Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gluten Free Baker

Seems that there are many, many things going on in the Turner household over the next couple of weeks, so I'm predicting lots of new blog entries in a short period of time. I hope you'll indulge me as I brag and share our milestones.

As you may remember, we recently struggled with a rather touchy situation at Nikki's school. Since I felt, and continue to stand by the resulting educational insights that the (initially) negative situation provided; I feel just as strong about giving equal insights to a wonderfully positive event that took place today. Nikki's core group of teachers have been amazing, wonderful educators and self-esteem boosters. I will always be thankful for their influence in her life. Today was a great example of their kind hearts. Her 8th grade team was celebrating (this afternoon) an event from last week, with pizza. In an effort to figure out how to make sure Nikki was able to participate in the festivities, we were notified of this in advance; thus, allowing me to make plans with my own school to get time off and get some gluten free food Nikki's way in time for the 'party'.

Nikki's love of baking and total obsession with baking for any and every event that comes down the pike lately (guess what she wants to major in once she hits college) caused her to want to bake for her class. She got with her homeroom teacher to find out if she could bake a dessert for her team and get a head count etc. So she spent last night baking up a storm, with the final product pictured above.  DELICIOUS - and I mean rather deliciously addicting -- mini cupcakes, with baby mushroom houses (Smurf houses?) she created from a gummy candy. ALL GLUTEN FREE, & 100% baked and decorated by Nikki Mouse! Thank you Duncan Hines for producing some tasty and easy to work with gluten free mixes.

When Nikki came home from school today she was on cloud nine. It seems that this group of teachers had taken it upon themselves to try and find a gluten free pizza that could be delivered with the regular pizzas. Alas, we live a little out in the country and LaRosa's gluten free pizza hasn't hit our franchise stores YET -- but the fact that they were thinking of her meant more to her than if they had given her a million bucks. To top it off, her teachers and friends loved the cupcakes; and finally, her homeroom teacher wrote a letter to each of his students telling each one of them how important they have been to him. Nikki is still walking around with a silly, happy smile plastered on her beautiful face.

I suppose I can't really add much more to this entry; except maybe GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Meet Coco, the Monkey with Diabetes

Exciting news for ‘us’ Disney lovers and PWD’s (people with diabetes) and/or their families; Disney announces Coco the Monkey – the first Disney character with diabetes. The idea for Coco is the result of collaboration between the folks at Disney and the mother of singer Nick Jonas. Following is a synopsis of the upcoming book Coco and Goofy’s Goofy Day as described on the Diabetes Daily website:

Coco shows Goofy that she can go to the party, play games, win contests, and eat cake and ice cream.  This is an important message that we’ve seen delivered in other stories. Lilly Diabetes and Disney take the story a progressive step further. Coco and other guests partake in but don’t overdo it when it comes to treats. Goofy however, because it’s his birthday, chooses to eat anything and everything he can. As a result of these choices, Coco and others are still going strong and playing and having fun at the end of the party. Goofy, on the other hand, doesn’t feel well and his friends have to take him home in the wagon he brought for Coco because he was worried she would need it because of her diabetes. The lesson: moderation is important for all people, not just those with diabetes.

We are very excited about this new character and believe it will make a huge difference in the lives of many young PWD’s – okay and their grown up counterparts and families. As we say in our house, you are never too old for Disney.

Monday, May 21, 2012

May = Celiac Awareness Month

May is Celiac Awareness month and our family can attest to the overwhelming need for just that.......celiac awareness. So....what is celiac? I'll attempt, in this post, to give a brief overview of celiac, what it can do/does and the seriousness of the disease. 

Celiac is an autoimmune disorder of the digestive system. It affects 1 in 133 people (celiac.com). I found a rather simple explanation of it on the Mayo Clinic's website: Celiac (SEE-lee-ak) disease is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten, which is primarily (this does not mean only) found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye. People with celiac disease who eat foods containing gluten experience an immune reaction in their small intestines, causing damage to the inner surface of the small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients.Celiac disease can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. Eventually, the decreased absorption of nutrients (malabsorption) that occurs with celiac disease can cause vitamin deficiencies that deprive your brain, peripheral nervous system, bones, liver and other organs of vital nourishment.

Gluten can also be found in beauty and hygiene products. A person with celiac cannot consume food that has had ANY contact - no matter how small - with anything containing gluten. Complications from celiac disease, especially when it goes un-managed, include: malnutrition, loss of bone density, lactose intolerance, intestinal cancers, neurological complications, and dermatitis. 

By itself this is a complicated, frustrating disease. Combined with type 1 diabetes, and it is.....well, more complicated/more frustrating (????). Combine those factors with 14 year old hormones and it's a tough road to be assigned. In short, celiac is a very serious autoimmune illness. You cannot have "a little celiac" and it is not a food allergy. There is no cure. No magic pill or shot. You cannot eat "just a little" gluten (well, I suppose if you are a fan of intense abdominal pain you could). It can only be controlled through diet. Check out Celiac.com or Celiac.org to find out more.  

All for now - and remember......EDUCATE, INVESTIGATE, INCORPORATE.....you never know who you'll help by doing so!

I'll be posting another bit of writing in the next day or so. Sharing some very special words, from some very special and unforgettable little people. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dragon Slayers

My birthday and Mother’s Day are both occurring this weekend. Its put me in a reflective mood – reflecting on my life, my life as it relates to my daughters and being a mother. All of which is now tied up in a fight against 2 intimidating diseases – celiac and type 1 diabetes.

I’m a pretty tough woman and that part of my personality – strength in adversity – is something I will admit to being mildly proud of. Still, I find that inner strength is sometimes just not enough when a person…in this case, a mother…… is faced with a direct threat to the well-being of her child(ren).

Like most every mother on our planet, I react like an injured mother bear when either of my daughters is threatened; and threats can take on many forms – human, physical, emotional. When the threat comes in the form of an illness, we dragon slaying, momma bears have no one and nothing to slay in the name of our children. So what the hell do we do then? I’m not sure I’ve entirely figured that out yet. So far my ‘slaying’ methods have included activism, educating, fundraising, empowering my daughter in her personal acceptance of these diseases, quite a bit of sarcasm – and occasionally overreacting. Doing these things has helped, but I find more often than not, I feel very inadequate and lacking in that ‘strength in adversity’ characteristic that I mentioned earlier.

I would love to end this blog post by being able to say that all this reflecting led me to an enlightened state of being. Ummm, no. I’m still stumbling through womanhood, motherhood and wifelyhood (I just made that term up, ha ha) – stumbling head on into mistakes and miracles on a daily basis. And while I would give my life to destroy or take into my own body, the monsters that Nikki has been charged with slaying; I would not give up a second of any part of the last 17 years – the amount of time I’ve spent as a mother.

I wish the entire dragon slaying population of moms a very blessed Mother’s Day.

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed;her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31: 26-28

**picture by countocram-deviantart