Why is November 14th Such……or Some Things You Might Not Know About Sir Frederick.

Happy Birthday Fred.  Yes it is November 14th, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, one of the major forces in the discovery of insulin.

Thank you Fred for saving our children’s lives.  Were it not for you, we would REALLY have a problem. 
Here are some items you may not know about Sir Frederick Banting that you may find interesting. 

He received the Nobel Prize in 1923 and was the youngest to ever receive the award in physiology/medicine.

He received the award in his 33rd year of life where he dedicated his life’s work to perfecting insulin to be distributed to the masses.  (Thank you for that too Fred!)

He was married twice and had one child.

He loved to paint.

He was knighted in 1934.

He died in his 50th year on February 21, 1941, as a result of injuries received in a plane crash while in route to test aviation equipment.  He worked with the Royal Canadian Air Force in testing equipment that would help pilots at high altitudes.

He was nominated as one of the top 10 Canadians who ever lived by a poll run by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation.

So I thought on this day, Diabetes Awareness Day that I would give you a little inside information on the man who saved the lives of our kids and all those who have diabetes. Thank you very much Dr. Banting for all you have done.  You have saved millions of lives…….including my two children.

The picture above is well-known to Canadians and sits in Sir Frederick Banting Square in Ontario, Canada.  It is the Flame of Hope, which was lit as a tribute to not only Frederick Banting but to all those who lost their lives to diabetes.    It would seem that those who worked to preserve his name also knew that in as much as insulin is probably one of the greatest life saving medical advances ever discovered, it is still not a cure. 

The wording on the plaque includes these words: “…..This flame will burn continuously and only be extinguished when it can be declared that a cure for diabetes has been found…..”

Amen!   Thanks Dr. Banting.

I am a diabetesdad. 

P.S.  Hear a message from Dr. Camillo Ricordi of the DRI for this special day.  Click here.


Information from Flame of Hope Committee, Wikipedia, Nobel Prize Foundation, Biography.com


THE Most Forgotten Group in the Family….When it Comes to Diabetes

In my extensive travel, lecturing and speaking with families I have found that the most forgotten group after diagnosis are the grandparents.

Many grandparents share that their heart is often broken and they have to walk a fine line of learning about diabetes enough to care; but not enough to meddle in the middle of how their families deal with this ‘new normal’, and that is not an easy pathway.

Without diabetes many will kid around and say that they have all the fun with grandchildren…….and then they go home.  The love of grandparents can be so unique and so full, they want to help but many times they do not know how.

First there is the dynamic that was long introduced as a parent and also as an in-law.  For years the boundaries were set and respected (or dealt with, depending on how you look at it) so everyone pretty much knew where they stood.  You add kids, the dynamic changes, you add diabetes and is all new ground for everyone.

I have been told everything from how great grandparents are to how little they offer to help.  I know; it is a hard dynamic.  I have often thought if my blogs can do anything, it is, perhaps, that a dialogue can begin. 

SO take a copy of this blog and give it to your mom, dad, mother/father-in-law, or step parent and just ask them, “Where do you want to fit in?”  Start to discuss this point as in many cases we just assume that parents are dealing with what OUR kids are going through.  We may think we have it and don’t need them involved, we may THINK they do not want to be involved…..I say, ask and find out.

I have seen grandparents play an incredible role in the world of diabetes and they will all tell you one thing, it was discussed and a course of action to include them was put in place.  Don’t assume they do or don’t want to be involved………..ask.  You might be pleasantly surprised.  Grandparents love ’em……you might too.

 I am a diabetes dad.

Is this YOUR Prayer too? Hey God, it’s me again……


Hey God, it’s me again.

I know we haven’t talked too much lately.  I’m still a tad angry.  The first child diagnosed with diabetes was heartbreaking, the second was just shattering.

I’m also unsure how many of my friends who lost a child  due to diabetes can even function.  I’m told you have a plan for all of this.  People, those with more faith than me, tell me there is a reason for everything.  You are divine. You have a plan.

When my second child was diagnosed and some told me how lucky I was because “God trusted me with a second child with diabetes”…..well it didn’t help.  It made me angrier at you, but you know that don’t you?

But I am not here today to gripe or complain.  I’m sure we will get on track again.  I do live by; “There by the grace of God go I”; and even the best of friends can get angry at each other from time to time……no?  But I have a question for you and if you could find a way to answer, I would appreciate it.

You see I am leaving for the UK next week and I hope to meet many new friends as I speak to parents at the Children with Diabetes FFL UK.  But it got me to thinking.  This diabetes ‘thing’, well it’s worldwide isn’t it?  I mean parents in the UK, and in China, and  across the globe–well if we parents are all praying and hoping for a cure…….and we are all around the world……….well you are hearing us……………right?

Thanks God, amen.

I’m a diabetes dad



I have a good friend of mine.  Let’s call her Marie.  Actually that’s her name.

Marie had this idea for an event to do in her home town in Connecticut.   There is this incredible candy store in Ridgefield called Deborah Ann’s Chocolates.  Many would call it a landmark in the community.  The candy there is some of the finest and best tasting you will ever have in your life.

Marie’s idea was to run a fund-raiser for the Diabetes Research Institute out of the candy store, but more than that, it was an opportunity to teach.  A sweepstakes with the grand prize being an incredible basket of candy……really?  Candy….diabetes?  How in heaven’s name could such an idea ever be possible?

Years ago I was in an office and there was candy in a dish on the receptionist’s desk.  Someone came in from a neighboring office and noticed the candy.  She came into my office and stated she was horrified that we would have candy in a dish.  “How could we?”
I smiled at her and responded, “You do not have anyone in your family with diabetes, do you?”  When she answered that she didn’t, I explained to her just how much candy is needed for hypoglycemic reactions and also that, quite honestly, cardboard just doesn’t taste so good after a while.

Marie’s idea was to utilize the candy store as a teachable moment.  She had flyers by the register explaining exactly what the event was all about and why a person with diabetes eating candy is really not the same as a person with lung cancer smoking a cigarette.  It was a fabulous idea but coming from Marie, these type ideas are not uncommon.  A mom who truly gets it.

So with Halloween just a week away, be ready for the questions about candy.  Be ready to say thank you to the neighbors who will tell you, “I have fun stickers for Kaitlyn, because I did not want to give her candy.”  Bless their hearts for caring so much.

There will be a time to teach others about what candy means to those with diabetes…….and that lesson when done correctly will always be sweet. 

I am a diabetesdad.


CGMs…a Few Points….Parents: We have NO Clue what Our Kids Feel About Nightime Lows!


CGMs.  Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) are fabulous devices.  They not only remotely give you an idea on your blood glucose number they also indicate where one is trending (blood sugar rising and/or dropping).

The new Dexcom G4 Platinum looks to be a modern, thinner, easier to read, and more accurate CGM.  The Dexcom website states it is the lightest one out there at 2.4 ounces and also the signal can go three times further.

Kaitlyn had not heard that it was approved and from what I am looking at, it sure could be another great asset in Rob and Kaitlyn’s diabetes toolbox. 

I do believe that all CGMs should also have what Medtronic has created in their mySentry device.  This device can sit on your bed stand and alert you should your child’s blood glucose runs low.  It comes with bells and whistles to alert you in the middle of the night.  This device is an incredible asset and not just for the parents.  When Medtronic flew a bunch of us out to their HQ to see this device, it was a highlight for me to witness.  We were informed that people living with T1 as adults could plop this puppy right on their night stand to warn them as well.  What a godsend this device is to everyone.  I felt very naive when I learned from Kaitlyn just how much a low blood sugar during sleep plays on the minds of those with diabetes.  I asked  a million questions…..PARENTS: WE HAVE NO CLUE.  What we feel is NOTHING compared to what people with diabetes feel.  What a lesson she gave me–our fears pale in comparison to their fears. We just have no clue. 

All CGM companies need this type of device……get to work folks.  🙂

When dealing with CGMs–I still believe the best-selling point to our kids is that even though one should not dispense insulin based on the CGM readings (it is a technicality that is required for all companies to say as their accuracy is not as exact as the blood glucose meters that are not as exact as perfect as they should be if accuracy is to be exact….did you get all that?–in other words it is a disclaimer—Based on a comment from Tia–you can read her comment below–I need to add the following:  It is not ‘merely’ a disclaimer–it is a disclaimer for an absolute reason.  One should not dispense insulin based upon a CGM reading and I am not inferring anyone should…ever; until such time that they are as accurate as they need to be to dispense insulin–thank you Tia)–they will feel better in their day-to-day dealings. Mainly because of the incredible trending mechanism in CGMs that allow the individual to actually know they are running low or high BEFORE they actually feel it.

So when speaking to your kids—-let them know the CGM is an asset to make them feel better without the wide swings, THAT is the point to make.  Of course there are always exceptions to the rule.

CGMs are now a ‘must carry’ item for insurance coverage in NY State (thank you NY State Assmblyman Bob Sweeney—a POWERHOUSE in diabetes legislation) and check what this means in every state because there are restrictions how insurance coverage works for this device.

When Kaitlyn was diagnosed in 1992, these items were a pipe-dream.  Use them…..a dream becoming a reality is a good thing…..until we find that cure.

I’m a diabetesdad






Do You Know Mickey Mouse has a Friend with T1 Diabetes?

Upon diagnosis, kids feel all alone.  Now that they have diabetes, and if no one else in the family has it, it becomes a stark reality that they will go it all alone….right? 

Eli Lilly as partnered with Disney to create Coco.  Coco is  a monkey character and she has T1 Diabetes and she is a very good friend of Mickey Mouse and Pluto and the family at Disney. 

Think about that for a second.

Probably the most recognized cartoon character in the universe and he has a friend with diabetes and Mickey wants to help.  You child will not have to ‘go it’ alone.  This book has been out there for a while and there is also a follow-up book with Coco.  It isn’t exactly new–but it may be new to you, and that is important.

Why would Disney do this?  Clearly the amount of money they will make will be minimum at best because of the select niche market.  Not exactly sure of the why but much kudos is due Eli Lilly and Disney for bringing to life a character in one of the best-loved families in the world……Disney.  Eli Lilly did not just do a good job with this—-they knocked it out of the park.  Coco books….a must read for any child with T1 diabetes. Kids will not necessarily have to feel all alone when they see that even the friend of the world’s most famous mouse is just like them.  And that ain’t too shabby. 

 Nice job all.

Your diabetes educator or Doctor should be able to get you a free copy.

I’m a diabetesdad.


They are doing it for your kids, for mine, for theirs.  They are doing it for a cure; they are doing it in memory.  They are doing it with incredible fortitude.  They are doing it with painful memories.  They are doing it with incredible hope.  They are pushing their bodies to the absolute physical limit.

 But they are doing it.

 While we are all home in the comforts of our lives today, a large group of people are in Death Valley riding.  Riding and raising money for the JDRF.  Riding and raising money for all of us.

Through pain and anguish they will ride the 105 miles at 282 feet below sea level, the lowest point in the western hemisphere.  They have designated miles like the now famous Mile 23; for Jesse.  They ride around 300 strong to test the heat, the sun, the wind.  They challenge themselves. They challenge the elements.

But they challenge much more. 

They challenge that the funds they raise will indeed be put to good use.  They challenge fate that although they may have lost a child to this battle they will do all they can not to let it happen again.  They challenge the scientific world to see that they will inflict all sorts of personal pain so that money may move us one more pedal closer to a cure.  They challenge us all to pause today and realize that a group of people out there are attempting something we are not and may never do.  All for but one reason; diabetes is just unacceptable. 

Godspeed my fellow colleagues in this fight against diabetes,  We will think of you today.  We are thinking of you NOW.  Be safe, be well.

That finish line is so much more than the end of a bike ride; for that we thank you. 


I am a diabetesdad 


T.G.I.F. (Thanking Great Individuals Forever)—-A Celebrity Chef.

He is a chef, author, and television personality. He is currently a host of AOL’s GMC “Trade Secrets” online show. 

He was diagnosed with diabetes at age 12.  Where there are celebs with diabetes that do little or ‘the bare minimum’ he is a 180 degree opposite helping diabetes causes and speaking about his diabetes at every possible opportunity.

He is the former founding Executive Chef of the Surf Lodge in Montauk, NY and Imperial No. Nine a sustainable seafood restaurant located in the Mondrian Soho Hotel in New York City. During his tenure, Imperial No. Nine received two stars from New York Magazine, a 25 rating in Zagat and was a Michelin Guide-recommended destination. He is also the author of “The Sweet Life: Diabetes without Boundaries,” which was published last fall by Rodale Books.

He is at the forefront of the ‘integrative kitchen’ movement, which seeks to break down the walls between the way we eat and the way we live.

He is Sam Talbot and he is Diabetesdad’s T.G.I.F.  Take a bow Sam and thanks for everything.

Siblings—DO they Really Understand? A Story that Changed My Life.


 No matter how hard the attempt, diabetes has always prevented us from giving the full amount of time needed to those who are the brother and sister of someone with diabetes.  Whatever the event, attention is drawn away.  And we tried pretty hard to find a balance.  But it seemed falling short indeed did happen.  One story in particular breaks my heart to this day.

When Kaitlyn was very young, I told my wife that when Kaitlyn would be around T.J. (her brother) that we should correct her in some sort of manner.  The goal was so T.J. would see that Kaitlyn was by no means perfect and in some case needing of discipline.

Shortly thereafter the opportunity presented itself (or so I thought). 

Jill was not around and I was watching T.J. and Kaitlyn (Rob was not even born yet but the memory is burned in my heart to this day).  I do not even remember what the incident was and it doesn’t matter.  I seized the opportunity where T.J. and Kaitlyn were together and I raised my voice and said, “Kaitlyn, stop.  Kaitlyn that is wrong and don’t do that again!” 

(To this day I still tear up remembering this story.) 

Kaitlyn looked up at me with those big round eyes, and her lip started to shake.  Tears rolled down her cheeks and she pee’d on herself and all over the floor.  No sooner than that happened that T.J., at probably only 7 years of age, ran into the kitchen and retrieved paper towels and tissues and started cleaning Kaitlyn and the floor. 

“Don’t worry about this Kaitlyn, I will clean it up.  It will be okay.” 

I stood there with my mouth hanging open as T.J. cleaned every inch of his sister and wiped the floor around her once I took her in and changed her. 

Jill will tell you that I was inconsolable for weeks after.  What had I done?   What I did not factor in was that at the time I did this, Kaitlyn was over 350…..an ‘accident’, with little help, was inevitable with the right final push which came from me, diabetesdad,.  No one has made more mistakes at this than me. 


There are a few points here and the most important point is that the brothers and sisters of those with diabetes ‘get it’ more than we know.  But we should always keep looking to encourage them, spend time with them, and let them KNOW ALSO just how important they are in our lives and do it more than we think we do. 

Those who read my Facebook pages know how different our 3 kids are and just what is so special about each.  T.J., now 25, is a vital part of our community working at Long Island’s largest hospital and also volunteering in our local fire department.  He is awaiting the call from the NYPD that he has been accepted into their academy.  He is a dedicated boyfriend to Joelle, and has always been ‘the watcher’ over his younger sister and brother.  I have seen T.J. cry 5 times in my life.  He is a very strong man in many ways. 

Sometimes the siblings of the one with diabetes……become another child with diabetes as well.  T.J. cried in my arms when his little brother was diagnosed also with diabetes at age thirteen in 2009.  “He cannot have to live with this forever, he just can’t.” 

We pray for all of T.J.’s dreams to come true.

We are so very proud of all of our kids.  I have stated a thousand times how kids with diabetes do everything…….and because of their diabetes, they do it with an asterisk.  I even wrote about it once.

But siblings……they do everything with an asterisk too, never forget that point.  Feel free to share just how special the siblings in your house are to you.

I’m a diabetesdad.

Newly DX–Large Keytones–Vomiting–Over 420–What do I do?


I saw this post recently.

I was astounded reading through the many responses of the people who were trying to help this poor mother.

I get it.  We want to help.

But the only acceptable answer is to get in touch with your medical team ASAP and you need to do it now.   Answers as in: This happened to my child and I…….; What you need to do is give your child……; Get used to this, here is what you need to do….; are just completely unacceptable.

If we are all in agreement that diabetes can be followed minute by minute from one day to the next with completely different results with our own lives; what makes anyone at all sure that the way diabetes impacts your child is the same way diabetes will impact another?

There is no thin line to be walked here.  When it comes to medical advice about how diabetes plays a role in anyone’s life—-it is never a substitute for the only correct answer: Contact your doctor NOW.

It happened again when another parent thought their child without diabetes ‘tested high’.  One person actually wrote that they wouldn’t worry about it as even people without diabetes will spike.  Really?  I’m glad we didn’t listen to that advice or my second child diagnosed may not have been around to tell the story.  In as much as that may be true in MANY cases it is not an absolute.  If someone is concerned about anything regarding their child the only acceptable advice is, “make an appointment and find out.”

Even if it is ‘inconclusive results’, it is still better than someone else’s ‘guess’ from miles away with an online post, don’t you agree?  What if that parent said; “Oh good, I can relax”, and they do not make an appointment and within 24 hours they are in ketoacidosis at a hospital…….do you REALLY want that on your conscience?

I am not talking about good sound advice from experience such as which pump you like and why; or what to do at a party so your child feels included; or any other of the millions of questions we all have pertaining to diabetes;  the experience of others is invaluable.

But anytime there is a medical question we all need to get in the habit of saying/answering online, “…….here is my experience with this and it may differ greatly from yours (state what you know); get your medical professional involved now to be sure because I’m not a Doctor and your child needs a medical opinion with this situation ASAP.”

The best advice is getting people to those who can render a professional opinion…..anything else is Russian Roulette. In most cases, maybe even 99%, given advice may be correct.  If you would not take a 1% chance with your child….do not take the chance with someone else.  Medical professionals should be the only ones giving medical advice.  Period.

I’m a Diabetesdad