IRMA: WHERE TO POINT PEOPLE IN NEED OF DIABETES SUPPLIES

Hurricane IrmaBelow is a message I just received from Carol Atkinson of Insulin for Life-USA.  Please share it with people you know in Florida and pay close attention to help happening for those in the Fort Meyers area this weekend.  So if you have supplies, hear of someone in need, and/or have few bucks to share, help IFL—-please read and share:

“This morning IFL USA received a call from a physician (general practice DO) in Ft. Myers.  He was taking his dog for a car ride to enjoy a little AC as he was out of power.  He heard an interview on the radio (Editor’s note: Which was our good friend Joe Balavage, a diabetes dad and founder of a FABULOUS organization: Help a Diabetic Child who was on the Trey Radel radio show).  He came home and called to inquire if we could help.  He is working with his church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1305 Broadway Ave, Ft. Meyers, FL, 33901) to host a help center this weekend for three days to assist in the community.  He will be there and will assist those with diabetes.  We are working to send him supplies.  Hopefully we can ship today with overnight delivery.

If you receive word from some in his area, please be sure to point them in his direction.
If you hear of other health care providers have them call us.
Have a great day.

 

Carol Atkinson
Director

(352) 327-8649″

If you cannot give supplies, feel free to give a donation to this incredible organization; during times like this—–their service is invaluable.
I am a DiabetesDad.
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Why Go It Alone……Ask!

Boat manIn addition to asking for help on social media when you come across a ‘hiccup’ in your diabetes journey, make sure you also ask for good and reputable websites to help you address a problem, or for that matter; any problem.

Little, if anything, has yet to be seen in this crazy world of diabetes and (no matter how small, or how large, you think your challenge is) chances are someone can say ‘been there, done that.”

Gaining an insight of personal experience is always a help, but also make sure you always ask if there is a website from a reputable source to help ‘walk you through’ any situation. Many, and I mean, MANY pages of useful information are within our social media highway and I have found that you can find pretty reliable information……..merely by searching.

Quite honestly, I lost count on how many times we went to the library the years following Kaitlyn’s diagnosis in 1992.  Countless days and hours spent looking up this or looking up that…….and now all of it is at our fingertips.  But always remember that because it’s easily accessible does not mean it’s necessarily, all, correct.  Check your facts and do not take someone’s opinion/experience as gospel.

Remember that this disease is as different from one day to the next as it is from one person to the next.  That said, the information is limitless to those who look for it.  So do not only speak to others on the various outreach; check what you hear.  But also know that information, moral support, and experience awaits you by only asking and verifying.

All of this can equal a more informative diabetes world for you, for your child.  Education is always the equalizer to this disease.  And it’s a disease that can be managed……and managed well…….look it up.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Where Did Everyone Go?

wide eyed animalI still have a hard time understanding where people go after being active in diabetes causes for so long….one day…….poof, done.
“I am tired.”
“I cannot ask my friends for money anymore.”
“My kids are older now, let younger people take over.”
“I got so tired from broken promises…..it is all just a waste of time.”

BULL DINKIE.

So many times we tout that our children MUST keep at it, be vigilant, keep going no matter what.  What if when they turned 23 and just said, ‘no more’.  ‘I’m done.’  They can’t because they will die if they do that and do not think that they have not felt the burden of ‘doing diabetes’ 24/7.

For whatever reason you stopped…..look in the mirror and realize that it was a bad decision. No one says you have to take on the world like you used to, but no one says you should wither away and go away and do absolutely nothing either.   There’s room between running the largest event in the state and doing nothing anymore.  If we do not do for ourselves, ask yourself, “who will?”

We do not accept excuses from our kids, and honestly, they should not have to accept excuses from us……ever.  Why is any excuse bigger than the welfare of our kids and those like them?  Doing nothing will get absolutely nothing done.  So ask yourself where you fall on the spectrum………and get up off your comfy chair and do something.

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

Not the Pain, but the Void………Left Behind.

blackToday, I saw the date in the lower corner of my computer.  August 22, 2017.  I started to reach for the phone because I knew, inherently, that the date was significant. I reacted because I had not yet called my dad to wish him a happy birthday.  “Oh, I gotta call……..”

But you see, I didn’t have to call, because dad is gone.  Dad passed away on March 16th 2009.  But at some point every August 22nd since, I have started to reach for a phone during the day.  The urge to react on what I must do, is just a tad faster than the realization of what is true and what is real.

It will,  undoubtedly, also happen during every baseball season as well because if it was one thing dad and I liked to discuss, it was baseball.  It is not a real ‘pick up the phone and start to dial’ and realize, “oh, he is no longer here”.  It’s just that quick second and the beginning of that motion and that thought.  The aftermath is that you start to realize, “wow, was I really going to call dad?”

It’s a time to reflect on who we miss.  Their smile.  What they may have said that made us laugh; made us cry. made us angry, made you inquire as to what they meant, and made us think.  And truly make us miss them beyond comprehension.   So many people come and go in our lives and they are taken in an instant, or are sick, or are here one minute and gone the next but at sometime or another the void they leave behind is both realized and immeasurable.

We do not really ever accept it, do we?  I was taught once……we learn to cope.

That void can be a reminder but more than anything else…….it’s just that……..a void.  We can try to fill it or push it away but at some point the void reminds us that one who filled it, is no longer here to do so.  Makes you want to hug someone today, doesn’t it?
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Someone Dies……..it’s None of Our Business……..None. Period.

SunriseI find it absolutely astounding that when someone with T1D passes away…..from diabetes or something else, the questions begin about the cause as if someone has the right to know.  Here is the hard truth…..you don’t.  For whatever reason you think it is okay to soften;  the ask, the question, or the statement…..it’s not, it’s wrong.

Because when someone loses anyone in their family for whatever the reason, it’s their situation to deal with and theirs alone.  NOW HEAR ME PLEASE: If you think for one split second that you might learn anything by knowing the reason of another’s death then it is my strong suggestion that you educate yourself more for whatever the reason is that you think knowing about someone else’s death will help you.

There is just no soft way to present this but being straightforward honest about it.  It was wrong years ago, it’s wrong now, and it will stay wrong tomorrow.  Imagine dealing with something along these lines in your own home (God forbid) and someone asks, “I’m so sorry for your loss but is it okay to ask how they died, we are all so sorry.”  The answer comes across, “Well actually they committed suicide.”   Got your answer?  How proud of yourself are you right now?

Get it?

Anyone certainly has the means in today’s social-media world to relay to anyone, and for that matter, everyone; if they so choose.  But it’s their choice and we have no right to
ask.  Be there, offer a shoulder, a meal, offer to help in any way but when it comes to the specifics surrounding the death of anyone….online is the last place anyone should be asking anything about specifics.  Period.

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

What Do You Say to a Newly Diagnosed Family?

Two male hands; one reaching down to assist another hand reaching up with sunburst in the background

To this day it still happens.  The phone rings and we’re informed by a friend/neighbor/colleague/friend-of-a-friend that someone new is diagnosed with T1D and can we find the time to speak to them and/or their family?

Well the answer is…………………..always.

But it’s a fine balance to let them know that they are not about to lay in a bed roses and at the same time share that they should be limited by nothing.
Not everyone stays up all night, but people do.
Not everyone cries every day, but people do.
Not everyone feels as if the wind is sucked out of them forever, but people do.
Not everyone dies from T1D, but people do.

Where is that balance?

I always try to answer the questions they have directly and honestly.  I try to show them, by examples we have experienced or people we know, that they are able to grasp the seriousness of this disease, and also the limitless possibilities that are before them.

I try to educate them about social media and help them realize that everyone handles this disease differently, and that their medical professional is their number one partner with this disease, and that education is always the equalizer.

I try to keep it simple in our first phone call.  Upon diagnosis, as we all know, they’re not hit by a ripple, they’re hit with a tidal wave and it takes time.  They do not need to be fully educated about everything on our first call.  I try to explain that what they need to focus on is their child.  To stay in tune with their medical professional and although their inclination is to run to the computer, they should do so carefully.

This disease has as many similarities as differences from one family to the next.  There is no one solution for everything.  I explain this as best I can.  But I think the biggest help we can ever be is to just let them know that they are not alone.  That they can reach out any time.  That we have been where they now stand and we have made it through. I think THAT is the biggest help we can ever provide.

Being newly diagnosed…….well……it sucks.  But it’s nice to know that reinventing the wheel is not needed and that a friend is always near by.  We didn’t have that in the very beginning and once we had it, those people became some of the closest people to us, and 25 years out; some of those people are now my closest friends.

Those who know need no explanation, those who don’t would never understand.  I’m thankful for the peeps who mean so much to us and have been there, for all these years.

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

Why Live Life in Fear When You Can Live it to the Fullest

CWD Smile Face quitters winnersI heard this statement from a person at the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference in Orlando Florida this week.
“I refuse to let diabetes dictate what I do”.
I like that saying and I like it a lot.  It sort of summed up what thousands of people heard this week at this, the 18th Friends for Life Conference, sponsored by the Children with Diabetes.

When we first became active in diabetes causes after Kaitlyn’s diagnosis, I became the Executive Director of the JDF (now JDRF) Long Island Chapter.  At that time we were one of the handful of chapters chosen nationally to serve as an experiment for a new idea called a walkathon (that for years, was really only run by the March of Dimes) to help increase visibility AND revenue.  The JDF was doing walks before, but they were about to catapult to a whole new level of success.

When I became the Executive Director, the chapter was reeling from the death of a young man named Angelo Centano.   Apparently Angelo had many complications but he also had this incredible spirit, an incredible sense of humor, an incredible disposition, and an uncanny way to get things done despite his many physical limitations.  One day I found a note in my desk and it had a quote on it from Angelo.  It was a simple note, but a powerful note nonetheless:
Quitters Never Win, Winners Never Quit.

I’ll never forgot it.

There are many people who lost their battle against diabetes, many.   You have read about them and so have I, knew quite a few also.  Every single person, no matter their age, that I know who we lost to diabetes was ALSO living life to their fullest when they were taken.  They were not comfortable to just live life in a bubble or on eggshells, THEY LIVED!   I have also felt that the people who choose to believe that they can do ANYTHING with this disease do so and pay homage at the same time, in a way, to those who are no longer with us.

No matter what life throws at us (and make no mistake, we all have something), we cannot avoid how it hits us but WE CERTAINLY can get out there and make sure that we are not stopped…..and we shouldn’t be stopped, ever.  The only thing surpassing all of the incredible knowledge given this week at CWD, all of the wonderfully talented people who did the teaching this week, and all of the great times; is THAT sense of empowerment that even with this disease…….limitation is truly ONLY limited by your imagination.  It’s given to everyone…………………….by everyone.

Today many people said goodbye when they left Coronado Springs to the many, many new friends they all met, and the old friends they have known at this most incredible conference.  They inspire each other to do better.  The push each other to the limit to succeed.  They have instilled in each other the absolute belief that quitters never win and winners never quit………what are you doing to get back in the game?
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

 

More Than Standing on Two Legs……….These Marvels DO It on Wheels……..Be Inspired.

BT1 RidersTo do the impossible.  To march into hell for a heavenly cause.  To do what others could only imagine.  To go beyond the limits.  To go beyond type one.

Twenty riders leaving New York and riding…….riding…..riding……4296 miles to San Francisco.  Some are fairly new at riding and yet, some, are not new to being adventurous at all.  One swam around the island of Manhattan, one rode a long distance in Europe, one even is on the third trip across America.  One is an Engineer. One is a former beauty pageant contestant.  One just wants to bring awareness to mental health and diabetes.  All types; these 20 riders.

They all…………………………are heroes.
For whatever the reason they chose to ride, they all have a purpose in common and that is to break down the stereotypes of having T1D and to reach for a goal that some only talk about……they do more than act……..they ride…….ride across America.

They are stopping in cities all across their 10 week trek from East to West Coast crossing 15 different states meeting and encouraging others who have T1D, meeting with media telling their stories and through it all……….pushing their bodies beyond incredible endurance.

Why?
Because they all believe in living life to the fullest beyond their type one diabetes, and they do not want to just talk about it…..they’re doing it!  Showing the world that they too should and could live beyond their own imagination, beyond restrictions, beyond limits.

The link to their site is below.  Spend some time on it and feel their energy and their magic.  Do something to help them and it does not have to be by a donation, but you can always do that too.  Check out their site.

An amazing group, these twenty riders who choose to show the world that the best way to live with your diabetes, is to just…….live……..beyond.  Spend some time on their site and click here.
I am a DiabetesDad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Should it Really Be Called………an Artificial Pancreas?

Artifical RealLet’s be one million percent clear from the onset: I, like the rest of the diabetes world, would love nothing better but to see a CGM communicate with an insulin pump for better control and to alarm the world when things derail.  It would, and will, revolutionize the management of type 1 diabetes.  But the more I speak to people newly into this diabetes world of ours, there is an inherent problem I’m finding with what is commonly being called an artificial or bionic pancreas.  In speaking to people at the ADA conference this week my feelings were not completely unique.  Inasmuch as many believe that a good deal of people completely ‘get it’, many also think that others might think this device will be almost like placing diabetes in automatic……and it is this thought of which I caution.

I, personally, hate the name artificial pancreas.  It isn’t.  Now it may be we get to the point of a rose is a rose by any other name but the device, as great as it will be, does not do things that a pancreas does…dispense glucagon being just one (although the plan is that the ‘bionic’ pancreas will some day).  And in looking at ways the word ‘artificial’ is used, even when looking at an artificial heart, does it really fit, as is present, in our diabetes world?

When people think of something artificial, they think of it being as close a substitute to the real thing as possible.  When these devices are hitting the market and ready to go in everyday use they will be fabulous. To me….TO ME (just me, my opinion), I think there is a better name for two electronic devices speaking to each other to monitor and dispense fluid than calling it something that it’s not; as darn good as it may become some day.  Perhaps, Integrated Insulin Delivery And Monitoring System–The IIDAMS (hmmmmmmm marketing gurus just might have a field day with THAT name;  ‘IIDAMS diabetes forever’ catch phrase….hmmmmmmm).

This is just me and I have never stated I knew any answers.  What do you think?  Do you think the name ‘Artificial, Bionic, AP, Electronic, Pancreas’, suits it?   What would you name these devices about to hit the market?
Just a thought I had…..chime in.
I am a DiabetesDad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Second Child Diagnosed Lottery……..Not the Win Anyone Wanted!

Ping pong ballaDad, I’m peeing a lot.
Thus started a series of events that would end up with my youngest of three becoming our second child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D).  You can find many statistics about having two kids with T1D and if you get more than 3 sources that agree on a particular stat, and tell you the same thing, kindly let me know.

Chances are slim……….the lottery no one wants to win.  But we surely did.  That was in 2009……and I remember like it was yesterday.   Seems to be happening more if you ask me……..but I have no science to back that, it may just be social media and we hear more about it today than we did years ago.

What I do know, is that it’s not a common occurrence, but it does happen.  The most I have ever heard is a women who claimed she had six kids with T1D……..jeez louise…..a saint I’m sure.

Here are a few things to remember about those of us who ‘won the lottery’ of having more than 1 child with this disease.  Yes, we know the drill but please do not say to us; “At least you know what to do.”
We know this point and it is of little comfort to be reminded about this fact as if that is all we have to be grateful for; the fact we already know about it.

What we are thinking:
“Really?”
“Why would another childhood be taken?”
“Why would life/God/nature/fate (however you believe) be so cruel?”
“Where did ‘fair’ go?”
“I cannot do this.”
“I cannot go through with this…..again!”
“What is my first step?”

What we want to do:
Get life back to as normal as can be as we continue to try to get life back to normal as can be from the first child diagnosed…….did you get that?
DO something with this INCREDIBLE amount of anger overcoming us that we would have to deal with this (place any expletive) all over again.
Balance this balance from the balance of trying to balance the family balance from the first time our lives were thrown off balance…….did you get this?
Find a breathe.

Yes, those of us who have been down this roadway will survive…..because that is what we do.  Want to help, send a basket full of supplies…even if it is juice boxes and the necessary foods to treat a low and where you do not need a prescription.  Send a bottle of wine to a couple with a note—-“Don’t know what you’re going through but find a corner to share this together.”  Do something to comfort because words…..honestly….only help a little…..go an extra step.

There is just so much that overwhelms a parent when a second child is diagnosed…..it is not as simple as a first child and now it is ‘just’ a second child…….unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.  It’s an incredible amount of pain as you realize what you know has just impacted another child.  The first time, we ‘just got through it’ and had to learn so much.  We had THAT distraction. The second time, every single thing we did, we now knew what it meant.  And it hurts.

This disease sucks for all who have it and all who are parents and must watch…..and to some, watch all over again;  and even some, watch more than that.  None of us ever wants pity, we know what we must do…..and we’ll do it…….because whether it’s one, two, three, or even six kids diagnosed with diabetes…….that is what we do.  Because there is no room for diabetes in anyone’s life and we will make dang sure that the disease fights for anything and everything it thinks it can take.
I am a DiabetesDad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.