Remember there is a “Best” in Banting and Best

November 14th, is World Diabetes Day.  This date was chosen because it’s the birthday of Frederick Banting.  Who chose this?

I’m a huge fan of Hamilton, the Broadway Musical.  In as great as the show is, I always found it interesting that Alexander Hamilton, a man who was not even president, became as popular as he did, and stayed.  Was the biggest claim to fame the fact that he was shot, and died, in a duel?   In the show, the opening number in fact, Aaron Burr announces,…..and me? I’m the damn fool who shot him.  We are lead to believe in the musical that Aaron Burr was much more popular than Hamilton and his life’s love declares that she would spend the rest of her life making sure history remembered Alexander Hamilton.

I guess it worked.  I mean I do not see Aaron Burr’s portrait on any currency.

Which brings me back to my opening sentence.  Who decided that Frederick Banting gains all the attention when poor Charles Best, lacking the PR machine that Alexander Hamilton had, becomes not much more than a foot note in this historic discovery.

Now I’m very aware that it was Banting who spearheaded this endeavor but it just seems to me that there was much work that went into the discovery of insulin.  I mean both of their names are on the patent (there is a third name as well—a different story for another time).  Banting even shared half of his money from winning the Nobel Prize.  Good. But not good enough.

The world will never fully understand the work of Charles Best in the discovery of something that literally has saved the lives of millions of people.

Insulin.

So this February 27th, the birth date of Charles Best, I say we do something in honor of the man most forgotten in a discovery that had glory enough for all.  Perhaps pass legislation on this date that makes the very discovery created to save lives, also affordable to save lives.

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

Could it be; a Patch that REALLY STAYS? Take a Look and Try for Yourself.

As many of my readers know, I do not use these pages for advertising.  If I find something that can help, solve a problem, and/or make diabetes life any easier, I share. To be clear: I have received no remuneration for this article, I’m sharing about this product because, quite frankly, it just does what it’s supposed to…….stay on.

I hope it works for all, but in fairness I have not seen it on everyone so I can not say 1000% that it will be for everyone.  And of course if you have any hesitation, ask your medical team about the product after you visit their site and find out more.  That said, and the disclaimers aside, if you ever had a problem with your patch you may want to read carefully.

StayPut Medical is a series of patches created by Mike Mangus (founder Pres./CEO) because he heard from so many while in his prior jobs what a problem these patches are/were with the medical devices supposed to stay on, including those devices worn by people with diabetes.  I saw a group of moms talking about StayPut and then I gave a few to people I know; and each one said the patch made an incredible difference.

So now I share with you.

You can click the link above on Mike’s site where you will find a boatload of information,  how this all came about, and also how you can receive a free sample ($1.99 for shipping and stuff).

Good luck and let me know what you feel after you try them.  And also share this on sites where this patch might help others.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

A Favor……Perhaps……..Could be Times 4!

As many of you know, I rarely utilize this column for anything more than the articles to hopefully teach and inspire,  But there is this incredible opportunity given to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation that I’m sure hoping you will join in and help.

The Sola Sweet company, from now until the end of November –Diabetes Awareness Month—-will match every dollar up to $10,000 donated on the site listed below—-we already have over $1600.00.  And to make it even better; we also have another match from a Foundation that will match that $20,000 donation as well.   It’s too good an opportunity not to ask if you would be so kind and help.

Go to this site on FaceBook:
https://www.facebook.com/thesolacompany/
……and donate today.  November is Diabetes Awareness Month, Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, with everything your $20 donation would be matched to make it $40, and that entire match would be matched again to make it $80.00…..so EVERY donation will be multiplied by 4……please donate today.

Any questions, feel free to shoot me an email at tkarlya@drif.org

Thank you so much for caring so.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Painting Your Child’s Diabetes…..Careful, it’s Not your Canvas

I saw a picture this week, a child in a hospital and the person who posted it wrote that this was their life with diabetes, that no one knew what they went through, and this is their world every day, all of the time.

As I read this story, I felt bad for two reasons……the first, and obvious, is that no one wants to go thorough their life with a child in a hospital for any length of time. The second is that this person truly believed that this IS their ‘world, every day’, how sad.  Our life was not this, ‘every day’.  From my kids’ point of view, yes they have a disease. Yes it sucks.  But they hit it head on and move through, on, and/or around but they do not stop due to this disease………….ever.  They accomplished what any other child WITHOUT diabetes accomplished.

Bad days?  You bet.   Time they want help to take a break from a CGM and/or a pump?  Of course.  But for the most part they realized the only way they can move forward is to……well, move forward.

If I was a child of fourteen-or-so in a hospital stay from  a low blood sugar, I’m not so sure how thrilled I would be if my dad posted a picture of me on social medial for the world to see.  If you think that it does not matter to your child, you better think again.  And if you think that they do not see things like that on social media……..you better think about that again as well.

It’s a tough balance because; for whatever diabetes charity one is involved, it’s important to move people to give and help those causes, and that is great, but also do not be afraid to ask your child what they think on the picture you are about to post or the story you are about to tell.  Ask them.  And listen to their answers.

When I write or I post, I have guidelines from my kids.  Twenty-six+ years into this I still remind myself daily that I do not have this disease.  I do not know what it’s like…..not for one second.  I respect their space, their feelings, and how they want the world to see their diabetes.  It’s not my disease.

I can speak from/as a parent but that is all I’m allowed to speak about without asking them.  Richard Rubin, one of the leading psyche-social-aspect-gurus of all time taught the meaning of the balance of respecting our kids and helping them understand that their life is not ‘just an open book’ because we think it should be.

Remember this the next time you are trying to make a point about this world of diabetes.  Know that this word is your child’s world 24/7/365……if you think you own it, your children will never learn to.  And the faster they take it on as their own, the better you will all be.  Help them through ALL OF IT but don’t assume you have rights without asking them.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Tennis Balls and Syringes; How the Diabetes Ball Bounces

Here we are for our 27th Diabetes Awareness Month.   Ahhhh November.  The thing I always share with parents is the fact that no matter how much time we spend on this journey, whether diagnosed last week, or 26 years ago, it makes sense to look back to the beginning and realize just how much we learned.

Because whether it is a short time, or a long time, one thing I know to be true is that no matter how much time passes, we gain knowledge every day.  Don’t we?  We start with the realization that we have no idea what this disease is about, and how to handle it, to meeting with newly diagnosed parents sharing with them that they too can do what we all have done.

One-day-at-a-time—–and breathe.

The other day I saw a tennis instructor working with a young pupil.  A basket full of tennis balls accompanied the teacher.   I’m not a tennis player and know little about it other than what I learned the times I tried it in my youth.   This was a new visual for me.  Tennis ball after tennis ball after tennis ball went from instructor’s racket over the net to the student’s racket.  It clearly was a practice they had done hundreds of times because the student knew, without a spoken word, when to move to different parts of the tennis court, or to use a backhand or overhead swing.  It was fascinating to watch.  Hours and hours and tens of thousands of tennis balls……tennis ball after tennis ball after tennis ball, again and again and again.

Every now and again the student would get frustrated because a shot was missed.
“Grrrrrrrr” came the noise.
All for one goal—-perfection.

We, too, do the same thing when it comes to our children and their diabetes management.  Again, and again, and again we try, striving for that perfection.  Perhaps we need to give ourselves a break sometimes because we are going to be right back at it tomorrow, and the next day, until such time that the ‘break’ we wait for arrives and this disease is cured once and for all.  But until such time it’s injection after blood check after treating a low after injection after blood check after treating a low after injection after……..

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

Our Child’s Scariest First Dive

This may not be big news to anyone, but my little guy gave himself his own shot today.
Point: This IS BIG NEWS to anyone who understands that our children, once diagnosed, not unlike us; face incredibly ‘firsts’.  To me whether you are jumping off a cliff into water 80 feet below or taking an injection of insulin for the firs time——the unknown….is just that…..unknown.

Having the courage to say, “Mommy, I want to give myself my own shot today.”  Well to me, that is a huge step in the life of a child living with diabetes.  To begin to say, “This is my disease, I want to take control of it.” That’s huge and is a big step in any child’s life.

We, as parents, as much as we may try, have no idea what this might be like.   Think about it.  One is diagnosed.  Months go by and hundreds of blood-checking and insulin shots have occurred in your little one’s body.  They watch, but they really do not understand everything, they might nor even understand much at all.  But something clicks in their little minds; Why is mommy doing this to/for me each and every time, numerous times a day?

They ask themselves that question.  And each time, for days and weeks, they watch as insulin is given.  And at some point it hits them; why does mommy have to do this, I can do this.

Then, for a number of times, they ask the question inside their own heads at first.  Not sure what it means nor what you will say when they ask.  Again, again, again, and again they watch and the words are on the tip of their tongue.  Then, as if a voice from way down deep inside pushes their tiny thought our of their little mouth;  Can I give myself my shot today?

The world stops dead-in-its-tracks as parent and child stare at each other.  Almost as if the disbelief from the one hearing it,  is matched by the disbelief of the little one saying it.   They stare at each other.

Mom will speak first.

Ah……um…….sure honey.  If you want to try it.  Sure.

Mommy smiles as she hands the insulin to the waiting child.
The child has seen it hundreds of times, they know what to do.
Still, there is that moment.  That moment of the unknown.  The child does it, takes the injection, lifts the needle out and looks square into the eyes of mommy.  The child smiles.
See mommy I knew I could do it.
Mommy smiles and hugs her child tightly.
Yes baby, I knew you could.

The child runs and goes to continue playing outside with the incredible feeling of accomplishment.  The first step in taking on their diabetes.

Mommy smiles until her child leaves the room and is outside playing again.
She drops on the bed and cries her eyes out.

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

 

A Small and Gorgeous Country…….We Could Learn Much

I just arrived back home from vacation.  Once a year I try to ‘get away’ as they say; because a battery drained is no use unless it is charged, this charges the batteries.
While visiting the country of Jamaica, two things truly stick out in my mind.  One was  speaking to/with the hierarchy of where I was staying as their ‘brand’ is located throughout the Caribbean and might be able to play a valuable role in our (the Diabetes Disaster Relief Coalition) efforts in helping people with diabetes during hurricane season (okay, so I don’t ‘turn off’ completely) in the many islands that seem to get hit the most…..we will see if these conversations become fruitful, time will tell.

The second thing that truly stuck with me were the people of Jamaica.  What they lack in size, they make up with pride.  As one travels the country, it is quite clear that money is not plentiful, possessions are not plentiful, and many parts of the country have much less than others.   Workers, every-day people, supervisors, drivers, elected officials; what is clear is that, despite the lack of what many of US would call ‘our rights of possession’, these people do not need and hold dearly their right to LOVE their country.  It’s no wonder their Country’s motto is so well accepted, Out of Many, One People.

I had the wonderful opportunity to hear from so many who call Jamaica their home.  One woman shared that she was not in favor of the political power now in control of the government of Jamaica.  “There are three, really two, political parties in my country.  I did not vote for this one.”  When I shared the political divide in our country she continued, “…yes, of this we are aware.  But in my country, so rich and full of so many things, no one person could ever take away how I feel for my country.”

No one person could ever take away how I feel for my country…..let that sink in a bit.

It struck me that, even in our diabetes community, we sometimes forget how much we do, actually, have.  We surely do complain at the drop of a hat on something being unfair, and that is within our rights.  But when we look upon landscape of all things diabetes, and for that matter in our country, have we forgotten how blessed we are? Does one person, or one entity, control us that much that we forget what we DO HAVE? Does one person or one entity stand that strongly that they hold us to stay focused on only what is bad and what divides us; whether it be the cost of our medicine or the system of politics in which we disagree.

One transportation driver shared with me that he was not so sure why we allowed the bitterness to even exist.  “In my country, mon, we do not understand why Americans are so angry when they have so much blessing.  Why does one thing, one event, or even one person, get all the attention. With this, we do not do here. Life is a celebration, mon.”

I could write on and on.  But my question is a simple one; which one of these control us; our anger or our love for all that we DO have?  Do we remember our own country’s motto which we have all heard for years and years……E Pluribus Unum? Do you know the translation of Out of Many, One.

Seems our friends of the sun drenched tourist destination of Jamaica, small and poor as they are, understand it a bit better than we do.   Perhaps we should follow their lead on knowing out of many, we truly are one……..or should try harder, at least, to be so.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

Halloween…..R U Afraid of Diabetes and Candy?

Many have asked me to rerun this article—here it is with just minor changes.

This month is Halloween.  Halloween means so much to kids.  Our kids with diabetes are no exception.  I remember when Kaitlyn was younger and many neighbors bought stickers and toys for Kaitlyn; “…I did not know what to get for her”, was a common comment.

People can surely be wonderful.

We were discussing this weekend, over coffee, that each year there was no doubt with all of the walking that she would do that ‘going low thing’ would not only occur but almost always at the exact same block each year.  She would carefully choose something out of the bag. (of course juice boxes and ‘stuff needed’ were readily available ‘just in case’ as well—but letting her choose something from the Halloween Trick-or-Treat bag…why not?).  We would wait a few minutes and continue on.  Fun and frights continued.  On this day our kids strive and want to be just like all the others kids…….AND THEY  SHOULD BE.

I remember many conversations from people who do not live with diabetes in their household how much Halloween must be a disaster for us, having a child “who cannot eat candy”.  People thought that we would deprive our child of this incredible right-of-passage.  Those of us ‘in the know’ know better, don’t we?

If you do not know….you should learn how close to normal you can make this day.  Our kids are not driving close to a cliff during this day.

Of course we would control the candy; some gave money in exchange, some put the candy outside for the GREAT PUMPKIN to take and exchange for a toy; but we always controlled what the kids ate and went through it all like every other parents do each year.

We all do those things.

There are many things that you can find online about kids, diabetes, and what to do.  Today I want to check in with where YOUR head is at.  You should not be afraid (pun intended) of this day and you should spend the time enjoying your kids while they enjoy the day.

Diabetes never stopped us on Halloween and it should not stop you either.  Go and enjoy.  This is a holiday for kids to enjoy and with a little knowledge and a little ‘smarts’, the only frightening thing about the day should be at your front door when the doorbell rings.

Be afraid……..be very afraid?   Nah…….enjoy; Halloween is nothing to ‘spook’ you.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

What Surpasses Tears of Joy? Perhaps, Smiles Upon Smiles of Joy!

I have never been one to force emotion…..if it is how I feel at a particular moment, it becomes whatever it becomes.  We all live in the ups and downs with emotion starting the day we heard the words, “your child has, what is commonly called, type one diabetes.”

Finger pricks, injections, 3 am blood checks, and the feeling that you are utterly alone is enough emotion for a life time.  So many, and I MEAN MANY, of my friends co-warriors in this fight had bets when, during my daughter’s wedding day, I would completely lose it.  Seeing her for the first time, walking her down the aisle, and surely by the ‘daddy-daughter’ dance you were going to have to scrape me off the floor…..right?

Not exactly.

You see I actually cannot remember the last time that I had the feeling I had like I did the day Kaitlyn became Mrs. Andre Burnett.  To be THAT happy was the most wondrous feeling I have had in a long, long time. Not one tear, anywhere, just joy.  The entire planning of the wedding was a delight and the actual day itself was heaven on earth.

There are many aspects to the planning of a wedding.  Much different for a daughter than a son.  Engagement parties, showers, parties, wedding-rehearsal dinner and then the big day.  There was just so much love.  Not only within our families but from our extended friends and family we have met while on this incredible journey, so many were extending good wishes and great love…..we thank all of you and felt it from all of you.

SO if you have a child with diabetes, I want to share that one of the most joyous days of my life occurred after diagnosis.  In the spirit of present day; Olympic Mega-star, Multi-Medal Winning Swimmer, Gary Hall shares freely that he won more awards after diagnosis than before.  I know that feeling now more than ever.

The take-away is that even after diagnosis, the best days in you life may very well be ahead of you.  Hold onto that thought—-you will need it.  And sometimes those incredible smiles…….are worth their weight in gold.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

What Does a Dad say to his Daughter on her Wedding Week?

Dear Kaitlyn,
Daddy’s little girl, my little girl.
When I sat down to write this, I was going to send it to just you.  Something this personal is meant for a father and a daughter.  But you and I have never just lived between you, mommy, your brothers, and I; have we?  Our family, in our diabetes journey anyway, well we have lived in a bit of a bubble haven’t we?  And it’s that very idea that gave me the start I needed for this letter.

Thank you.

In all the years I have written, and all the things I have shared, you NEVER ONCE came to me and said, “Dad, you should not have shared, that.”  Any time we discussed it, your answer has always been pretty much been the same, “If others can learn, share it.”  From tears, to tribulations, to pain, to laughter, to silliness, to private moments, you let me tell our story.  What the public does not know is that we did not ‘just do’, we asked.  But that did not change the fact that you said, ‘go for it’; a million times.

Thank you.

For all the times I came to you and said this mom and this child could use a phone a call.  I always tried not to find out the details as sometimes a young lady needs to speak to another about their diabetes, so information was usually scarce but your desire to help never was.  “Give me the number dad, I’ll call”.  Caring and sharing with kids at diabetes camps, at CWD, at support groups, individual, and elsewhere has always been inspirational. You compassion ‘way back when’ made it pretty clear you would be in a profession to help others.  As a nurse, you made that very clear, very early.

Thank you.

For sharing Andre and allowing he and us to get to know each other on his terms.  Not what you want us to know him as, or even what we wanted to know him as—-this is a very difficult thing for parents sometimes.  He is a wonderful man and I could not be passing my daughter’s hand off to better suitor.  And more than that, as of next Sunday he will become another son to me…….he pretty much is already.  He did that on how he treated you, how he loves you…….on his terms.  We welcome him and his wonderful family and it is GREAT that they like to party too.  Your journey together will provide much of that for all of us I’m sure.  My prayers will continue asking God for his safety  every night and day as he places a gun on his hip and a shield on his chest to protect those he does not know….this is a special man.

Thank you.

For being you.  No matter what has happened in our lives, you stayed true to you.  Your love for others but specifically for this family has meant the world to all of us.  Your love for your two brothers–what you have done for them over the years always ‘watching out for them’ has been incredibly comforting to mom and I…..and them; your humor, OH YOUR WONDERFUL HUMOR–from Turkey songs at Thanksgiving to your creativeness in everything you touched, to going to the deli to buy a pickle because it was ‘a free food’ while all your friends filled up on sweets, to silly songs, stuffed bears, and so much more makes you such a wonderful person.  You’re laughter and ‘no drama’ is infectious.  You rarely complained, if ever.  You took every obstacle and challenge and showed us how to make it a teachable/learning moment.  You taught me the most important lesson I have ever learned in this diabetes journey when you answered a news reporter so matter-of-factually, “I have diabetes, diabetes IS NOT who I am”.  You said it directly and clearly and it’s something anyone dealing with this disease either personally or with a loved one MUST HEAR in their life…..and often.

You have taught me more about this disease than any book, any doctor, any professional ever could.  Together, and much through this column, many learned from you from stories and by your example.

On the week a daughter may be getting married a man might tell his daughter that he is done teacher her all about life and she will now walk with the man of her dreams.  But Sweetie, when it comes to diabetes, you have been the teacher since the day you were diagnosed, and I have feeling it will not stop anytime soon with me, nor those you meet.  And the world is a much better place for it, because of the way you have handled your diabetes, your life, and this journey.  THAT is enough to humble any man…………………even a DiabetesDad.
Congratulations on your wedding day, and I love you to the moon and back.
KKNN
Love Dad