Saturday, April 28, 2012

That's All There Is

It’s been a very eventful week around the Turner home; but I suppose it usually is. My oldest daughter attended her junior prom tonight (something I still can’t get my head around) and she looked, as my kindergarten students would say “like a real alive princess”. I was very proud of me for not being overly ‘mushy’. I almost made it through our entire ‘prom preparation’ without tearing up….almost. I was good until picture time. Amber attended prom with a group of friends she’s hung out with since her early elementary years. One of them has been one of her best friends since about 3rd grade. As her mom and I were taking pictures, it hit me just how close Amber is to being a college bound young lady…..okay, not going there again this evening. Suffice it to say, my Amber was beautiful – and my favorite part of her outfit had to be the hidden cowboy boots – 100% Amber Lee.

 This past Thursday, Nikki was able to come to work with me for an hour or so for Take Your Child to Work Day. One of my sweet kiddos – let’s call her Hermione – had been out sick most of the week. The day before, she had been tested for diabetes. Thank GOD the test was negative. However, the word ‘diabetes’ evidently did not throw Hermione for a loop. According to her mom, she simply replied “oh, I know all about the diabetes, Nikki has that”. When Nikki arrived in my classroom, Hermione was bursting at the seams for some alone time with Nik -- to tell her all about her doctor visit. Nikki was just as anxious to love on Hermione, simply because she was so thankful that this sweet little girl was not going to have to face a life sentence of type 1. By-the-way, it’s worth noting that Hermione is the same age Nikki was when she was diagnosed; I’m sure Nikki was very aware of that fact as well. Anyway, it probably goes without saying that when I looked across the room and happened to catch Hermione wrapping her little arms around my Nikki Mouse’s neck…..I got a tiny bit teary, but just a little.

 Moving on to yet another event worth noting this week – around 3:00 a. m. this morning (or is that now yesterday morning???) I was awakened by the sounds of something falling. Nikki had sudden and intense stomach pains and when she said up in her loft bed she kicked stuff over the edge; which, in turn, knocked all her make-up off her dressing table; which, in turn, gave her mother a giant heart attack. I believe she came in contact with gluten – and was suffering some cross contamination pain. In my sleep deprived mind this morning, I had convinced myself that I somehow caused the cross-contamination THIS MORNING while fixing breakfast, without thinking about the fact that her stomach had actually started hurting in the middle of the night. Not that it makes any difference. I have to say that I am just damned tired of my girl having to worry about any of this. LET’S FIND A CURE FOR ALL OF IT ALREADY!

 Okay, enough of that. I am choosing to focus on the sweet moment s from this week, and that’s all. To loosely quote the final few lines from one of my favorite children’s books …..Both of my girls, once again, made me proud to be their mamma -- and that’s all there is, there isn’t any more.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Keep Calm and Educate

I have spent this week thinking about how to write this blog entry. I live in a small town and often that means everyone knows your business – and, in this case, it may mean that everyone will know who I’m talking about. So I must make this VERY CLEAR: the intention of this writing is education, NOT ‘revenge blogging’. Having said that, I feel very strongly about sharing the incident because it will truly help people understand what T1D and/or celiac kids sometimes deal with at the hands (intentional or not) of adults and learn how to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

This past week one of my daughter’s middle school teachers allowed a student to bring in a small – personal sized cake for her friend. The student is her daughter and the other student was her daughter’s close friend. This is not something that has been done for any of the other 40+ students in the class. While, this part of the story goes against my personal beliefs as a teacher myself, it is not something I would have intervened in.

** this teacher has known my daughter all her life and knows her medical situation. **

In order to allow the ‘birthday girl’ the opportunity to eat her cake in a class full of kids, who didn’t have cake, the teacher purchased ice cream sandwiches and had her daughter’s other friends pass them out to the rest of the class. MY DAUGHTER cannot eat ice cream sandwiches because they contain gluten. Again, keep in mind the teacher knows my daughter’s situation. As the students got to Nikki’s desk, Nikki said “no thank you” but the lovely young lady tossed it on her desk anyway. Unable to keep from hoping, Nikki got up and went to the empty ice cream box praying that maybe, just maybe, these ice cream sandwiches were gluten free. Nope. So she gave them to her friends. (Had the sandwiches been gluten free, she would have had to leave the room to check her blood – missing out on enjoying a snack with friends either way).

I must stop here to say what wonderful teenage friends my daughter has. The girls refused to eat directly in front of Nikki, so they took turns going to the other side of the room to eat their ice cream. At no time was Nikki given the choice to go get one of her snacks, the teacher didn’t acknowledge her in any way. My child was forced to sit and watch 40+ classmates eat what was one of her favorite foods, before celiac.

To say that I was LIVID would be putting it mildly. The desire to extinguish someone’s life signs was an overwhelming urge – of course, I mean figuratively. I made a phone call to the Principal on the spot – something I SHOULD NOT HAVE DONE in that frame of mind. Thankfully, he wasn’t in so I only left a crazy, ranty message. After getting some much needed feedback from our webpage -- and after a very dear friend (I love you Jim) challenged me in some areas -- I was able to calm down, collect my thoughts, separate my personal hurt – remember the teacher in question was someone I had considered a family friend – from the facts and then write an intelligent letter to the Principal.

The Principal responded to my e-mail that evening saying he would contact me in the morning. True to his word, he called me and we were able to talk through the situation. He was very understanding and upset on Nikki’s behalf. I e-mailed some educational information along with my letter the night before; he'd read the material and was attempting to digest all of it. My hope is that this type of thing never happens again, to Nikki or any other student and I feel very confident that the Principal has the same thought. I won’t go into further detail regarding our conversation, but I believe we managed to turn a very inappropriate, unnecessary situation into a learning opportunity. The teacher at the heart of this matter did finally apologize to Nikki, after about 4 days. I know she is angry that she was called on this, but as a leader in our community – representing far more than just the teaching staff – I hope she takes some time to reflect on the power adults have to damage kids or lift them up. Nikki was not lifted up this week and then spent the remainder of the week worrying that she had hurt this teacher’s feelings. My girl – I wouldn’t change her for the world.

Children with chronic illnesses have to face life and death on a daily basis. They face things that many adults couldn’t handle. To have a kid penalized in a situation like this is unforgiveable. To take your anger out on that child because you were called on CHOICES YOU MADE is something I have no words for. To watch my child respond with her typical smile and concern for the one hurting her is priceless and something that is a GOD given aspect of her soul – it’s where her strength comes from.

I challenge every teacher to stop and think: how would I feel if this way MY CHILD?

We will continue to analyze, and monitor, the situation and use it as a learning and educational tool. BUT we need to move on from this very personal event; so we have made peace with it and have forgiven everyone involved.

Like I’ve said many times lately: If GOD brings you to it, he WILL bring you through it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Laugh Out Loud - again

I've decided, based on the extreme silliness of my mood lately, that it was worthwhile to do a repeat of some diabetes humor. So, here goes. Below you'll find a small collection of humor from parents of diabetic kids, and yes many of them are mine.


In conversation, your husband describes his personality as Type 1 instead of Type A.

You ask your child how her day at school was, and she answers with a number.

The microwave beeps and your d-child shouts “that wasn’t me!”

Everyone in the family says they are "low" instead of hungry!

When your parents answer the phone, the first thing they say is "What's wrong?"

You have no problem asking your child if she is "high" when you're in public.

You make sure your child has (gluten free)candy in bed with them.

You ask your child what she had for lunch and she replies "45 carbs!"

Your daughter wakes you up in the middle of the night and says, "Mommy, I'm beeping."

Your child says "I'm tired" and you ALWAYS have to wonder if he's low, high, or just plain tired.

You travel with as much food as you do baggage!

You hear another parent wish that kids would come with instructions and your diabetic child pipes in and says, "I do, and I don't leave home with out them."

Your first grader calls you from school to tell you that his teachers, nurse, and health aide are all absent, so you decide to go to first grade for the day.

Your child refers to sequel movies as "Type 2".

You automatically wake up at 2:00 a.m.

You find blood sugar test strips in every possible, and impossible, space inside and outside your home.

Every meal turns into a math equation followed by scientific research.

Your child falls and before you ask if she's injured, you ask, "How's your pump site, is your pump okay?"

You base your entire self-worth on your kid's last A1C!

You hear your child scream "I'm hooked" and you run as fast as you can in that direction, because you know her pump tubing is now wrapped around whatever inanimate object jumped in front of her.

You know what glucagon is and what it does.

You wake up the entire house because you accidentally stick your daughter's best friend's finger during middle of the night blood checks - they look way too much alike.

Your daughter has a sleep over and her friends line up for blood sugar checks, and none of them have diabetes.

Your daughter begins to miss the school nurse over summer break.

Your child refers to having a cold as being 'real people sick'.

Students in your classroom now ask you how many carbs are in their snack.

You laugh out loud reading this list.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

That's the REAL Nikki

I know my blogs, especially lately, are a “tad” sappy; but then I suppose that is me. I must warn you that this entry will fall squarely into the “sappiness” category; yet, it is a story I must share.

After posting last week’s ‘Nikki’s 9th Live-a-Betes’ video, I decided to share it with my class (I guess I never truly take a break from every T1D educational opportunity) AND my kiddos love my daughters, so I knew they would love seeing all the pictures. It was quite interesting to hear their comments as the video took us from Nikki at age 5 through her various trials, bumps and triumphs where T1D and Celiac are concerned. They gasped at every single hospital, finger stick and site photo; and ooo’d over the pictures of Nikki dancing on stage. One of my little girls was fairly quiet throughout the video, UNTIL it got to the last picture, which showed Nikki in one of her performance outfits, smiling and sparkling. My student stood up, smiled and said “THAT’S THE REAL NIKKI!” I’m sure it’s no surprise that this one heartfelt exclamation made me more than a little teary.

I will, forever, count that statement as one of Nikki’s triumphs over T1D. Sweet, kind and generous little hearts don’t see diabetes or celiac when they look at Nikki. In spite of the freedom with which she talks openly about both diseases, the young people she touches see only HER and her shine. When I got home and shared this story with Nikki and Amber, I’m proud to say they both responded exactly like their sappy mom….they got a little teary. I’m one proud momma and teacher.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nikki Mouse's 9th Liveabetes

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chicken Nuggets & Mozzarella Sticks

Nikki and I were looking through some gluten free blogs tonight and happened upon what Nikki will call her miracle food - GLUTEN FREE CHICKEN NUGGETS AND GLUTEN FREE MOZZARELLA STICKS.

As you know, Nik has been battling burn-out lately and much of that we can attribute to her frustration with food. When she was diagnosed with Celiac back in September, she had to give up many favorite comfort foods. At the top of the list were her 2 all time favs - chicken nuggets and mozzarella sticks. Needless to say, we've ordered a supply of each food item. We'll update regarding their taste as soon as we get a chance to try them. As of now, I can only find them online at Health is Wealth Foods.

Last week I found frozen, gluten free burritos and macaroni and cheese -- at our local Meijer (Meijer just plain rocks when it comes to a large gluten free selection). These were delicious! They will be a blessing for all those long Dance Center nights when Nikki has to run from school to dance lessons to recital practice to performances. MOST IMPORTANTLY, all these new found products have put a smile on my Mouse's face again.

My next blog will be in 'celebration' of Nikki's 9th Live-a-Betes anniversary. WOW, 9 years. All for now.