Puppets on TV’s Scorpion…..Diabetes……and a Program Perfectly Priced for All; Not to be Missed.

Puppet TobyLast night I’m watching one of ‘my shows’, Scorpion.   I’ve watched since the original episode and find the story lines fun. In a nutshell there is a genius-IQ leader with a pack of really smart people who all have very powerful abilities because of their extremely high intelligence.  It also includes a woman who keeps their feet planted on the ground and helps them interact with each other and the world around them.  They are Federal employees with ‘spy-like’ adventures, and they have a boss as well (he is really old according to the Scorpion Group, like 52).  🙂

Last night there was a really interesting segment that due to rising friction between two of the leads, they had to agree to attend therapy sessions to prevent other retributions from their boss; due to their poor attitudes toward each other.   In the scene, they were using puppets to relay their feelings.  Now puppets and therapy is not a new concept, but there is something VERY NEW in the diabetes world with puppets that I wanted to share with you because it’s as enlightening, as it is powerful, as it is entertaining.

Marina Tsaplina is not merely a gifted artist, she is a genius with her art form.   She has offered the opportunity to many professionals and families, both child and adult, the ability to work with her, expert professionals, and her array of puppets to handle a list of diabetes situations.  She has enlisted top professionals to help her formulate en experience that can only be described as exhilarating entertaining.

Marina’s passion dealing with her own diabetes is only surpassed by what she has created to help our diabetes community-at-large. I’m writing today because you do not have to take my word for it, you can see for yourself.  On Sunday March 20th, 2016, Marina is appearing in NYC in an unforgettable afternoon of sharing and showing.

Entitled: THE PATIENT VOICE, BRIDGING THE DIABETES GAP. ….and brilliantly she begins with a simple question; How do we solve the deepest problems in diabetes care?
It is a presentation of top professionals and a presentation showing first hand JUST HOW POWERFUL her puppetry is in solving difficult problems in today’s world.  The event takes place Sunday March 20th at the Colonial Dames of America in NYC at 417 East 61st Street at 1st Avenue from 1:30 pm-5:00 pm.

This could be done as a major fund-raiser and hundreds could be charged so for just $37.50; and be given a wine reception, the ‘puppet’ presentation, a panel discussion, even jazz music to round out the day is one incredible bargain for a Sunday afternoon.  You will also get to meet many powerhouses in the diabetes world; Dr. Barbara Anderson and Dr. Jason Baker who are both being honored; and panel experts like Manny Hernandez, Dr. Kenneth Gorfinkl, and more.  For $37.50………what a line-up for a fabulous afternoon, at a price ANYONE should be able to afford.

Every medical professional in our diabetes world needs to know that this program exists.  Please forward this to diabetes educators, endocrinologists, anyone who handles the psyche of diabetes, pediatric endocrinologists, registered dieticians, nurses,  school personnel, camp personnel, organizations that run conferences, foundations, ANYONE WHO INTERACTS with SOMEONE/ANYONE with diabetes should be part of this day……it truly is not to be missed.  Even parents should come see this as well so you can share what should be part of every outreach existing today.  Kindly send this to anyone you know in the tri-state NY Metropolitan area, NJ, Connecticut, Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn and of course New York City.  Marina and this marvelous event is this ONE DAY only.

Be part of the day, and click here for more details.
The betes …….or click the photo.  You can order tickets and see some pretty cool videos explaining what this is all about as well.  Please share this with families living in the area and any professionals you know as well who deal in the diabetes world.  The world needs to see what this young lady has produced to help anyone living with this disease.  Puppets utilized like you have never seen before in a diabetes world that needs outside-the-box-thinking; far beyond child’s play.

I am a DiabetesDad.

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


A Video That Will Stop You in Your Tracks

dinner  I am going to ask you to click the picture in a minute and watch this short video….but first answer this question……..who would you most like to have dinner with, living or dead—whoever you wanted, who would it be?

Click the picture and watch the short video—–your eyes are about to be opened widely…….think about it and what it means to you in your diabetes world when you are done.  Wow!!!

I am a DiabetesDad.

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


This is Not a Story of Hillary Clinton…Well, Maybe a Little….Not Really.

HillaryDid I get your attention?  Good.   When I was involved in government, I worked for the highest ranking official in my town.  It was years ago of course but I remember that during an election, folks involved in air-tome (radio and television) were required to give opposing candidates equal tome.  If a story was done on Candidate A for 2 minutes and 49 seconds, one would do the same for Candidate B.

It is, sort of, with that thought process in my head that I follow-up yesterday’s story bearing Mr. Trump’s image, with a story today regarding Hillary Clinton.  (My disclaimer) I’m by no means implying nor endorsing either one as the presidential candidate for/of their party.

A while ago Mrs. Clinton gave a speech and used a phrase that I think is also very applicable to our community.  It garnered many conversations.  One part of it stated, “…..it takes all of us.  Yes, it takes a village….”.  Many people commented on my article yesterday about how; we all need to be involved, or how hard it is to be involved, or how just living with diabetes is enough to maintain; and all would be correct.

But furthering Mrs. Clinton statement of THAT village, I ask if not that village; than who?  You see a village is made up of many facets and aspects.  For those in the village who cannot maintain it, for whatever reason,  it ‘s up to the rest of the village to carry what is needed to get the job done.  Whatever that entails.  Because if the village does not help itself…..one needs to ask, who will?

So I first need to say thank you to all those who do so much.  YOU are the ones making our village work.  There are super-powers out there who give and do all the time, but there are also those who hang an education poster, because THAT IS ALL THEY CAN DO…..and you know what, that’s fine.

But we must continually ask ourselves, “…what more can I do….to help our village….”.  Because if we stop asking, the chances are that no one else will care like we do.  This diabetes world is OUR VILLAGE……we can do all we can to educate, empower, and thrive to make it work……and if it’s within our strength to ‘not do nothing’, well we need to do just that………but the only one who can answer that question honestly……is each of us.  Because at the end of the day NO ONE will take care of our ‘own village’…..more than us.  Thoughts?

I am a DiabetesDad.

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



This is NOT a Story of Donald Trump….Well, Maybe a Little….Not Really.

Donald TrumpDid I get your attention?  Good. I do not want to get political here but to make a very interesting point……and to utilize that point in our diabetes community.  If you look around the media/public/online world as a whole, as a general rule, it’s safe to say that the majority of information and comments able to be read/seen/heard about Mr. Trump are not flattering—this statement is more of an observation than anything else.  If we agree to that point, we can continue.

Again, and bear with me, my comments today are not a reflection of Mr. Trump but rather to ask a question.  Let’s assume for this discussion, I’m just speaking of those reactions in his own political party: if it’s as I stated, why aren’t the election/polling numbers matching the number of adverse comments?  That’s not the questioned to be answered either.  Again, bear with me.  I’m NOT REALLY asking about Mr. Trump, but rather to make a point.

My point is, as my mother taught me, because something is important to you, does not stand to reason that it’s important to others.  Just as what people say and people are doing in Mr. Trump’s world do not match up as in Mr. Trump’s results (thus far), these thoughts make me ask; are the things we seek and believe we see as important in the diabetes community really NOT what everyone feels as important?  Are the feelings and/or actions, and/or lack of action taken, reflecting the feelings of the larger number of those interested in our situation?

As I watch elections and exit polls, and strategic polls, one after another, I keep asking myself; why do those numbers not match what we are seeing/reading/hearing about this man?  Is there a lesson for us as we all continue the efforts of education, inquiry, and even fund-raising in the diabetes community?

Here is a thought.  Let’s say that there are about 3 million people (JDRF’s number) people with T1D; and we say there are two parents who care about this child.  That means there are 9 million people out there who care greatly about what happens in the lives of these people, including themselves.  If you add just grandparents, that number swells to 21 million people.  Do you feel that there are 21 million people in this world pushing any/all agendas dealing with T1D?  The fund-raising, the education, the awareness……how many are ‘involved’?

THAT IS THE QUESTION I ask today.  My article is NOT ABOUT Donald Trump but rather, what we see in our everyday diabetes world may not be the consensus of how people really feel.  Maybe the majority of people who have T1D, or a loved one with T1D, just do not want to be involved but rather just live their lives as close to normal as possible.  And THAT NORMAL INCLUDES not being involved……….anywhere in diabetes’ causes, but just living.  Are they wrong to feel/act in such a way?

Are we a power of 21 million people……..or anywhere near that number?  Should we be?   What are your thoughts (just do not use this time for political comment—-that’s NOT the point)?

I am a DiabetesDad.

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

Save One Rose, Save One Life; We ALL CAN DO….For Those Who Cannot!!!!

Rose spare a roseA Rose is a Rose…….right?  Well not really.  Not when it can save a life.
Hard to believe it has been four years since this incredible program began but it is…..and it’s so simple….and YOU can do it.

Spare a Rose, Save a Child is an online effort that raises money and awareness for IDF’s (International Diabetes Federation) Life for a Child program, which provides life-saving diabetes supplies to children in developing countries.  There are plenty of ways to give here at home—-on this day—this is something that can help those who cannot.  (as little as $5.00 will help)

Initiated by a group of members from the Diabetes Online Community in 2013, the idea behind this effort is simple: people are encouraged take the typical “dozen roses,” so popular on Valentine’s Day, and donate the value of one rose to spare the life of a child.

Feel good about Valentines Day—-because you made a difference.  Really.

I am a DiabetesDad.

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

Your Child WILL GET SICK……It IS NOT Always Diabetes-Related!

sick-childI have written countless times on the missed diagnosis of T1D and will continue to do so.  I have warned that when someone is not used to diabetes, when it occurs, they may not know the signs including flu/virus-like symptoms.  But there is something very important that you, having a child with diabetes, should know as well.

In as much as diabetes plays such a role in your everyday life, know that the illness that your child may be feeling, may not be diabetes related at all.  Not everything is.  If your child is reaching adolescence know that their bodies will go through enormous changes.  The pains, the growing spurts, are all in the mix in this part of their lives.   If they have stomach pains, it very well may be the flu as well as keytones.

Until you could put a name or a label or most importantly; a diagnosis—-RULE NOTHING OUT.  Ear aches are not necessarily diabetes related nor is the tingling in their legs.  Headaches very well could be diabetes related as that blurry vision your child is complaining about.  It all may be temporary as well.

I don’t know how this happens but I can tell you from experience that Jill became an expert on knowing what was diabetes related and what was not.  She knew every breath that Kaitlyn took and also what Rob was going through when he was diagnosed as well.  She knew…..until she was wrong.

My point is that in my own biased manner, Jill was the best at knowing; more than anyone I have ever known.  But she was wrong at times also, so give yourself a break.  The self-blame game accomplishes nothing.  Be alert at all times and if you are fairly new in this diabetes world, trust me you will come to know quite a bit more than you do today.  Each time you will know more and more.

……….and at times you will be wrong as well…..and the sun will rise and set……onward.

I am a DiabetesDad.

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


I have a Diabetes Superbowl……..in Fact, I Have Many…..You?

SuperbowlThis weekend marks a ritual that is almost absurd in its definition of hype……the Superbowl……or since it is a trademarked name, should I say, ‘THE BIG GAME’.  Why on every commercial across this great land leading up to it, buying TVs, beer, chips, yada, yada, yada, you hear the announcer say…..”for the big game’ and not ‘for the Superbowl”.  Because in most cases, they are not allowed to use the phrase Superbowl, as it is owned by the NFL.  Today’s little tidbits with Tommy.

I love the Superbowl…..er…..the big game, I mean.  I love everything about it.  Huge sports fan.  Being a NY Jets fan, you get the wonderful opportunity to have just enough energy vested in the game to make it interesting but not enough to get your heart broken.  The price we pay because we have not been there since 1969.  Some have never been there.  So we get to enjoy the game on an entirely different level.  No matter the outcome, even if we have a favorite, just give us a GREAT game.

And of course…….the commercials.

The best part about Superbowl Sunday is the gathering of friends.  Having people over to enjoy the spectacle together.  People with the same interest.  Having a great time.  So much so that many municipalities across this country will see a drastic drop in water pressure come half time when the bathroom gets full use (go ahead, play with that one in your mind for a minute).

I, actually, also have my Superbowl in the diabetes world.  In actuality, I have many.  It is whenever I am among a group of people who are on the same page as me when it comes to diabetes.  That page, is trying to make a difference.  For the most part, don’t you just love being among people who have a common goal.  Maybe it’s a conference, a ride, a walk, a camp, an event, and even a black tie gala.  Diabetes Superbowl.  I get the same excitement.  Don’t you?

It does not have to be a big-ticket item….just being around a group of people who are trying to make a difference by gaining knowledge or supporting a cause regarding diabetes.  Excitement, fun, and a whole lot of great people in the same place at the same time.

Children with Diabetes Friends for Life in Orlando, each year, just thrills me to no end.  I have been volunteering with them for some time.  To see babies and all ages above, all in one place, to make their diabetes world better…..wow….even a Thursday Night Banquet each year as well.  The link above has been set up to take you directly to that page.  That’s just one of many Superbowls in my year.  Get there if you can.

Believe me. with two kids battling this disease…..I do not take lightly of what is being dealt with every day.  But I choose to find time to laugh,  I choose to find time to enjoy.  I choose to find the time to recharge and I choose to do it as often as I can because life is here on earth, but once,   I refuse to allow diabetes to rob us of anything I possibly can and surely diabetes tries very hard to ruin anything in our path….doesn’t it.  I will fight that as long as I have breath in me, and you should too.

This is an incredible weekend for me as I am on the west coast of Florida today with an incredible group trying to plan something fairly big for the Naples area for November, on to being a keynote speaker in Orlando tomorrow at the Florida Association of School Nurses, I shoot back to Miami Saturday night for the DRI’s Love and Hope Ball—all-in-all a Superbowl weekend of wonderful people in our diabetes world.

What is your diabetes Superbowl?  What do you LOVE to do?  Even if it is not about diabetes, what is your idea of a Superbowl……er….I mean…..The Big Game.

I am a DiabetesDad.

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


“Why Did YOU NOT Follow Instructions?!?!?” Sound Familiar?

Screaming womanFrom the onset, I want to let you know that I do not have any incredible answers for what I am about to write; but I am ‘putting it out there’ so others may comment on how they have handled this situation which I am hearing more and more.

Parents of the parents.  This includes both sides of the families and you can add aunts and uncles and anyone who should be in the mix as well.  “Why didn’t she do as I asked?”

The frustration is real.  You finally muster up the courage to go out and leave your child with your mom, dad, or whomever and upon your return; you find out that your directions were not adhered to and something was done against your instructions.
Number one.  Take a breath.  We, as parents, have all been there.  Sometimes it is a mistake and at other times it is someone ‘thinking’ they know best.  You are given a choice immediately; do you discuss it now or do you wait?  I know it is hard but remember this; how many mistakes did we make when our child was first diagnosed?  I made some doozies and there was no one there to correct it, we found out through many, many trials.  Remember that point.

When we took our child (and it became children when Rob was also diagnosed) home, we had our instructions from the Doctor.  We had the opportunity (for lack of a better phrase) of 24/7/365 correcting after time after time of ‘getting it’ wrong.  No one is there to tell us our mistakes, we have/had to learn them.

Dropping our child off, and no matter how many times we go over it, mistakes will be made.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to be involved with the CWD (Children with Diabetes) group for some time.  As biased as I am, I have found the grand parents track at their Friends for Life Conference in Florida each year to be incredibly useful, and one of the best that I have ever heard.  If you have the opportunity, get there; and bring a parent or two.  There are scholarships available as well; it is a week you, and your entire family, will never forget.  Game changing for sure.

I share that information because as I have been there over the years I have heard story upon story from grandparents.  Their roles in their grandchildren’s life are as different as snowflakes.  Some heart breaking in fact.

But there are two constants in EVERY single story I have heard.  One is fear. Two is they wanted to know more.  Not unlike us as parents, but we have no choice but to ‘be at it’ always until we get it correct.  Over twenty-one years out, I know I’m still ‘working out the kinks’.  How about you?

I am not saying that our parents should not work harder when they watch our kids.  I am not saying just forgive them when they ‘insist’ on doing things their way.  I am saying, that the more kids with diabetes are watched; cared for; tended to; the better the chance the caretaker will ‘get it right’.  Just as we did/do every day.

I am sure there are people who are involved in situations that are not ideal and the frustration level is very high.  It is my hope that a dialogue can be had with people who have been there and were able to adjust positive; and what those did who were just involved in a cause that was beyond fixing.

I am also a believer that somewhere out there, someone is going through or has gone through what seems like a completely unusual circumstance and can help by sharing.  Nothing is stringer than the voice of experience.

Please share your heartache and your success.  Through dialogue a map can be charted.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

Diabetes Jeopardy Answer #13 for D-Month. She said “Let’s Meet” in 1999 and Created the Largest Gathering of D-Families on Earth.

Laura Billetdeaux…and the answer is who is Laura Billetdeaux.

In 1999 Laura contacted people online to say that she and her family would be traveling to Florida and if they wanted to meet, they could discuss family dynamic dealing with diabetes.  Laura, who has a son with diabetes, thought that only good could come out of this gathering and sharing together.  She was correct.

She never thought that an incredible 500 people would show up and it would be the dawning of what has become the largest gathering of families with diabetes anywhere on earth.  The Children with Diabetes Friends for Life conference has well north of 3200 people each year where attendees are treated to a buffet of the top professionals in the diabetes world of empowering, managing, and researching for a cure of diabetes.

It has become a family affair with every person in Laura’s family playing a role. people from all across the globe come to the event each year and due to the ‘well-oiled’ organization and planned activity, it is a week they will never forget.

From the CWD website, a little insight about Laura and this amazing program:
A finicky connoisseur of hotel meeting space, cappuccino, and kid-friendly cheese and fruit platters, Laura Billetdeaux is CWD’s VP of Education and Programs. Since 2000, Laura has organized every single CWD conference, always keeping in mind the true purpose of CWD – education and support of families with type 1, and always keeping in mind why it all works – the efforts of so many dedicated individuals. Laura lives in Manchester, Michigan with husband Neal, who graciously and energetically assists with the conference teen programs. They are parents of Sam and Carolyn who both serve as youth faculty at CWD conferences as time allows.

There are scholarships available to those who need financial assistance; everyone should go to this conference, even just once…..your life will change forever.

For Diabetes Awareness Month:
This month, I will be highlighting someone in the diabetes community.  They may be people you know, or might not know, but they give of themselves to make this world, our world, with diabetes a special place.   I will not get to everyone this month, but it is my hope that perhaps you can be introduced to some of those you may not know.

I’m certainly not the definitive on who should be included….you are.  If you think I should include someone, shoot me an email at tkarlya@drif.org and I will do what I can to include that person as well.  Welcome to diabetes awareness month.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

Diabetes Jeopardy Answer #7 for D-Awareness Month: He Flipped a Switch and LITERALLY Changed the World.

Jeff and Brenda…….who is Jeff Hitchcock.

In all of my travels, and out all of the people I have met in my lifetime; in my mind one man stands alone and apart from all of the rest as having impacted the lives of families dealing with diabetes the most.

He is a writer, a lecturer, humanitarian, creator, and has connected more people through his efforts than anyone else on earth; not to mention how many families’ outlook toward diabetes he has changed when he flipped a switch in 1995 turning on the Children With Diabetes.  There is not a doubt in my mind, and I say this as a fact not for dramatic purposes, that my daughter and son are alive today (and I know I am not alone when I say this) because of the people I have met, and what they taught us, at CWD.  Period.

Here is a little more about him from his site.

Jeff Hitchcock
 is the creator, editor, webmaster and president of Children with Diabetes. After earning a degree in computational mathematics in 1981, Jeff worked in high-tech and traveled the world, meeting Brenda, who would become his wife, in Africa. He worked in defense related industries until 1995, when he started a small Internet company and launched Children with Diabetes. He subsequently worked at LEXIS-NEXIS and Pearson plc on Internet initiatives, and now works full-time bringing Children with Diabetes to you.

In all the pain, agony, frustration, joy, happiness, and everything else he has experienced in making CWD what it is; only one person has been there for ALL OF IT and that is Jeff’s lovely wife Brenda, who also should be mentioned here as well.

In all of his accomplishments, awards, and world travels he will tell you that above all; he is merely a dad to a child with diabetes.  A CWD dad.   Indeed.

For Diabetes Awareness Month:

This month, I will be highlighting someone in the diabetes community.  They may be people you know, or might not know, but they give of themselves to make this world, our world, with diabetes a special place.   I will not get to everyone this month, but it is my hope that perhaps you can be introduced to some of those you may not know.

I’m certainly not the definitive on who should be included….you are.  If you think I should include someone, shoot me an email at tkarlya@drif.org and I will do what I can to include that person as well.  Welcome to diabetes awareness month.

I am a diabetes dad.

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