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’.


The White House in Blue……Want to Help Make it Happen?

White house blueAccording to biblical stories Thomas was the doubting apostle.  This has truly followed me my entire life.  Many times it serves me well, many time it gets me thinking.  But when/if/should my mind ever get changed on something, and I believe in it—-it consumes me.  

Such was the case last night and I blame Manny Hernandez and the small think-tank group for me not sleeping last night due to an idea that was shared at a dinner with a bunch of DOC writers and activists sponsored by Johnson and Johnson.

“Let’s light up the White House in Blue this November 14th for World Diabetes Day.  Let’s make it a mission to get that done,”  

DOUBTING THOMAS: To what end?  What would it prove?

As I spoke to people, one person said It would never happen anyway, the White House would never go for it………….and that got me thinking.  

That is OUR White House.

And now I not only think it is a great and fabulous idea…….I am asking your help and feedback.   There will be a committee formed to formulate a plan so do not do anything just yet,  we will keep you informed.  

BUT IMAGINE.  The White House lit up in Blue for International DIabetes Day  this November 14th.  But we have some work to do.

According to the IDF website:
The 2013 campaign will look to inspire and engage local communities to promote and disseminate simple education and prevention messages and organise activities to strengthen recognition among the public that diabetes is a global health threat with serious and far-reaching consequences that affect us all. From the local to the global level, the campaign will also reinforce the importance that a multitude of small and simple actions can make to achieving meaningful outcomes for people with diabetes and those at risk.

NOTICE THIS PART: …….”will also reinforce the importance that a multitude of small and simple actions can make to achieving meaningful outcomes for people with diabetes……”

Well that’s us.  Imagine if we could also hang the hundreds of Children With Diabetes Quilts on Pennsylvania Avenue with a group of people standing with the President as he flips the switch to Blue lighting the White House for just one night designating and reinforcing everything stated above.

“Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true”
That sky will start over the White House.  WITH YOUR HELP. 

We are going to need to rally people, LOTS OF PEOPLE, to make this happen.   If you think this is a cool idea…….share this post but more importantly; give comment that you are ready and willing to make a call or write a letter to make it happen.  We want to do this in manner that can be very powerful.  I have always touted to just “Don’t do Nothing”—as individuals this will be easy to spread the word……as a group…..well we all scream for better awareness……..Are YOU IN?

Doubting Thomas, no more.

Please add your reply to here so ALL can read as oppose to posting just on the FB page where you read this….we need to know what you think….so please reply and also share.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

Dads????? NO EXCUSES! Are you Involved with Your Child’s Diabetes?????

Assume nothingThere are some exceptions but it truly does seem that when it comes to diabetes management of our children…….where are the dads?

I read a post recently that a mom was anxious and excited as she was planning a trip and had a year to train her husband……..Seriously?

Is that the truth? 

Moms, do you wish that your husbands did more in the management of diabetes in your household or is everything in a perfect balance?   Or is everything in some balance?
Or there is no balance whatsoever?

Diabetes does not go away when mom is not around and that includes divorce.  I was speaking to a dad last week who has a child with diabetes and is now divorced.  He informed me that he really leaves up to his son when it comes to caring for diabetes when he stays with him every other weekend.  His son is 10.

I thought that if there was a problem he would have no problem calling the boy’s mother, right?  Wrong.  He stated that he wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of thinking he needed help. 

So it is probably okay to let the 10-year-old handle it himself??????…..WOW! (My guess; mom already took care of it by supplying her son with a cell phone—-but that still is not good enough)

Second conversation that prompted me to write this article today.  Talking to another man who told me that “I work” and it’s up to his wife to handle “the diabetes”.  When I asked how long ago they discussed that plan, he informed me that it is just the way it is and no conversation took place.   Honestly, I would love to hear mom’s take on that decision.

Everybody has to work out how this dynamic is handled.  I am in NO MEANS judging what works and what does not work but there must me an open line of communication.  Nothing should be assumed, that is when the trouble starts.

Diabetes is hard enough on any family and if there are two parents, there has to be some discussion on who is doing what.  Like I stated, even if divorced.  There is no reason that a ten-year-old young man must be left to his own resources.

So if there is tension over this point whether married or divorced; print his column out and leave it somewhere where your spouse can see it and write the words “can we discuss?”
across the top.

Diabetes is tough and no one should be felt that they must ‘go it alone’.  And if parents do not have ‘it together’ and  think their child with diabetes does not notice; you are seriously mistaken.

The strength in dealing with diabetes is to have as solid a foundation as possible, do not try to build on one with cracks created by lack of communication……..the building will, eventual and unfortunately, fall.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

Nothing Stronger….a Proud Night!

Rob graduationI sat back on my chair at the restaurant.  It was a celebration.  It was the graduation from high school for our youngest, Rob.  A magical day and night.

Families wish for what I was in the middle of experienceing, it is surely my hope that their wish gets granted.  As in the Jimmy Stewart Christmas movie, it almost gets by us sometimes with out us realizing.

As I leaned back in my chair I observed and enjoyed; our family.

My kids have always been there for each other.  They support each other and they pretty much know everything about each other.  Even while growing up, I remember them doing things like all sleeping in the same room waiting for Christmas morning and now as adults they call each other to just find out what’s going on.

As I watched our banter around the table (nothing is off-limits and it gets to be a good deal of fun) I was reminded that the best thing we have is each other.  And they were all right in front of me; our three kids and our soon-to-be fourth child; when TJ marries Joelle in October.  Family defined.

The support is based on many things; romances, problems, and yes even when it comes to diabetes (and having two kids with T1–that is A LOT of support) they know how to support each other.  They each have a wonderful sense of humor, they give back to the community, and they excel in the work that they do. Perfect? No, but a perfect fit as a family, our family.

While we were in our seats at the graduation ceremony Kaitlyn text me that she wanted to get a better photo of Rob walking in and to hold her a seat…….”…..do you guys need a water?….”  was how the text ended.   Now that may seem like a little thing to most but it is those little things that let us know the big things will be taken care of.

We surely were all so proud watching our son and brother enjoy his festivities, his friends, and his accomplishments during his graduation.  And I was given the fabulous opportunity to once again realize just how lucky I am.

It is indeed a Wonderful Life.

I am a diabetesdad.

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

Someone is Sitting, Alone in Their Room; Thinking. DO NOT FORGET Them.

brother and sisterWhat do the siblings think?

Do they hurt for their brother or sister?  Do they care?  Do they not deal with the diagnosis of diabetes? 

We make so much of what happens in when a child is diagnosed.  It changes our lives.  It turns a household upside down.  But alone, in the corner of their room; the brother and/or sister is sitting on their bed taking it all in.

What are they thinking?

It does not matter if they are age six or twenty-six; their lives have just been changed.  They sit on their bed, they look around the room.  Perhaps they sigh.  They think.

It becomes lonely I’m sure, a bit scary too.

For the first few days there is much activity, there are a zillion phone calls coming and going; being carted away to babysitters, babysitters arriving; or a grand parent coming to help out……and of course, there is just that room.  Even harder still, if the room is shared with the one going through the diagnosis.

The silence at night is deafening to the brother and sister who try to figure it all out.

Can you feel this?   They may still be experiencing it years after diagnosis; make sure you include them.  Make sure you give them the extra bit of attention they may need; even today.

Because it’s lonely in their room, still.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

School Horror Story…….How Did YOU Build a Good Relationship? Please Share!

schools outI was reading a story yesterday and it seems to be that there is always much going on surrounding schools…..ever notice that point?   Certainly understandable when you consider the amount of time our kids spend in school.

When it comes to diabetes, for the most part, these posts are not good.  I have often stated that friction vs. friction will only get you heat; and for the most part that is true.  Parents have been in discussions and used phrases like “…..you need to do what I am asking, I PAY YOUR SALARY….”  yeah, that’s probably a phrase that should be avoided at all costs.

Frustration, anger, and misunderstandings have, since diagnosis, given some families real ‘agita’.

Over the years there are some stories that stand out; and not all bad believe it or not.  Here are just a few:
The assistant principal that told the child a cell phone was not allowed in school and when told it was an insulin pump, did not believe the child, reached down and pulled it off.

The child who came home from school and told her parents that her school nurse wanted to work out a way to wear an insulin pump for a few days so she understood what it was like (it was arranged with saline).

The school calling home to inform the parents about an upcoming-few-days-away trip at a theme park and asked the parents to come to the school and explain to everyone going on the trip (kids included) about diabetes and about various warning signs so the whole class would have ‘the child’s back’.

The elementary school teacher that called home and said, “There is a child’s birthday party here tomorrow, you probably should keep your child (with diabetes) home.”

FLIP-SIDE The elementary school teacher that called home and said “There is a child’s birthday party here in school tomorrow and it is the first one since your child was diagnosed with diabetes, what can or should I do.  Teach me.”

There are always good and bad to so many situations in schools.  My son graduates high school this month.  Both my kids with diabetes truly could not have been in a better school district when it came to their diabetes.

It breaks my heart when I read the horror stories.  I would love to hear from those that had good relationships.  Please share why you think it was a good relationship; how did you build that to a ‘good place’.   I’m sure others could learn and would want to learn….so kindly share.

This could help people to start working for next year’s academic year; but for this year it will soon be……school’s out!

I am a diabetes dad.

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