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.