Thursday, November 2, 2017

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month



November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.  Ironically, the month long salute to the need for healthcare improvements and ultimately, a cure for T1D, culminates with a blue-ribbon wearing explosion on November 14th.  The irony for a mama of two with T1D, is that special day, happens to also be my birthday. 

Weird, right?

Since 2006, my BIG birthday wish has remained unchanged.  Each and every year, when I blow out the candles, I take a moment to think long and hard about what I hope to have come true.  In the early years, I wished for nothing more than a cure.  However, over time, I have adapted my desire to include things like:

"More acceptance"

"Less burden of care"

"No limitations"

"Long and healthy life"


This year, eleven years post dx, my wish has evolved to include perhaps the most simple desire of all. 

"Happiness"

As I skim through the many T1D sharing sites, the news of November is National Diabetes Month is riddled with with hurt, fear and sadness.  While the reality is that in order to receive more funding for pediatric and adult research, often the news must reflect a call to action that shares the worst parts of living with an incurable disease,  this 'bad news stream' also damages the patient's ability to positively cope with the care required UNTIL there is a cure. 

For all of us, I want to remind the world of the many gifts that we can also celebrate while living with T1D.


  • Success in developing and creating insulin in 1922 thanks to Dr. Banting.  
  • Producing the first chemically synthesized insulin in 1963 thanks to Dr. Sanger.
  • Improving injection therapy to include the first insulin pen in 1985 thanks to Novo Nordisk.
  • Releasing the first insulin pump in 1992 thanks to Medtronic.
  • Performing the first islet cell transplant surgery in 2000.
  • Creating the closed loop pancreas project thanks to the University of Cambridge in 2013.  
  • Developing the iLet thanks to Dr. Ed Damiano in 2015.  
  • 2017 Medtronic's release of the next generation insulin pump and beyond..... the sky is the limit!  

These reminders of advancements in care might bring happiness and a reminder of why we also celebrate November is National Diabetes Month.  While we need to continually push to receive the funding necessary to find better improvements and ultimately, a cure, we also must take time to review where we once were and how much better our lives with T1D have become. 

Happiness isn't saying that we accept T1D as our fate forever, but it is the key to unlocking the positively of living life - no matter what - as fully and completely as we can. 

And with T1D, accepting happiness is almost as good as insulin. 


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Family Diabetes Camp


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Attention Families and Friends from Michigan and those willing to travel.....

Many of the parents that I speak with often are hesitant when it comes to making the leap to try T1D camp.  While our family personally adores everything about camp (it's magic I tell you!!!), I do understand the initial apprehension.  Those first few months are often overwhelming with just managing the challenges of living with T1D day to day  (or even hour to hour for those ping-pong days).  Adding in a camp experience can feel insurmountable.  How do you send a child to an overnight experience when you are still learning?  

It can be done!  We are proof of that.  And so are many, many other happy campers.  Yes, I think it is OK to be cheesy with camp slogans because, well, it is just the magic of camp.  Big kids and little kids LOVE it. 

My friends at the ADA have come up with a wonderful solution.  To help parents and kids ease into the transition of attending camp, they have developed a program for families to experience overnight camp together.  

This is also a wonderful time to reunite with summer campers and to recreate some of the fun memories that were had the previous year.  And because this is for families, parents can meet other caregivers of T1D and share in the camaraderie of walking the same path in life.  I have also been reassured that there are sessions that will be kids only and others that are parent only, so while you are having fun together as a family, you won't feel like you are on top of one another.  It's the best of both!

Lastly, camp recognized that many of the graduated campers wanted just one more time together in having fun.  To make this happen, the ADA created a special Young Adult Retreat.  Parents are not necessary for this age group.  Instead, the young adults (a mix of new, first time campers and alumni ages 18-25) can meet up for a weekend of bonding and silly shenanigans.  There will also be new information on technology, living your best life with T1D and more!  

Details are below.  Enjoy!




Registration is now OPEN!
CAMP MIDICHA WINTER FAMILY/YOUNG ADULT RETREAT
February 9-11, 2018

This overnight family retreat offers a family bonding experience while celebrating and learning more about your child’s diabetes. Physicians will be there to speak and educate parents about upcoming diabetes trends as well as overall diabetes wellness. Children will be able to enjoy all sorts of winter activities while staying at the YMCA’s Camp Copneconic. Cost per person is $75 this includes all food, lodging, education and fun activities. Children ages 5-17 only. Check in will be at 7 pm Friday, February 9 and check-out will be at 11 am Sunday, February 11, 2018.

NEW THIS YEAR! YOUNG ADULT RETREAT AGES 18 TO 25!
Camp alumni and young adults, ages 18-25 with diabetes, are welcome to join us that same weekend for the “Young Adult Retreat,” for fun activities, ice breakers, meet-and-greet opportunities with doctors, and more! Check in will be at 7 pm Friday, February 9 and check-out will be at 11 am Sunday, February 11, 2018. Cost per person is $75 this includes all food, lodging, education and fun activities.

Register for either retreat with the link below!

For any questions on either retreat please feel free to contact:
Krista Lang
Camp Manager

300 Galleria Officentre, Suite 111
Southfield, MI  48034
diabetes.org
1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383)

Acceptance

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Not long ago, as my daughter and I were picking up some random groceries for the ever-empty-teenagers-eat-everything pantry, my cell phone suddenly shrilled the loud, needy and attention demanding BEEP of blood sugar rising.  My youngest daughter, not immune to the sound, looked towards me annoyed but dutifully began pulling out her pump to add insulin. 

((And yes, she did this without first checking on a meter, something that perhaps could be considered outside of protocol - because at this stage of 'teenager', my battle isn't with perfection, it is with just taking action.)) 

As she swiftly adjusted her insulin dose, my eyes locked onto a little kid about four years of age, standing just a few feet away.  Holding my breath, I wondered how this little person staring would affect her mood and future resistence to feeling like she wasn't always fitting in.  Staring can do that, especially when it happens frequently, and to a young person that may or may not always feel 100% confident.  In this exact moment, there was no escaping the laser locked focus of someone clearly witnessing something they had never before witnessed.

Side-note: Zoo animals have nothing on us. I get you Mama Giraffe.

Enraptured by my daughter's cool electronic device, he softly whispered "Wowwwww" and stared as she pushed buttons, making her pump whistle the delivery of insulin and shrill another beep once complete.  His mom intently reading labels was either immune to what was happening or delicately trying not to also stare. 

The little boy, unable to no longer keep his excitement quiet, pointed and said, "What is that?"

"My insulin pump.  It gives me medicine."

The little boy solemnly nodded his head and said, "That's cool". 

Watching the interaction with amusement, I am certain that the words insulin pump although meaningless, intuitively felt significant.  Clearly he understood the universal medicine. 

He then asked, "Do you feel better?"

My daughter smiled and said, "I do feel better." 

Her reassurance in feeling better satisfied any further questions and a moment later, he shared "I have this", and holding out his hand, he unveiled a very sticky, wet piece of what we call ABC gum - already been chewed. 

Despite it's clearly unhygienic display, my daughter made no show of disdain and simply replied, "That's cool." 

A moment later and each waved a friendly good-bye, parting ways and probably forgetting the entire exchange of curiosity.

Later, sharing the story with my husband, he offered an interesting thought. 

In a world of 'differences', wouldn't it be nice if we all just accepted with a 'that's cool?' and then moved on?