We Are Lost Without Each Other. Period!!!

CWD HandsA common thread is woven among us.  None of us asked to be here, but we are; no one asked us to be part; but we include ourselves; no one asked us to stay, but we have no choice.

We stay because we need to learn; we learn because we need to help our kids with the best tools available; and we share because we love.  It is diabetes and, now, with residence in our world we must decide what to do with it.

For the last week I have been at the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference in Orlando and I have once again (for the millionth time) been reminded how much we mean to each other as a diabetes community.  Thousands are here but I know that this is all but one off-shoot of the diabetes community.

Many will go back to be part of their hospital support groups; DRI, JDRF, and/or ADA group of friends; or connecting online–it all does not really matter.  We are joined by diabetes.  It is a common enemy of which makes allies of us all. 

We need each other.

SO many people had so many GREAT things to share this week in Orlando but it is the singular voice of our children that resonates with me; “We need each other”.  From all walks of life, from throughout the United States and beyond, we are one voice.  We are families with diabetes.

You did not need to be here to know that but if ever you are given the opportunity to experience 3000+ people all on the same page; it is a pretty amazing experience.  Each wrist band on the hands in the picture represents a significant part of this conference.  But in the end it is up to us to make the decision that “today it starts; a new day to make a difference in my life, our life, and the world around us.” 

People leave here empowered to take on the world again. 

And it is a world worth taking on.  The opportunities are endless; the people are all around us are ready to help; the support is always within grasp either personally or online; this is diabetes–and we—-well we; Are. Friends. For. Life.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

Do You Need a Liferaft??????

liferaftOnce upon a time there was a big storm and a man had evacuated to his roof as the waters slowly made their way to surround the house all the way up to the roof level.

He cried out, “God help me.”

As he waited for an answer a man he did not know was in a little row-boat and yelled to him through the driving rain, “Friend, hop in.”

“No he screamed back, my God will be helping me.”

A few minutes later a rescue boat came by and the fireman shouted, “Jump in and we will get you out of here.”  The man yelled back that he was okay because his God was going to send angels to help him.  Realizing the man was steadfast in his belief, the fireman moved on.

A few minutes later, with the water level now at the man’s waist, his neighbor passed by, ‘Neighbor, jump in and we’ll float to safety.”  “Thank you so much but my God will save me with what I am sure will be legions of angels, I am faithful.”

The neighbor moved on.

The waters rose and the man surely drowned.  When he got to the pearly gates he asked God, “Why in my hour of need, did you not send me your angels to help.  I screamed out and you did nothing.   WHY?”

God answered, “I have no idea what you mean my son, I sent you a perfect stranger, a fireman, and your neighbor to save your life and you did not take my help”

As I am in the middle of the week and attending the Friends for Life Conference, I have had a chance to meet many grandparents.  Their stories are incredibly fascinating but more so I have learned how many families kept their grandparents at a distance in the beginning days of diagnosis.

I have had the chance to speak to some in Orlando this week who have shared stories as Aunts and Uncles who help when a child is diagnosed and continued through the years as a ‘help-care” with families where diabetes is now in residence.

Are you like the man on the roof, who has help all around but refuses because you are waiting for some grand savior to come help you so you can find some time to yourself?

Have families offered help and you say, “No, we are okay.”  Do you do that?  Perhaps when a family member, or a friend, says to you next time, “If I can ever do something just ask.”  You should say, “If you really mean it, I would love to have just two hours to be myself, could you come by and watch Susie for just an hour or two, if I don’t find some time for myself I will explode.”

I am sure they will say yes.  I am also sure that there are families who will never get that offer and I am sorry about that fact.

But to the many I say look for that time for yourself, to be with your partner, or whatever two hours will buy you.  Don’t be SOOOO brave and go it alone and tell everyone you are in this all alone.  When it is offered, say yes. People are there, people will help, don’t just stay up on the roof.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

Our Children Need the Sign to Guide Them Home……Will You Give it To Them?

SwanThe picture s a Swan.  It is a cute ‘thing’, Maria and the others in the housekeeping staff, make with a towel here in Disney, where I am for the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference.    The creation will usually find their way into the window, or it could be a favorite stuffed animal, or even a hand painted sign.

Parents place these in the window to guide their children back home to their room.  Here at Disney’s Coronado Springs, the front desk tells me that there are 2109 rooms at this location and many doors and windows start to look the same very quickly.  Kids who are old enough to roam the place sometimes need a beacon to guide them back….these are an easy way for kids to find their rooms by looking at the windows by the front door.

As soon a I saw the first one on this trip, it took me back to the first time we were here and the kids were not even in their teens, a life time ago it seems.  As I sat in my room reading my emails, those days seem like a long time ago.

Our kids grow up so very quickly, don’t they?

TJ was just starting to grow, Kaitlyn was fairly new wearing that newest of advancements called the insulin pump.  And here we were at Coronado Springs to learn more about diabetes just as over 3000 people will do as they converge here over the next few days.

Their lives, of course, are about to change.  The so many people who come every year share their fears, their feelings, and the way their diabetes world exists.  We, as many of you, continue finding ways to learn and to share these findings to better their worlds with diabetes.

Perhaps it is a camp, or a seminar, or a support group that is chosen to learn more.  In as much as I have already stated how important I think the DIabetes Research Institute’s BioHub is in our wait for a cure, waiting for that cure must be spent on obtaining the most comprehensive education we can to start living……..NOW.  And the ‘now’ is better education of everything out their in management tools and techniques to help our children.

Help our children to obtain the best blood glucose numbers that they possible can.  Not because they will have a lower A1C (and they will), not to please the doctor (which it will), not to feel better about ourselves (which will happen), but for the singularly most important reason there is; THEY WILL FEEL BETTER.  And when they feel better they can accomplish great things.

So no matter where you choose to educate your self about diabetes, congratulations because there is a lot out there and sometimes, like 2109 rooms, it can all almost look the same.  And in the long run education is what we need to guide our children home, just like a symbol in a window.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

Diabetes Baseball

BaseballIt was 1999.

I had been active on the CWD chatrooms for a while.  It was a great way to obtain information.  During that time, back when, chats were more like a thread of sentences than anything else.  One person would write something and someone else would add to it, and the conversation would grow.

It was sort of cool.  People we did not know, trying to help others.  Even back when, some conversations were animated and passionate.

There was a woman, her name was Laura.  She had a son with diabetes named Sam.  I can almost still remember her post about heading down to Florida and asking if anyone wanted to meet her there.

Well be careful what you ask for because people started to say yes.  Not 15 or 20 people; not 100 or 200 people; but 500 people said they would meet her in Florida.  It was the beginning of a turning point in our lives.

Someone had taken an online group of people, who only knew each other through the internet, and was about to make them Friends for Life.  And many of us are.  We are a family.

Now when I say family, I mean just that….a family.  I do not mean just some sugar-coated (pun intended) sweet la-dee-daa type family……..I mean a real family.  We are there for each other.  We, enjoy each other, laugh together, we party together, we mourn together, we cry together and  you know what, from time to time we even piss each other off.  But we come back to each other.  You see in a family, when you love each other, you really cannot distance yourself because you are just that, a family.

Within that family are thousands of people.  Literally.  It is also the greatest resource we could ever know or have at our disposal.  Knowledge is power; and at our fingertips is a keg of dynamite worth of knowledge.  We are all so fortunate.

Many people have no idea of both the amount of time Laura Billetdeaux and Jeff Hitchcock spend making this work and the amount of personal sacrifice given over the years to keep CWD up and running.  

Things do not ‘just happen’.  Things do not ‘just get done’.

I think of all of this as I get ready to once again head to have my diabetes-supply-batteries charged up and ready to face this ugly monster called diabetes for another year.  Laura started Friends for Life and it was a step no one else took.  She did.  She communicates with every single one of those who register to come to the conference–numbering well north of 3000.  She started it for her son Sam, she continues it for you.

At some point, when CWD first started, Jeff Hitchcock said; “This needs to get done.”  He took the first step and started.  Jeff loves science and research.  He loves when the science backs the lecturer.  He loves when he looks and sees the amount of people thirsty for, and given, knowledge.

He did it all for one young lady.  The one young lady who made him cry when she took her first shot by herself at camp.  The one young lady who he walked down the aisle and gave to Adam.  And that new love will give Jeff and Brenda a new title; Grandparents; this year.

And behind all of this are Neal (Laura’s husband) and Brenda (Jeff’s wife) who are just as much of the reason that CWD FFL has grown as anything or anyone else.

Doing something you love makes it all worth while. 

So I get ready to go to Florida once again.  The place baseball teams go every winter to begin to get ready for the year ahead.  I go to get ready to face the year ahead in the world of diabetes.  With my Friends for LIfe…………I get to play baseball.

I am a diabetes dad

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

 

Summer. A Choice That is All Yours? What Choice Will You Make?????

Beach ChairsWell……..Memorial Day Weekend is behind us and that means it’s time for summer.  There is something about summer, isn’t there?  Walks on the beaches with friends, jumping into pools with your clothes on,  b-b-q’s, picnics, baseball games, pools, beaches, fishing, kickball games, amusement parks, fun-fun-fun in the summer sun.

I remember my summers growing up.  Every summer, it seems, there was something to do that have long since became fond memories.  I was a Newsday (our newspaper) delivery boy who meant at some point during the day; I would have to stop whatever I was doing and delivery my newspapers.

My friends would sometimes come with me, and I’m sure they got annoyed at some point about that aspect, but I always had money in my pocket.  I rarely ever asked my parents for money.  Money is important to have when a kid is faced with summer fun.  Newsday always had contests to Palisades Amusement Park, Mets/Yankee Games, and other trips that I would always win.  My friends would come to some fo those also.

I also had that ‘magical summer’ as I was older where I performed in ‘Summer Stock’ Theatre in Salem New Hampshire.  A life-highlight that I will never forget with a group of people who changed my life forever.  I had fabulous roles that summer and it was here where I realized just how much I truly loved the stage.

And once we had kids, our summers all changed.  All for the good but watching them grow was always amazing and became more important than other things.  Different and so rewarding because these are our kids…..and they are just so amazing, aren’t they?

Weeks and weekends at our summer home, neighborhood gatherings, kids getting taller, our kids’ first jobs, dates, and car all enjoyed throughout the summers.  To me it always felt that the three months of Summer contained more than the other nine combined.  Summer is just a wonderful time of the year.

When diabetes entered our household it also added another GREAT part of Summer and that was our trips to the Children With Diabetes Friends for Life Conferences which happens each July.  The memories and the knowledge we gained was monumental.

Summer is just a great time; and those of you who have diabetes in your household, well you have a choice.  Summer has remained, for us, just a wonderful time of the year.  You can go out there everyday and realize how much your life sucks with diabetes; and you can let the world know just how horrendous your life is with everything that must get done.
And. It. Does. Suck.

OR

You can choose to MAKE SURE you live life to the fullest and let your kids do the same.  Do NOT LET DIABETES win this summer; take some small step to get back to the wonderful feelings and events that summer offers.

PLEASE share with us all WHAT YOU WILL DO this Summer that will be FABULOUS….let others know how diabetes will not stop you and your family, whatever it will be—-please let us know; we want to know.

Maybe even jump in the pool with your clothes on.

I am a diabetes dad.

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