Thursday, June 3, 2010


I am very happy to report that I am finally done with school (& I actually managed to graduate with honors)! Graduation was May 15 and it felt great. The best part was that my girls, my husband, my parents and my nephews were there to share in the day with me! I'll be teaching full time this fall and can't wait to begin this new journey. I have to say a special thank you to my Nikki Mouse. The day of my graduation happened to fall on the same day as one of her chorus competitions. She was adament that I 'walk' instead of skipping it and going to her competition. She repeatedly said "mom, I've got a lot more competitions and you only get one graduation!" what a wonderful, sweet young lady (yes I'm biased....but still). Another very cool thing about these last couple of weeks is that my nephew (who is more like our son) Cody is graduating from high school - it was a blast to be able to take 'graduation' pictures with him....... AND he is graduating from my high school alma mater.

God is Good...All the Time

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Twenhofel Middle School & JDRF

At the beginning of this school year, Nikki's homeroom teacher sent out an e-mail to parents to get some ideas on community service projects. I, of course, tossed back a quick reply that JDRF would be a great project. Not much more was said until a few months ago. That's when Nikki's teacher contacted me once again to say that she had chosen JDRF as the school's community service project and would I be willing to help out (YES!!). We were excited to say the least. I've spoken before about how great this middle school, but they stepped it up even more for this walk. We decided to make the fundraising time period last about 2 weeks - we kicked it off with this video (click and watch it if you can, it's a good one!) then the middle school kids were off and running. They raised about $3,000! I want to send a special thank you to Sharon Cross and Cheryl Jones for their willingness to bring T1 awareness to TMS and for their enthusiam and love for the kids; you rock!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bret Michaels


It was a great win for diabetes on Sunday night as Bret Michaels, lead singer for the rock band Poison and reality TV star, was crowned the latest Celebrity Apprentice winner after struggling with several medical scares in the past month. Just as impressive is that throughout the season, Michaels' various wins raised more than $390,000 for the American Diabetes Association, including the final challenge prize from Snapple, worth $250,000. The 47-year old Michaels has lived with type 1 diabetes since he was six years old.

Throughout the season, Michaels shone in the competition and consistently impressed the host and creator of the show, Donald Trump. He joined the cast of the third season of Celebrity Apprentice known as a rock and roll badboy and the star of Rock of Love, a VH1 dating show. In joining Celebrity Apprentice, he wanted to raise money for diabetes and, as he told Entertainment Weekly, "show people that you don't just get lucky, especially in the music business for 20 years. I wanted Trump to see that I could win by really working hard and being creative."

And boy, did he show Trump, and the world, how hard he can work. To say that the season was a struggle for Michaels is an understatement. First, he was dealing with a grueling schedule, much tougher than being on tour, with 4:45 AM wake-up calls and workdays that lasted until 1:00 AM, only to start over again the next morning. Combining this with controlling his diabetes was a challenge, to say the least. Several times throughout the show, we could see Michaels struggling with his sugar levels, his energy, and his spirit, yet he always came out doing a great job and impressing Trump.

In the middle of the season, Michaels learned that his daughter Raine may also have type 1 diabetes, and he had to go through the emotions of that revelation on camera. But then, another great challenge began. In April, he underwent an emergency appendectomy while on tour in San Antonio. Soon afterward, he suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage, or bleeding at the base of the skull. This was followed by a stroke. The latest discovery came just last week, when he learned that he has a hole in his heart. He will undergo surgery to repair the hole in the fall, once his body is free of all of the drugs, including blood thinners, that he is taking for his three other health problems. Doctors believe that none of these medical difficulties is related to each other or to his diabetes.

Despite all of his recent scares, Michaels is in great spirits. He even performed on the finale of American Idol, and he is continuing to raise awareness and money for diabetes. To ride the wave of his Celebrity Apprentice win, he has partnered with, where you can purchase a special edition bandanna similar to those he wears. Net proceeds from the sale of the bandannas will help support the American Diabetes Association. It's just another step in Michaels' heroic journey to combat the disease he has lived with most of his life

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Willy Wonka

OKAY, I am like months behind on my blogging - but once again, things have been crazy busy. Last month Nikki performed in her middle school's performance of Willy Wonka Jr. It was a great show - and Nikki had the time of her life. I hope you enjoy some of the sites and sounds from the show in this video!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Michael Hunter

We spent today visiting family about an hour and a half from our home. Nikki had a low while we were there, 56, and got quite dizzy, faint and unfocused. After the incident was over, I was silently brooding over how much I hate type 1. Shortly after this we arrived at my parents’ home; my niece Brittany, who also has T1, her son and my youngest nephew Michael were there as well. Michael, who is 9 years old, immediately, began talking to Amber & Nikki in the kitchen – I figured he was trying to convince them of something, and with Michael you’re never sure what that may be :-D. I moved closer to investigate. He turned to me and asked “Chi Chi would you like to give a dollar to help me cure diabetes?”

Well, needless to say I was touched and listened as he told me all about the fundraiser he’s doing at his school. I called him on my way home to ask him why he decided to do this fundraiser; he doesn’t usually participate in school fundraising projects as a rule. He told me simply “I wanted to help Nikki and Brittany”. I also asked him if someone else convinced him to raise money or is this something he wanted to do on his own. He told me that no one made him; he just wanted to help his sister and his cousin. (In case I've lost you: my daughter Nikki is his cousin, and my niece Brittany is his big sister. Brittany and Michael are pictured above holding his fundraising envelope.)

Of course I knew no one made him, I just wanted him to put his reasons for raising money into his own words. I couldn’t be prouder. Michael doesn’t even know that his efforts tonight, and his simple question “would you like to help me cure diabetes”, made a huge difference in how down I was feeling about T1 at that moment. Hope comes in all shapes, sizes and moments. Tonight it came in the form of Michael Hunter.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Sugarless Plum

I'm sure I have mentioned, about a thousand times, that Nikki is dancer. One of her idols is prima ballerina Zippora Karz. I just realized that Zippora has published a book detailing her life; including her misdiagnosis of type 2, when she really had type 1. I thought the following article on the book was interesting. I'll be picking up a copy for us this weekend. Happy reading!!

From a young age, Zippora Karz desired to achieve her dream of becoming a ballerina. By the time Karz had reached the age of 20, she had attained professional status and had obtained work with the New York City Ballet.

The Sugarless Plum: A Ballerina’s Triumph Over Diabetes is a debut memoir written by Zippora Karz, a former soloist ballerina of the New York City Ballet, best known for the high praises she received as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. From 1983 through 1999 Karz performed with the New York City Ballet.

Karz simply and honestly tells of her struggle and anguish as a competitive athlete. As she worked her way within the ballet company’s echelon, she examines her fears, and anxieties, as well as her ambitions, both professionally and personally. All are set forth from a genuine self-reflection of her experiences. Thinking that her hard work and aspirations had merely resulted in exhaustion, she continued to overlook her symptoms. Karz goes on to find out that she has Type 2 Diabetes.

She speaks of her challenges to modify her diet, as well as maintain medication compliance. Karz battles to eradicate herself of the disease, knowing the life-threatening complications that can befall her. However, to her surprise, she goes on to find that she was erroneously diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and had in fact had Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes would mean that she would require daily insulin injections for life.

Her struggles, particularly for an athlete or dancer, certainly serve as an inspiration to never give up your dream. Karz’s memoir contains photos of her three generations of dancers, her grandmother, her mother, and herself. How she managed her medical condition as well as continued to press forward and pursue her career, is quite motivational. The back of the book contains a list of several resources Karz found helpful (N.Y Book Cafe).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Look Who's On The Cover!

The yearly diabetes camp brochure arrived today and much to our surprise, and excitement, Nikki and Mikayla are on the cover!! The girls are so happy and the parents more than a little proud.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dogs 4 Diabetics

Using dogs to detect changes in blood sugar levels is something that is fairly new. As of today, there is no proven scientific evidence that dogs can detect lows or highs. However, I think it's a subject worth following. Nikki is hoping that a chapter opens up near us - because I guess having FOUR dogs isn't enough (:-D).

Dogs4Diabetics, Inc. began almost seven years ago, when its founder began researching the possibility of training dogs to detect diabetes-related hypoglycemia and physically alert the diabetic to the impending hypoglycemia.

In October 2003, a dog named Armstrong was obtained from Guide Dogs for the Blind and his scent and alert training was started. Armstrong enjoyed his new job and was soon alerting on diabetic-related hypoglycemia.

In October 2004, Dogs For Diabetics, Inc. was formally incorporated in the State of California and applied for nonprofit status. The IRS granted 501(c) nonprofit status in early 2005.

Today, our dogs are obtained primarily from Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California and retrained for diabetic alert work. We have also obtained dogs from Canine Companions for Independence, Tony LaRussa's Animal Rescue Foundation, Genesis Services of Boise, Idaho, and through private donations.

When we receive our dogs for diabetic alert training, they've already been professionally trained and socialized as assistance dogs from the time they are eight weeks old. D4D dogs reside in local foster care homes while being trained. Foster care providers bring the dogs to Dogs4Diabetics each day for training. In the evening, foster care providers socialize the dogs in their local community. Read some frequently asked questions to find out more about Dogs4Diabetics.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Heart of a Champion

Nikki and I read this Sports Illlustrated article with tears in our eyes. Not because we felt let down, in any way, but because we understand ..... Nikki more than me ...... how diabetes can gut punch you when you least expect it. We do want Kris to know that he is already a champion, and it has nothing to do with skiing. Whether he comes home with a medal does not matter; his heart, strength and determination is what makes him an inspiration to T1's - and their families. It's not possible for us to feel anything but pride and admiration for him. Following is the article:

WHISTLER, British Columbia -- From a spectator's view, everything seemed to be going according to plan for U.S. cross-country skier Kris Freeman during the 30 km pursuit on Saturday. A third of the way through the race, he was tucked into the single-file line of about 20 competitors who had broken away from the rest of the pack, just 11 seconds back from the leader.

But when the pack came through Whistler Olympic Park stadium at the halfway point of the race -- where skiiers make a pit stop to change from classic to freestyle -- there was no Kris Freeman in the top 20. Nor in the top 30, or even the top 40.

America's lone hope for a cross-country medal in men's cross country -- Bill Koch's 1976 silver is the only one in U.S. history -- and the only acknowledged Type I diabetic endurance athlete in Olympic history was the victim of a sugar crash. In the span of about three minutes, the 29-year-old Freeman went from cruising smoothly among the world's best to lying down in the snow near the 12 km mark, begging the crowd for some sugar.

"I got a twinge that something was wrong, and then a few minutes later I came to a standstill and went to the side of the trail," Freeman says. "No one was coming to help me, because my coaches weren¹t around, and people think I just dropped out of the race, so they wanted to leave me alone."

But Freeman started yelling to the crowd, asking for sugar. A German coach who heard him prodded some spectators to go through their bags, and pretty soon, Freeman has a Powerade and one of the goo packets that endurance athletes use to keep their energy stores up. It was enough sugar to get Freeman up and skiing, and "at that point I was pissed off," Freeman says, "so the last thing I wanted to do was go mope, so I finished the race." A crestfallen Freeman finished in 45th place, nearly eight minutes from the leader.

"Right now, I'm trying to live by the same things I say when I go to summer camps [for diabetic kids]," Freeman says, "which is, 'Don't get angry at yourself when you mess up, move on.' I gotta say at the moment, though, that¹s pretty hard."

Part of the trouble with being the only Type I diabetic Olympic endurance athlete is that you literally are writing a chapter of the sports-medicine book every time out.

Freeman first got the diagnosis during a routine blood test shortly after he began training with the U.S. Ski Team in 2000. The first doctor Freeman spoke with told him that he could continue to ski but that his career at the elite level was over. Freeman says he "wasn't interested at all in skiing at a level below what I was aspiring to."

Three opinions later Freeman found Larry Gaul, a doctor willing to work with him, and now a doctor with the U.S. Skiing's Nordic team. Freeman had to learn quickly which conditions would cause his blood sugar to fluctuate.

"If I get nervous before a race, the adrenaline triggers the release of sugar into my bloodstream," Freeman says. So, for example, he has shelved pounding pre-race pump music in favor of more placid tunes.

About a year-and-a-half ago, Freeman was granted a new measure of control by a pump called an OmniPod that attaches to his arm or chest and can be programmed to automatically deliver small doses of insulin through a needle in his skin.

In conjunction with Dr. Gaul, Freeman has become very adept at taking food and drink during races and at programming the OmniPod appropriately to get him through a race. But he has had time for much more trial-and-error in 15 km races than in 30 km races, where he had the trouble last week. "Obviously, I was on too high of an insulin dose during the race," Freeman says.

In the 15 km at the 2009 world championships, Freeman finished fourth, just 1.3 seconds off the podium. The better he has become, the more he has had to experiment with insulin doses. "I've been pushing the limits more and more because I'm not satisfied with finishing in the 20s," he says. "I can let my blood sugar run a little high and finish in the 20s. But I need perfect spot on control when I'm in the top 10 and top 5; and the smaller target you aim for, the more you miss."

Freeman has one more shot, the 50 km mass start on the last day of the Games to, as he puts it, "show I can ski. I want to show the U.S. Ski Team how I can ski, I want to show the country how I can ski, and more than anything, I want to show the diabetes community what¹s possible. I really did not want to have a blood-sugar episode on the biggest stage. I wanted this to be 'You can do anything with this disease' -- and I still totally believe that -- but there are setbacks along the way. I got one more chance."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Nikki tried out for the middle school musical, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, this year. She was very nervous during try outs, but more so waiting to find out if she got a part. She had to sing a solo, do a monologue (she chose a scene from Lord of the Rings) and then do an improvisation. A few days later she came running in the door from school shouting "MOM, I'M A SQUIRREL!!!". Of course, I didn't immediately understand; but it turns out that in the new Johnny Depp version of the story (which I have now seen and love) there is a scene where a room full of squirrels test Veruca Salt to see if she is a "bad nut". Click HERE to see a bit of it.

Anyway, Nikki is also playing the part of an Oompa Loompa and a Candy Kid. The musical will be Easter weekend and I'm really looking forward to it. The director is a wonderful lady; she also directed Amber in Beauty and the Beast & Cinderella when she was at the same school (Sherry you rock). Amber is a little homesick for her musical days with Mrs. Clark as she watches how much fun Nikki is having; but she's also very excited for little sister. You can bet that there will be plenty of pictures for me to force everyone to look at :-D.

I can't help but smile a bit that my T1 will be playing a candy kid.....but then again, she is extra sweet.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NO LIMITS! Diabetes be Damned!

It's Olympic time! Our favorite Olympian, Kris Freeman, is competing as the FIRST EVER Type 1 endurance sport athlete! Check out THIS LINK to see Kris' interview on The Today Show. Nikki and Kris met a couple summers ago at Camp Korelitz. This is a camp for kids with diabetes. He has had a big impact on her life. Whether he wins gold or not - he will ALWAYS be our champion!

Here is the article that was featured in Outside magazine.

The U.S. squad heads into Vancouver this February 12 stacked with veterans, including Kris Freeman. They've all got something to prove, but none more than Freeman, who plans to break our 30-year cross-country medal drought—diabetes be damned.

By Sam Moulton

Kris Freeman
Photograph by Marc Hom

A BIZARRE THING can happen when you repeat an unnatural motion, like skate-skiing, as intensely as Kris Freeman does. Your muscles literally grow too big. It's called compartment syndrome. In the ten-time cross-country-skiing national champion's case, this happened with his monstrous calves, and the pain was excruciating. "The pressure in my legs was well over twice what it should have been," he says.

But for Freeman, 29, the episode before the 2009 world championships was a hiccup compared with his Type 1 diabetes. So he decided to compete anyway, which made his fourth-place finish in the 15K Classic even more impressive. Especially when you consider that no American skier has won a world-championship medal or any Olympic hardware in cross-country in more than 30 years.

Freeman's diabetes, however, is harder to play through. The disease requires him to be hypervigilant about everything from his caloric intake to the playlists on his iPod. "If I get too fired up before a race," he explains, "I leak adrenaline, which will raise my blood sugar. So instead of listening to 'Welcome to the Jungle,' I might have to listen to 'Patience.' "

It's an apt choice. Vancouver will be Freeman's third Games. And while he was touted as a contender in Turin, there's reason to believe this is his year. Actually, there are several: At 29, he's in his prime. He's healed from surgery he had last year to fix his calves and has a new insulin pump, with no tubes exposed.

Then there's what is essentially a home-field advantage. "We've been training [in Vancouver] since the trails were built," says Freeman. "We know the courses backward and forward."

The one thing he hasn't been doing? Attracting attention. "I've been living in Thornton, New Hampshire, for about a year and a half, and I think some of my neighbors might know that I'm a ski racer now."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Mouse!

Exactly 12 years ago today (at 1:19 pm to be precise) I gave birth to the sweetest little blonde baby girl - Nikki Marie! I can't believe so much time has gone by. I also can't believe how much she's already experienced in her short 12 years & how she handles everything with absolute grace!

We are snowed in, so we won't be going to a movie and dinner; we'll have to do that once we dig out or the snow melts. However, her party was this past Sunday (Valetine's Day) at Lazer Kraze. She had a great time and spent the day with amazing friends!

Alexis was able to join Nikki for her party and that was very special. It also gave Bryan and I some extra time with Troy & Andrea (Alexis' mom & dad) who we love dearly. In case I'm losing you: Alexis was diagnosed about 3 weeks ago with T1. Troy is one of my husband's closest friends and, as it happens, our family doctor. He's also the one who diagnosed my Nikki almost 7 years ago.

It was a great party for many different reasons!

However, the party didn't end at Lazer Kraze, we continued it at our house: sleepover! Nikki's only gift request this year was The Beatles' Rock Band. Yep, she's a Beatles' fan! I find that hysterical, but no complaining because its music I can actually enjoy with her!

We will add this birthday to our list of blessings! Happy Birthday Miss Mouse - you make us so very proud!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Then There Were FOUR

Many of you know that we lost our beloved dog Buddy about 4 months ago. His death was VERY unexpected and hit us hard. Its been hardest on Amber. We adopted Hope, our Jack Russell mix, 3 months ago and she is such a little joy – and boy does she give our Border Collie, Angel, a run for her money.

If you’re counting, that means that we still have 3 dogs. About a week ago, a friend of mine (who works for SAAP) wanted me to stop by her house and see some new puppies she was fostering; and meet her new Lab, Andy. SAAP rescued approximately 48 dogs from a high kill shelter in Kentucky and she was fostering 2 of the puppies. The first one came out and she was just adorable – a little white and tan Lab/Beagle mix. THEN the second one came out – and I about died. This little guy was/is the spit-n-image of our Buddy; down to the unique markings on his back and chest.

SOOOOOO… probably already figured it out….we now have FOUR dogs. We named Buddy’s clone Chance and he acts as if he’s always been here. All 4 dogs get along wonderfully. To make this story perfect, Chance’s sister has found her forever home as well.

Check out these pictures of our furry family members – past and present.

GOD is Good, All The Time!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dancing Breds!

One of the really cool things that has happened for Nikki over the winter is dance team. She tried out for and made the middle school dance team right around Christmas. She has had a blast! The team is quite good (and yes I’m biased, but they are). A few weekends ago they competed in Regionals – the first time her middle school has EVER competed. They came in second, but the best part of the day was the extra award the team received. Over all the middle schools and high schools competing, they were given the Most Spirit Award! Check out some of the pictures from the season as well as the video from competition! I have to end by saying that Nikki has been blessed once again by having another great adult leading her; her coach is amazing!

Click HERE to watch the video :-D.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Grace of GOD

My stepdaughter, Briana, was in a pretty bad car wreck yesterday. It’s a pure miracle that she wasn’t hurt. She hit an icy/slushy spot in the road and lost control of her vehicle, it flipped around 4 times before coming to rest upside down. After dislodging herself (she was also upside down, dangling by the seat belt) she managed to crawl out through the windshield. She then climbed an embankment and flagged down help. She was taken to the hospital and …… no broken bones or serious injuries. Of course, she was terrified and is sore all over, but what a blessing that she wasn’t hurt. Briana, we love you!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

We Know HE Has Been Here

I was thinking about blessings today and how about how many of them GOD has placed upon our lives. Like I said in my last blog, our close friends just found out that their 10 year old daughter has T1 – and Dad/Dr. Troy diagnosed his own child. Troy is also the one that diagnosed our Nikki almost 7 years ago. Nikki went to visit Alexis (her friend and newly diagnosed T1) today and took her Rufus, The Diabetes Bear and some other things. It made Nikki feel good to reach out to someone the way people reached out to her when she was diagnosed.

Which brings me back to blessings; rather, blessings in disguise. Nikki is getting ready to celebrate her 12th birthday (yikes). We are planning a medium sized party, with plenty of giggling girls and rowdy boys. 4 of the girls, some of which are her inner circle of friends, have T1. I wonder what the odds are of that. Aside from her friends, Nikki has 2 cousins with T1 and 2 dance teacher/friends with T1. I look at how GOD brought all these people into our lives and it humbles me beyond words.

We live in a teeny tiny town. The only way we get the intimate diabetes support in our daily lives is through the hand of GOD. Nikki and I were talking tonight and we both agreed that there is no doubt that GOD is taking every step of her life with her. It reminds me of what Joyce Meyer (Christian Speaker) says “You may not see HIM coming, but you sure know when HE has been there”.

GOD is Good ,All the Time!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thoughts and Prayers

Well it has been AGES since I’ve updated my blog. As many of you know, I’m ‘back’ in school pursuing another degree in Child Studies/Home Visiting with a minor in Family Studies. I’m happy to report that I’ll graduate May 14, YEEE HAWWW! I say all this because last semester took all of my time and energy and that is why there have been no blog updates.

HOWEVER, so much has happened over the last few months. I’ll probably take the next few entries to share some of what we’ve experienced, both good and bad. Today, I’d like to take the opportunity to extend wishes to our very good friends; their daughter was diagnosed with type 1 last night.

If you go back to blogs from the “JOURNEY” section and read about the day Nikki was diagnosed, you will see that she was diagnosed by our doctor -- who is also one of my husband’s closest friends. Last night, this friend had the ….. Well, I just don’t have the words …….. He diagnosed his 10 year old daughter with T1. As of this writing, they are in Children’s going through the first, very stressful hours of a life that now includes diabetes. Our prayers, love, hugs and thoughts go out to them. Nikki is very impatient to visit her friend and let her know that she’s not alone.

Though this incident prompted me to get off my rear and start blogging again, I also have many wonderful moments to share; but I’ll save those for a later blog. In the meantime, I hope everyone had a safe and blessed Christmas; and I hope that included great NUMBERS!

God Bless