Monday, November 26, 2012

Boiling It All Down

Today was our last Diabetes Awareness event for this year. Nikki came to the school where I teach to talk to each class about T1D. Amber came with her this year to see what Nikki gets up to while she’s speaking to such a young audience, and to help pass out awareness bracelets. Have I mentioned that I have great daughters?

Anyway, no matter how many years I work with young children they NEVER cease to amaze me with their sweet spirits and wisdom – AND with the ability to boil things down to the point. During indoor recess, after Nikki & Amber had gone, I looked over at some of my kids playing in the Home Life Center; they were playing with Ruby and Rufus – The Diabetes Bears -- giving them a good checkup and telling them that it was okay to have diabetes because Nikki had it too. Then, at the end of the day, I overheard one of my boys (my Wee Highlanders) tell his friends that he had always had type 1 diabetes but he just forgot to tell them. Of course, I interrupted that particular conversation, but the fact that the kids were discussing diabetes openly AND WITH NO FEAR was priceless. It’s also the kind of thinking that will help bring about a cure one day.

Finally, during Nikki’s actual presentation to a group that included my classroom, she was talking about Ruby and Rufus the Diabetes Bears. She was explaining what all the patches on the bears were for and all that goes with the subject. After she was done, a little boy raised his hand and “boiled it all down” to one sentence. He looked at Nikki and said “Man that is A LOT of Band-Aids!!” 

I don’t believe I could have put it any better myself. 

Giving Rufus the Diabetes Bear a check-up

My Girls and My Kiddos

Thursday, November 15, 2012

World Diabetes Day 2012

I just wanted to share a short slideshow to show a snippet of the overwhelming support Nikki, Bryan, Amber and I received on World Diabetes Day. GOD is good.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Circle of Friends

As we count down to World Diabetes Day on November 14, I've been impressed with the support my daughter has received from her teenage friends. It’s easy to stereotype all teenagers into one mass group, labeled Self-Absorbed and Irresponsible. However, I don’t believe that’s where most teens fit. We've been blessed to have some amazing young people in our lives. Nikki’s 2 lifelong best friends, Samantha and Brooke, have grown into exceptional teenagers and lovely young ladies. Likewise, Nikki’s closest friends at school are a wonderful group of teens. Amber has also had amazing friends, who are now lovely young adults. If it had been up to Bryan or me to pick my daughters’ friends, we would not change one thing about any of them – and that is no minor blessing.

The world is always so busy publicizing bullying (which is a real problem), teenage drinking, pregnancy, etc. etc., that we forget all the millions of teens who quietly, positively and successfully go about their lives -- making more of a difference in our world than those struggling with bad choices and negative behavior. I suppose what I’m getting at is this: we shouldn't underestimate the emotional life-support that many of our kids receive from their circle of friends. Young people can offer each other support and build confidence in areas of emotional development we didn't even know our children were struggling with. People, regardless of age, will usually step up to help out those they care about, IF they are given the chance. The magnitude and importance of this support should not be disregarded because they are young.

The picture I've added to this blog is of Nikki and her closest school friends. It was taken at school, between classes. Each girl is wearing a pin that says “Someone I Love Very Much Needs a Cure” and a blue JDRF Cure Diabetes bracelet. They were all very excited about having the opportunity to show their support for a friend they love; and they will also be GOING BLUE on the 14th. My daughters’ generation will be the next leaders, inventors, and scientists of our world. Nikki, Amber and their friends certainly make the future seem more than a little brighter.  Let’s all GO BLUE on Wednesday, November 14!!

All for now, 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Going Blue

As we continue through the month of November and diabetes awareness, I've been talking more and more to my young students about Nikki and all the things she has to do every day because of T1D. For the 3rd year in a row, I have the sweetest group of students and they love my daughters; so they are pretty much interested in anything or any story I tell about either Amber or Nikki. Because of this, it is easy to begin educating another generation of kiddos about T1D and Celiac Disease. They know the word diabetes and they know they want Nikki to stop having to poke her fingers, stomach and have shots all the time.

This coming Wednesday, November 14, 2012, is World Diabetes Day. **November 14 is the birthday of Frederick Banting who, alongside Charles Best, discovered insulin in 1922.** I'm proud to say that the school I work for is GOING BLUE. We are asking all parents, students, siblings, grandparents, and anyone else that is part of our school family, to dress completely in BLUE to show support for those battling this terrible disease. 

Today I asked my class if they remembered what we are supposed to wear next Wednesday; they shouted BLUE. I asked them if they remembered WHY we are wearing blue. I was looking for someone to use the word diabetes in response. Instead, and in the typical fashion of sweet and honest 4 & 5 year old hearts, they all shouted “WE’RE WEARING BLUE FOR NIKKI!!!!”  Okay, so their answer was WAY better than the one I was looking for.

Some sobering facts about diabetes from JDRF:
  • Diabetes affects nearly 24 million Americans (7.8 percent of the population)
  • In the United States, a new case of diabetes is diagnosed every 30 seconds; more than 1.6 million people are diagnosed each year. 
  • Forty-one children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each and every day. 
  • More than $174 Billion is spent annually on healthcare costs related to diabetes in the United States. 
  • Diabetes kills one American every three minutes. 

I hope you will all wear blue on Wednesday, November 14. Teacher Turner and her kiddos will be. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Diabetes Awareness

November 1st begins Diabetes Awareness Month. As with all T1D families, this month brings about a wide range of emotions; way too many to properly put into a short blog article. There are 3 things that I would, as I often do, like to remind non-T1D families:
  • Insulin is not a cure. Let me say that again, INSULIN IS NOT A CURE....IT IS LIFE SUPPORT. Its only function is to keep a T1D alive, which is accomplished through multiple, daily injections or site insertions (similar to an i.v. insertion).
  • The onset of type 1 diabetes has NOTHING TO DO WITH DIET OR LIFESTYLE. There is nothing a person can do to prevent T1D and, for now, nothing a T1D can do to get rid of it. Type 1 diabetes  is NOT contagious; you can't "catch it". 
  • A T1D can do anything a non-T1D can do; which includes eating sugar.  Yes, they can dance, swim, run, play football, baseball, soccer.......etc., etc. In fact, there are many gold medal winning, 1st place finishing, national champion achieving athletes that have T1D. 
It is important to talk about this disease; to lift any cloud of stigma attached to having a chronic illness. Nikki has always talked openly about having type 1 diabetes. In fact, she routinely speaks at early childcare centers, elementary schools and middle schools about what it means to have type 1 diabetes, and now Celiac Disease. It is just as important for the family and friends of T1D's to be educated about the disease and to help educate others. The phrase "I've got your back" comes to mind; it's how family and friends should view their mission in the fight against this disease.

My own life has been touched by a wide variety of people who have to live with type 1 diabetes. This includes my own daughter/dancer/artist, ballet teachers, a beauty pageant winner, a United States Olympic athlete, a nurse, a school psychologist, a high school math teacher, a niece, a nephew and too many teenagers and kids to count. The one universal trait they all share? Strength Beyond Measure. Their daily fight to stay alive has shown me, with complete clarity, what is truly important in life. So let me close this blog by saying

"To all T1D's everywhere, your inner strength is an inspiration to millions of people. May GOD bless you and may the need for Diabetes Awareness Month soon be a thing of the past". 

Click HERE to see our Diabetes Pinterest Board