2020 Owes Us an Apology….but…..


As we head into the final week of 2020, do you find yourself saying, as so many are saying, 2020 owes us an apology? What a year.

We certainly have experienced loss in our circle from COVID, as so many have and it has not been an easy year for anyone. The impact of everything COVID; from health to economy, to one of the most brutal election years ever, has left so many in pain and questioning…….well…….everything.

One of the things that I have known since the day Kaitlyn was diagnosed in 1992, is that we cannot do anything about the things that enter our lives………but WHAT we do with it defines how we will end up on the other side.

I’m not speaking of some pie-in-the-sky-life-with-rose-colored-glasses, but I am speaking of trying to move forward at all costs. Sickness, isolation, pain, loss, death cannot merely be wiped away by just sayng ‘life is good’. But what might help is to try taking a few minutes to understand what we DO HAVE as being as important of what we have lost. Take that time. Daily if needed.

Outside of listening to the news to stay informed, I have avoided being sucked into the who is right and who is wrong trying to focus on how to play a role in doing good. Helping someone or a group who have less than you do, is a great way to nurse your spirit back to health. Trust me, there are others who have less and are doing with much less than what you have. If I have learned anything about life, as unfair as it is at times, it’s much more unfair to others. Find those people, and through your pain or anger, help them. In any way small or large, help someone else.

Call someone you have not talked with in a while. Hearing that voice can be heaven. Just hearing someone REALLY want to know how you are does wonders for your heart. So make that/a call. You will be glad you did.

Find someone who inspires you. An author. A writer. A friend. And read something they wrote. Mine came from a most unlikely choice. I came across, Actually, I Can, by Morgan Panzirer almost by accident. I saw it online and what caught my attention was the title; Actually, I Can. It seemed ike a pretty bold statement from any author much less one in her late teens. Almost from the first sentence you feel Ms. Panzirer pull up a chair and sitting across from you she figuratively challenges; “let’s talk”.

At her young age, she has incredible insight which she doles out to each reader as her self-advice she shares in her autobiographical account of dealing with her type 1 diabetes. She holds nothing back sharing her highs and lows (pun intended) regarding her life. She knows she comes from a family that has allotted her much, but she shares in neither a boastful or apolegetic manner. In speaking of living with diabetes she writes, “It has made me appreciate every hour, every minute, and every second I stand on this Earth.” In these most troubled times, her understanding that anything we have should be appreciated, is an important lesson, and in many ways it is taken for granted.

And Ms. Panzirer is correct. Whatever we have should be appreciated. 2020 has allowed me to meet incrdible colleagues who have joined the DRIF, where I work, as well as those with whom I have diligently worked side-by-side for years. People who I have yet to meet in person due to COVID, who have shared their knowledge and drive to indeed keep us focusing on a cure for diabetes. It WILL NOT be here tomorrow but we will stay at it, because someone must. 2020 has introduced me to our granddaughter, who is just the brightest light ever. 2020 has been cruel as much as it has given. 2020 showed an unyielding spirit of those who care (my kids being some of them) in the dragon’s den of fire, they persevere. These people are all heroes.

In 2021, things will not be ‘righted’ very quickly at all, it will take months. A teen-age author reminded me of how much we should appreciate what IS here……..for THAT, I know I am truly blessed and you my friends are part of what I most certainly do cherish in life. Happy New Year and may 2021 move us forward as in hindsght…………2020, becomes just that.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Our Kids with Diabetes…..How do they Do It?

How’s your year going?

Been a long one, has it not? Quite frankly, before this year I do not remember using words like COVID, quarantined, and isolation so much. I also hope to never use them again, in the very near future, but we are not there yet.

I’m not so sure, either, how something could get so much out of hand without control. But here we are. There’s surely enough ‘blame’ to go around but I’m not so sure that will accomplish much anyway.

There’s something occurring which needs your attention. Something that may be under the radar.  Something that is constant.  I have written on more than one occasion that everything our kids do; they do with an asterisk.  The graduations, the sports, the recitals, the dances, the successes, the failures, all of it; they do with an asterisk.

That asterisk represents a bear of a responsibility.  A bear of attention that no child should have to muster.  A bear of courage no child should be able to find.  But they do.

This time, in addition to everything else the idea of COVID tries to stare our kids down, right behind their diabetes.  It dares them to not take COVID seriously.  It dares them as a disease that could surely be impacted by having COVID piled on top.  But, as always, our loved ones with diabetes lift their chin and like that great motion in the Matrix……extend their hands and with their hand outstretched motion to, “bring it on”. 

In fact, dare them, to bring it on.

Because that is what our loved ones do and with COVID is no exception.  Our kids wake up in the morning not caring if it’s Saturday, or Monday; it’s just another day with diabetes. They muster up the strength to get through another day.  It’s almost as if they are not giving their own diabetes another thought as they go to practice or live life to the fullest.  They go on.   But make no mistake, there is not a person living with diabetes who will not tell you that it is never OUT of their mind.  It is always on their mind.

The difference is that our wonderful loved ones living with diabetes also know that they have diabetes, and diabetes does not have them.  They arm themselves every day.  They get ready.  They plan for the unexpected.  They are surely better than I could ever be.  They know who they are and unlike those who do not live life with an asterisk, they extend their hand and motion, “bring it on”.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


What Are We Waiting For?

How long have you been at this diabetes thing? I mean, maybe you are not REALLY in this fight, but are on the sidelines, does that sound familiar? Perhaps it’s because your child has this disease and you do not really have to do the battles, could that be it? There are always many others to pick up and continue this fight?

This fight? What does that mean? Everyday is a fight. Everyday is a chance that diabetes will win. Fight for what? To only fight again on the tomorrows that will always come? To have to do battle with everything from a disease, to an insurance company, to doctor’s office, to a list of family memebers who still, after so many years, do not have a clue what is like to share a household with diabetes.

The fight to find a cure? You know the cure that’s only five years away. It’s why people choose not to get involved. Why should we? Pharma companies are only hiding the cure; what good is one voice? Pharma companies rule everything, we stand no chance, why bother? The pain is just so much when one fights a lost cause, why bother?

Why give of one’s time, money, resources, connections, and or another ounce of whatever we have left…….why bother?

Listen for a moment…….hear that……..that sound of nothing you hear is what happens when no one does anything.

Me?

Well I believe differently. I believe one should “never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Think about that statement……..Margaret Mead’s words of “…..in fact it is the only thing that ever has.”

And the world changed. And it will again, and again, and again, but only as long as someone stands up and says that the norm will just not do. This is not easy. It’s hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it but everyone can’t. The don’t have a child with diabetes. How could they understand if they do not live it? They can’t! You can. You live it. If you do not make this world a better place for your child living with type 1 diabetes; I have a question for you, who will?

Be part of that small group. If you need inspiration, look at your child’s face while they sleep, many have lost their child to this disease while they slept. Yours will wake up tomorrow. What will you do to nake it a better place? Don’t asks someone what they think, look in the mirror and ask that person what they think? Don’t let that person in the mirror out of your sight until an answer is given. Let’s ride into hell together for that heavenly cause!

Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has. Think about it!
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Troubled? Yes. Give Up? Never

Hard to believe that on September 26th, we passed 28 years fighting this beast called tye 1 diabetes (t1d). On the day my daughter was diagnosed I promised her that we would not give up until the day that a biological cure was found.

When Barack Obama left the presidency, he was addressing congress when he said, “One of the few regrets of my presidency is that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse, not better.” In an interview he expanded on that point stating that he promised he would reach across the aisle and bridge that gap. The reporter started to mention some of the reasons which might explain why it hadn’t happened, but the former President would have none of it stating that he did not say he would do it ‘if’ x-y-z happened, he said he would do it.

I bring that up because the more I’m in this world, the more I believe we will find a cure. I have come to understand what that actually means over these past years. I think it’s time we challenge the research world with a little more vigor. Either something is working, or it isn’t. It is either time to solve the barriers standing between a good research project and a great research project, or pull the plug and move on.

I did not promise my daughter we would get to ‘THAT’ cure if x-y-z happened, I said we would ge there. My patience is wearing thin. My tolerance for mumbo-jumbo is at an end. If you have something, lay it on the table……..if you don’t, stop wasting your time, others’ time, and boat load of money.

I always knew this search would not be easy. The cure is not in aisle 7B as in a supermarket. But it’s out there. I’ve heard so many who have been in this battle for as long as I or longer state, I just can’t do it anymore, it’s a lie, a cure doesn’t exist.

I say, if not us being vocal about it, the sound will soon dwindle out to a mere echo of a noise within a seashell. If not us, who? I cannot stop pursuing that cure. I will challenge those in the research world across the globe. I do not mean to be disrespectful to anyone doing the work needed but the lives of my children are on the line here. If you are wasting one ounce of your energy doing something other than what you have been charged to do, you’re playing with the precious minutes of my children’s lives and with millions of others living with t1d.

My children deserve better. Please, in everything that is holy, give them your complete dedication. I ask you as a………………..
Diabetesdad

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

When Dreams Become Reality

Have you ever heard of a company called, Traf-O-Data? It processed and analyzed data but if you did not hear of it, it’s not surprising as it failed miserably. Ever hear of a small basketball franchise called the Cleveland Pipers? If you blinked, you missed them as they were created in 1960 and went bankrupt in 1962. If I told you that one of the greatest creative minds who ever lived was fired from a newspaper being told he lacked creativity, would you believe me? Well it’s true and the man was Walt Disney. The data company that failed belonged to none other than Bill Gates, and the failed basketball team was owned by George Steinbrenner. His NY Yankees, love them or hate them, are the most successful team in sports history with 27 World Series wins; not bad for a team purchased for 8.8 million dollars. in 2019, Forbes magazine reported the team’s worth at 4.6 billions—that’s with a “B”.

No one likes to go through loses, or getting it wrong; but when you believe in something, you stay at it. I have never met a parent, ever, who at the onset of their child’s diagnosis did not wonder how they would get through the next week, much less the upcoming years. As parents we ask the question, “How?”

Something happens while at the hospital, it is a light switch turned on. You make a decision.You look at that wonderful miracle entrusted to you and you resolve yourself, WE WILL MAKE IT. And one day becomes a week, and a month, a year, 5 years, ten years. The smell you remember from the first time you entered the hospital, the first bus ride, sports tryouts, step-up, dance classes, sports teams, graduation, college, marriage.

I don’t have a multi-million dollar sports franchise or company. What I have, what I have been given, is a grandchild. After Victoria and I met for the first time, I walked out of my daughter’s house and took a ride to seven-eleven, had a cup of coffee……..and I cried like a baby. We had won the Superbowl. She is so beautiful and we are all so fortunate.

On September 26, 1992, the day Kaitlyn was diagnosed, the reality I am now in was beyond anything I could ever think of coming to pass; Victoria Lynn. The way Kaitlyn has lived her life with no boundaries. Taking any set back and saying, “Okay, that’s now, that’s not tomorrow.” And how she taught us when she said in an interview at age nine, “…..oh no…..I have diabetes, diabetes IS NOT who I am.” And she has lived that every day of her life. Good times, bad times, set backs, successes, becoming a wife, becoming a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner, and now becoming a mom.

When she was diagnosed, we took it on. At a point we gave it back to her and stayed in full view. Now we just stay observe, enjoy, smile. We smile a lot. She married a man who has taken it on. A very good man. Together they will succeed. A long way since we said, “How will we get through today?” We found our answer, one step at a time. One. Step. At. A. Time.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Town Hall Meeting–Back to School in a COVD-19 World

I’m so excited to share this with you. This is not a meeting on wearing masks or not wearing masks; it is not about whether you should home school your child or not; it is about knowing that different states, as well as school districts, have different protocols. It’s about working within the guidelines of what is available and where to go for help. And one of the things I am most proud of, with this town hall meeting (made up of panelists who are true professionals who care so much), is we will include the psyche-social aspect; the anxiety, the signs, what to look for, what steps to take, in this crucial part of your child’s care as they head back to school.

If you read my columns, you have heard me speak of the late and wonderful Dr. Richard Rubin…….a leader that taught me that the psyche-social aspect is as important as the managements tools our child uses in their world of diabetes. As we were planning this, his voice was loud and clear in my head that we needed to include this at this meeting.
Here is the link for you to register.
 https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_LAqTVCjLSOOpvInrodqGlg

Part 2:

At CWD Friends for Life, this year, we revealed this shirt and the feedback was immediate and wonderful. The hope for a cannot stop and cannot be quarantined. How would you like one for free? Your best way is to join the DRIF Host Committee for our Back To School Town Hall meeting. To find out further details, just email me at tomkarlya@drif.org and in the subject line write ‘I want to be on the Host Committee’ and I will send you details.

Share this with others. The cost is free and the information extremely valuable.

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