tell you that the choice is all yours.

There is no magic way of doing things to stay positive, it’s just deciding one day that you, your family, the way you live, will just no longer be controlled by diabetes.  That is not to say it is such a huge factor in our lives, it is; but as my daughter stated a long time ago, “I have diabetes, diabetes is not who I am”.

When I heard her say that in 1999, it was a defining moment for me.  If she was not going to let it run her life, than that would be the mantra of the entire family.  It’s here, there is nothing we could do about that; but how it is treated, well, THAT is something we have a choice.

To be clear, I am speaking from a parent’s point of view and not someone who has diabetes.  But whether you have it, or you are a parent of a child who has it, you can make the call.  Being positive is a process.  There is nothing ‘good’ about having diabetes but realizing many things in your life that ARE GOOD, and appreciating the fact that life is life and we all ‘have something’, is a good start on understanding how to control how much of your life diabetes takes.

People have it worse.  People have it better.  When our second child was diagnosed so many people said, “I could never deal with that”.  Well you could, because if it happened, you would.  It is truly that simple.

You can walk around with your head down and telling everyone how miserable life is; and that is exactly what you will get………miserable.  Start looking around and realize how great things are, it is what many of us do who choose to be positive.  Every morning when I am at home, I look out my bedroom window when I first wake up.  It is at the moment each day I realize a new day is here and with it, possibility.  I actually do this each day.

Try doing something small to start off.  Tell yourself why it will be a good day.  It will not always work out that way, but START your day saying…….today can be a good day.

And move forward.  Find the good…..because the bad will surely try to find you.  What do you do to stay positive?

I am a diabetes dad.

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

Ever Heard this from a Relative: “Hey, Did You Know……..???”

AaarghDo you think that people who live with other diseases are approached by relatives and friends with what they read last night about the latest organic, drink, pill, fruit, root, and/or remedy that if taken will get rid of their disease.

I never remember, when my dad was dealing with Alzheimer’s, that anyone had any ‘GREAT’ advice for us to rid the ailment in one swoop of a drink or pill.  Why do I, not only hear of, but hear of OFTEN, someone’s new take on what I ‘MUST DO TO HELP MY KIDS; HERE CHEW ON THIS ROOT”?

Do you find your self saying, “AAARGH…..stop with the ‘useful information.”

Mike Hoskins writes today in Diabetes Mine about the bionic pancreas and how a friend from college asks if he ‘knew about it’, once it hit the mainstream press around the time of the recent ADA Scientific sessions in San Francisco.

I find this humorous for if there is anything happening in the diabetes world, I would bet my last dollar that Mike is pretty aware of it.  But yet even he is contacted by a friend just ‘letting him know’ what is ‘new’ in the world.

Do not get me wrong, it’s FABULOUS that our friends and relatives are trying to keep us ‘up-to-date’ when they read about diabetes ‘in the news’ and it’s always good to hear that people care enough that when they read something it resonates with them enough to pass it along to us, ‘just in case’.

I just always find that if it is a “MUST SEE’ item,  it usually comes with a saying or sentence that sounds like this:
“Hey, did you see this????” (Probably—we are a little more in tune than most)
“You must try this.”  (Uhm….no….not really)
“I tried this on my dog, and it worked….good luck with it.” (seriously…..no comment)

Want to make someone in the diabetes word cringe….here it comes…..watch for it…..just ask, “Hey have you ever tried cinnamon?”   Bet you cringed, didn’t you????—-we heard it all before.

I have read where people become angry in dealing with this phenomena of ‘Hey have you heard……” from friends and relatives.  There is much to get angry at in this world on any given day, when someone starts this with you try to translate WHATEVER they are saying in your own head as…….”Hey, I thought of you last night when I read this.”  Disregard the nonsense that will usually come afterwards……..just know that they care.

Like I said, no one came to me when dad was dealing with Alzheimer’s……I like the fact that people at least ‘try’ when it comes to diabetes.  And the end of the day, it is always good to know SOMEone is thinking of us than to hear nothing……..well sometimes…..right?

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

 

 

 

Take 2: Be Aware that it MAY NOT Be Diabetes Related

Child acting differentWhen your child is diagnosed with diabetes, it seems as if the world becomes a bit unraveled.  There is certainly much that happens and can happen after diagnosis but it is important to remember that just because diabetes is in your life, it does not mean that life will leave you alone and diabetes will be the only thing you will have to deal with.

I share this with you because I remember the story of a mom I knew. Shortly after her child was diagnosed with diabetes; her child became very disruptive and argumentative which was hugely uncharacteristic for her life-loving five year-old. Tantrums, throwing things, and hitting all became the new rule of the day and for the longest time she kept telling herself it was because diabetes became the new normal.

It wasn’t until a friend said to her that her child was displaying many of the same symptoms that her child displayed was diagnosed with something that needed attention.

Now some things certainly will happen with the swings from low to high and back again; but be careful not to blame everything on diabetes.  We become keenly aware when our kids run high and/or low; but if anything else becomes apparent in their lives that was not there before, trust your instinct.

Remember also that there is a spectrum of mental health diseases that could become evident in your child’s life as they grow. I would ask ANYONE who has had experience, you would do a great service to others, if you could share what happened in your life.

I ask that, warning the reader, that not every lump is cancerous.  Meaning that just because you read it DOES NOT mean it will happen but if just one person says, “Wow, that sounds like my child, I should have it checked out”, we would have accomplished what we wanted today.

Now nothing here would be medical advice but if you could share what happened in your life, and what specialist you took your child, it could help someone else.  Be aware, sometimes we have to stop ourselves and “take 2”; step back, be objective and say—-something else could be going on here and act on it.  The worst thing, is denial.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

“Stupid is as Stupid Does” or the Family and Your Child’s Diabetes.

 

ForrestGump chocolatesWhen I say family, I mean relatives and friends that you encounter on some sort of frequency even if it is just 3 or 4 times a year.  Those people with whom you come in into contact that STILL-TO-THIS day do not “GET” this diabetes thing.  And if this has nothing to do with YOUR family, you can stop reading now and I could not be happier for you; but not everyone is so fortunate.  Many families deal with the absolute ridiculous statements and leaving you to figure out what to do about it.

You know the comments:
“Honey don’t eat that, you will end up like your cousin and get diabetes.”
“Honey you are not allowed to eat that……..are you?”
“Oh honey, do not do ‘THAT’ at the table, go into the bathroom and do it.”
“I did not want to give her what the other kids were eating because of her diabetes so here, I made her a plate of cardboard”(so it seems).
With your child sitting right next to you for this conversation; “Tsk, tsk, tsk; did you know honey that people die so much younger when they get diabetes?”

More than once I have reached for a 2×4 only to put it down because a parent in jail for murder would do my kids no good.  We have all been faced with absolute rage at some of the stupidest comments meant in the spirit of ‘well being’ or ‘I’m just say’n.’

And lest we forget the times when something is said and we immediately jump in; ‘Well in actuality, she can eat that and it is okay for Susie to eat hot dogs with the other kids.”  And it happens: that three-second period when it is as if your relative has become zonked with stupid-spray and their face screams how out of your mind you are for that comment; they snap out of it,  and they go on as of you said nothing at all.
Infuriating…….yes?

And there really is nothing you can do about it…………………………………….or is there?

It is important to realize that their world is not our world; and I am by no means giving them a ‘pass’ here but first realize that they do not have the need to know as much as we do.  There is no need.  It does not impact them as much as it does us, so why should they?

Second, every time you hear or observe something done or said of this stupid nature,  write it down as if you are collecting them for a future book.  I did this for the longest tome and you would be shocked how therapeutic it was; especially when I would go back every six months or so and read them……..the shear madness of some of the comments would only make me laugh.

My first step is to correct them immediately.  “No. That is not true, she can eat that and you can let her, she will know what to do.”  Look at them straight in the eyes and be very clear.  Anytime you are correcting someone about anything to do with your child’s diabetes, it is not a conversation.  It is a Stop-Grab Attention-Correct.

If you are not clear—-they will not understand.

If you child comes home from ‘Auntie Susie’s’ house and says she had to check her blood sugar in the bathroom, the next time you are together look at your sister (sister-in-law) and say, “For future reference, the bathroom is the absolute worse place for little Janie to check her blood sugar and it is a great teachable moment for everyone to see it and learn that she is not different from anyone else; you would be okay with that, right?”

See, here is the deal; you cannot do anything about what someone will say to you or your child regarding diabetes, but once it is out there it is yours to do with as you see fit.  Let it slide, say nothing; or correct immediately.  We always chose to correct it immediately.

Here is the most important thing for you to remember; from Forrest Gump, ‘Stupid is as Stupid does”—-if someone is going to say something incredibly stupid; all bets are off and you can say what you need to correct the situation.  Do it enough times and you feel empowered, and they will get it (eventually).  Say nothing and you will go home frustrated and angry.

I accept that others do not know about diabetes, why should they?  They have two choices: they can ask and I’ll explain or they can do WHAT THEY THINK IS RIGHT and when/if they miss they will be corrected with the phrase always ending in; “……..if ever you have a question, just ask and I will gladly work it out with you.”

They will catch on eventually; and you will continue in a world where life is like a box of chocolates……you take a bite and you never know what you’ll get.   “Oh wait…….your child can’t have chocolate, can she?”

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

An Incredible 8th Grader+Kerri Sparling+Sir Frederick Banting=WOW!

Banting artI Have always found that the most incredible things happen right in our own back yard.  The portrait above was made by 8th grader, Talia.  Diagnosed in 2009, Talia has always been grateful to Sir Frederick Banting for his discovery of insulin.

Her admiration of his work is why she drew the picture of him…..but the real art in this work is something that you have to look very closely to see.  This is not made up of lines or just at random——every inch of this drawing is made up of words.

Not just any words either.

There truly can be no mistake about it that Kerri Sparling is one of the most respected writers and lecturers in the diabetes community.  Her incredible attitude and drive to inform others makes her a powerhouse in this field.

The words used in this drawing are from Kerri’s initial blog ‘penned’ in 2005.  Talia was, and is, inspired by Kerri’s Six Until Me writings and she chose her because the inspiration of Kerri and Dr. Banting gave her the vision to create her drawing.

Now here is the interesting part of the story and why I chose to write about it.  In as much as I love the entire concept, the story takes a turn right about here.  This was an artwork made for school, and where most students created random people and partially added words, Talia took the time, and a lot of time, to create Kerri’s writing to make up the entire face.

But as fate would have it……..there was a strike at Talia’s school and the school year ended before she could even turn it in. So no one saw it.

That is unacceptable to me.

So if you find the drawing as incredibly interesting as most, kindly post here and congratulate Talia on this incredible master piece.  Where the school may have failed, I am sure the DOC can  make up the difference in letting Talia know what we think of her incredible work.  So reply today!!!

I forwarded this to Kerri who wrote back to me; This truly took my breath away, and this is the first time I’m seeing it.  I wish I had a print of this to hang at my house.  Seeing someone use my words to create their art is a collaboration I’m honored to be a part of.

Talia likes to go to summer camp, and loves to dance, swim, and read.  Her goal in life is to become a marine biologist, her mom, Terese tells me.  But on this day in early summer, to an entire diabetes community, to an entire world—-she is an incredible talent who has given something to this world to admire.  Let her know how you feel.

And I’ll take that any day.

I am a diabetes dad.

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