Different Races, All Trying to Help

A few people I know attempted to do something this weekend that, I guess, one could say that they had no business to attempt.  Both had to do with feats of running.  Both have ailments or other reasons why their bodies are not meant to run.  I have no idea how long, or even if, they trained for these runs.

My cousin trained for months to run in the NY Marathon last November in New York City.  My cousin’s training was being done at age 77.  He did it all under medical supervision and he ‘did it right’ from all intent and purposes one undertakes these endeavors.  Just prior to the race, while training, he collapsed in the street and a passerby performed CPR, it saved his life.  It’s been a haul but my cousin is a fighter and the closeness he has to his own family, well that makes the fighting worth it.

He was running to bring attention, education, and a few bucks to Autism which has hit out family, and hit it pretty hard.  The other two I referenced at the onset were doing it for diabetes awareness, education, and a few bucks to a foundation in which they believe in for diabetes, our family knows about that as well..

THEY ARE ALL, HEROES.

They chose to live by the phrase, Just Don’t Do Nothing.  Make no mistake about it, just because they may not have made it to break the ribbon at the end, they accomplished their goals.  In fact, in one case, her story was so moving I donated to her cause.  Had she not been challenged beyond physical  endurance; I never would have known her story.  Her story pulled at my heart. Her apologetic tone of being unable to make it to the finish line captivated my attention.  As I read her story my mind was continually filled with one of the greatest lines ever uttered in movie cinema history from Lord of the Rings, “…….my friends, you bow to no one!”

Anyone who decides in their head, I will attempt this, crazy as it sounds, they get my attention and they should get your attention as well.  Someone else has REALLY peaked my attention recently because she is attempting to do something almost as impossible as well.  She is running a different kind of race and in my humble opinion, we probably should pay attention.

Quinn Nystrom is running for Congress in Minnesota.  She is an author (If I Kiss you, will I Get Diabetes), a tireless advocate for diabetes, and a person who has lived with the disease.  Quinn has held elected office as the youngest person ever elected to the Baxter City Council.  One of the reasons she is running for Congress is because of unaffordable health care, she knows firsthand about the cost of insulin.  So many times we tout and shout, “If only we had an inside to Washington.”  Well now is your chance.  I’m doing what I can to help Quinn get elected, because I cannot vote for her.  But I also KNOW WE NEED A VOICE in Washington DC; Quinn’s voice.  Go to https://quinnforcongress.com/ and figure a way you can help also.

All of these individuals, although running in completely different races, are running because they cared enough not to sit on the sidelines.  I’m in awe of their efforts and I know there are so many more trying to make a difference.  But the only way to get in the race, is to start running.  What will you do this year?
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Living Life is so Much More than Diabetes…..NEVER Forget It!

Life was normal. Perhaps a trip shopping or a relatives house. Your child starts to complain about stomach aches, nausea, but the flu has been going around.
It’s just the flu honey.
Yeah, the flu I’m sure.
But the clock is ticking.

Your child is home from school.
This is different, honey. I should take her to the doctor’s office.
Tomorrow, we’ll see tomorrow.
But the clock is ticking.

If you have a child with T1D, the first two paragraphs should have caused a little anxiety. Perhaps you are brand new. Perhaps you have been ‘at it’ for years.
It’s diabetes. It’s the way it is. It’s the way it’s going to be until someone untangles this mess and comes up with a cure.

Stop blaming the pharma companies for ‘hiding a cure’, they’re not. If we have learned anything it is that if one entity is ‘doing it’, others also know how. So ‘hiding it????–not so easy. Diabetes is just that complex. But many are working on it. Many. Technology of today is so much better than the technology of yesterday, and tomorrow’s will be THAT MUCH better. We’ll get there. I’m more sure of that now, than when we started this journey on September 26th, 1992

So buckle your seat belt and keep the focus where it needs to be. On your child? Not necessarily just on your child but on getting your child back up and back as close to life as it was before diagnosis. That’s our job, as parents. If you are divorced, hear me, that is still our job as parents. Nothing matters more.

The psyche of diabetes is as important as the management of it. Get your child back up and back into life. Be strong, but understanding. Let them lean but don’t let them sit. Get them back to where they were. That’s our job as parents. Cry? Sure but not in front of them. If they want to cry, let them. Guide them.

I have known thousands of families where diabetes entered the household. The kids have done incredible things to fulfill their dreams. There are always ‘what about—what about’, that ‘might happen’ but only take them on when you have to. Otherwise, let them do what other kids do……after all, that’s what they are……..kids. Upon diagnosis, they did not turn into glass, don’t treat them as if they have. Hear me clearly, do not just poo-poo this disease, it’s a monster. But all monsters can be trained. Train it, or it will own you. Don’t let it. I’m certainly no smarter, better, nor stronger than you. I asked the questions of those who have been through it. I found answers.

My oldest son is living his dream. Not your dream. Not someone else’s dream, His dream. He runs into fires when others run away. He works patrolling the grounds of NY State. He works hard, he plays hard. He gives back. He is where he wants to be. My youngest two children each have type one diabetes, and you know what, they’re living their dreams as well. They all have someone in their lives to share everything. They are all living life.

That’s the goal. It takes work. But as I said, I’m no smarter than anyone else but we made sure our kids had choices. They made good ones. Let yours do the same. Don’t let one ounce of your precious energy be wasted in any other way. Period.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Our Back-ups had Back-ups

When Kaitlyn was first diagnosed, and the credit for this falls squarely on Jill, our back-up plans for Kaitlyn’s diabetes had back-up plans. When it was her glucometer, there was the one she carried, the one in Jill’s pocketbook, as well as the one in the car. There were always three different angles to the end game on anything diabetes. Interesting enough, over the years, the approach changed little.

I would strongly suggest that every parent consider the same strategy.

No matter what we have used, no matter how technology has changed, there was always a back-up plan…….for even the back-up plan. What that plan might be is entirely up to you and your family, but if you have a dollar to bet on anything doing with technology, bet on this one fact……it will fail.

Do not wait until it fails to be prepared.

When the technology stops, the ingenuity must, MUST, kick in. What was once a relayed signal from the cloud might become a manual glucose check and a phone call or text. What was a working glucometer, becomes using a spare one just in case. What was an insulin pump dosage, becomes an injection.

There was much online frustration relayed in our community with the recent Dexcom failure to transmit information. People were saying all sorts of things; how others should feel about technology, and what they should not feel, and what right anyone has to have such feelings, or not have. People became angry at others and felt people should mind their own business and not tell others ‘how they should feel’.

In my opinion it should come down to one thing, and as I stated, credit my wife; when it comes to anything diabetes, your back-up plan needs a back-up plan. Whatever that is or might be, I leave to you and your family. But if you do not have a back-up plan to your back-up plan; you will one day experience the panic of ‘not knowing what to do’.

And that’s not a good place to be. Plan now for the next time because I most assuredly guarantee…….there will be a next time.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

No 2 are Alike

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is snowflake-diabetes-1024x999.jpg

So as we approach our third ‘winter’ in South Carolina, I am reminded of the one thing I do not miss about living up North……..snow. I was never a fan of snow. It always looks beautiful and then the reality hits that those beautiful flakes will not remove themselves from your car and your property.

The one thing about snow that I always found fascinating was that, as the saying goes, no two are alike. Millions and millions of snowflakes and each as different as the next. This was my assessment of those with diabetes for years. I even called it the snowflake disease as how it impacts one may be completely different with someone else……and in many cases it does impact two people completely differently.

Remember that the next time you want to jump in and help someone with a diabetes inquiry. The way diabetes impacts your child could be 180 degrees different than how it impacts someone else. But withing this discussion is also a celebration of how people move beyond the limitations of this disease in their own lives. Just this week, one young man made the junior Olympic team, one starred in a football game, one danced the Nutcracker, one entered medical school, one is graduating Family Nurse Practitioner school, one went away on their first weekend without mom and dad and ALL OF THEM did it with diabetes.

So as we head into the holiday season, celebrate the uniqueness of your child. Celebrate that what they do, and remember that they do it while managing a truly tedious disease. A disease they did not ask for. A disease that was thrust upon them. Celebrate their uniqueness. And while your at it, give a pat on your own back for all you do to help them.

No two snowflakes are alike. And neither are your children. Their uniqueness is worth celebrating……in fact, it melts your heart, doesn’t it?

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

SHARE THIS:

This Month, ‘Diabetes’ Gets Nothing!

Dear Diabetes Awareness Month,

Sorry I have not paid you so much attention this year. I mean I certainly continued the advocacy I find so important. People need to be made aware of your signs so they can get proper care before it is too late.

I am also not letting you off the on letting insulin prices go just as high as they want; we’ll keep fighting that too.

But I am spending my time enjoying the things you cannot keep from my kids. I visited Minnesota this month and shared with my son his new digs at the corporate offices of Best Buy. You know, the place he could not get to because he was too young or his diabetes might get in the way. Yeah; that didn’t happen and now as he approaches his second year, we continue to be so proud how he and his fiance are doing out there, so sorry I was not dwelling on just the diabetes that week.

Oh, and also sorry that I could not spend more time with you in the middle of the month as I had to visit Kaitlyn; you remember her don’t you? You know the one diagnosed at age two, the one where one medical professional told me I should be lucky enough to hope for just getting through college. Never knew if they meant that diabetes would be so hard she would be unable to balance it with her studies or that she would be alive at this point……….well she graduated college. Graduated nursing school too. Next month she graduates as an FNP—or Family Nurse Practitioner. Take that!

Always surprised they named a month after you. It should be about those who, time-and-time-again, prove that diabetes will not stop them. It should be about those who have accomplished wonderful things despite having you in their lives.

They excel, they find great jobs, they get married, they have kids, they succeed—they do everything that you thought you would stop them from doing. So perhaps we should call November Hero Awareness Month, because quite frankly, you do not deserve to have a month named after you. But our kids do. And the kids we lost do also. They lived as heroes for as long as they could until they could not do it any longer……and you took them.

That’s what happens in a war. And this is a war. And all of us will do battle every day.
Some day, you will lose and we will win. Because you deserve nothing form us and nothing is what we are ready to give to you……..least of all to even have a month named for you. Better we stress the “Awareness” in Diabetes Awareness Month……and give you credit for nothing.

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

Diabetes Awareness Month……Key Word: AWARENESS

Well here we are again, Diabetes Awareness Month.  Trending are many people asking to post something each day of this month.  How many test strips do you use, how many units of insulin, how long have you lived with t1d????  Something different each day of the month.  I’m not so sure I would want to break down my two kids’ diabetes into a 30 day ‘advent-like’ calendar of what we have been doing for the last 27+ years, but if it works for you, why not?

But WHATever you are doing for this month, ask yourself this question as you contemplate what to do to bring awareness to the outside world; ‘who is seeing this?’  It’s great to show the diabetes community, but here’s the catch, they know already.  Whatever you are doing, and it’s up to you whatever that is, but make sure you are monitoring where your posts end up.  All year round we are certainly here to help one another but November offers a very specific charge; awareness.

SO encourage people who read your posts to send them to those who do not know anything about this disease.  Figure out some things to do, here are a few examples;  Encourage your kids to give a presentation in school about diabetes awareness; go to www.getdiabetesright.org and download one of the many awareness posters, print a bunch, hand out and hang throughout your community; donate to a diabetes charity, a camp, or any diabetes organization you like; ask to speak at one of your community meetings like Rotary Clubs, LIONs Clubs, Chamber of Commerce about diabetes awareness; wear blue like my dear friend Paula does all year round each Friday (my Fridays are just not the same if she doesn’t) but now you have 30 days–wear blue, and just do something to get that word out; just don’t do nothing.

This month is all about Diabetes Awareness…….so make people aware!  Not those who know already but those you don’t.  You might just save a life.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

We CANNOT Break

We are a community.  What impacts one, impacts all.  Those of us who have decided that Just Doing Nothing will not do, have taken up our position in this diabetes battle.  There are as many positions as there is work to be done.

Taking no action, takes no effort.
Again:
Taking no action, takes no effort.
It’s easy.

It can cause you no harm. One has enough to worry about than to think, ‘I have to spend all my precious time on me and my family’. Right? There is power in that, but if we all only looked after our own personal lives, where would we be? I have known and been friends with so many people in this battle who believe stronger in doing things that I do not do.  I have known friends that support organizations more so than I support.  There s just so much tine in a day.

That’s okay.

They are on the front lines of battle.  Like the strongest of Palm Trees they bend during the storm but they do not break. It would be so much easier to take a seat in the back of the room. But they stand directly in the front of our diabetes community facing the diabetes storm; advocating, fighting, raising money, walking, running, bike riding, hanging posters, testifying in front of state and national Capitols, teaching, organizing, and in simple terms they are doing something they find to be important.  Something that will help their own, and in doing so, helping you.

It’s easy to point and criticize. It’s harder to say, “Let me help you”.  You may not be the first in the battle you undertake……..and you will not be the last.  But we cannot stand as a divided entity.  We cannot stand opposing each other.  When I started this battle I was a 35-year-old man who had a ton of energy and hope for my daughter (and then my son as well).  Now at 61, my hope for our kids has not wavered one iota, I just move a little slower.

So ask yourself what you are doing to help and make a difference?  Because if we don’t help……..who will?  Look around you, you have 9 million chances and choices but it starts with that first realization……..”I need to get involved”.

Just Don’t Do Nothing
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Moms and Dads……Halloween can be BOOtiful for You Too……Enjoy!

This month is Halloween, in fact in just about a week.  Halloween means so much to kids.  Our kids with diabetes are no exception, after all, they’re just kids; right?.  I remember when Kaitlyn was younger and many neighbors bought stickers and toys for Kaitlyn for Halloween trick or treats; “…I did not know what to get for her”, was a common comment.

People are 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 trick or treat 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.  Don’t be afraid to let them.

I remember many conversations from people who do not live with diabetes as we do.  Their naive questions regarding how 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 all 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’.