Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Olympic Dreams...

Okay...I'm really going to date myself with this one, but here it goes...

It was 1976.  Our country's bicentennial year and the Olympics.  Like a million other little girls, I wanted to be like Dorothy Hamill, the women's figure skating gold medalist.  Wait a minute, I did not want to just be like her...I wanted to be her!  In my little girl's mind, I honestly thought I could be the next Dorothy Hamill!

I spent nearly every afternoon at the local ice rink.  I registered for lessons.  I even bought a used ice skating outfit that looked pretty much like the one Dorothy wore in her gold medal routine.  As for the haircut, I didn't go that route, but did ponder it!

It was a great couple years of dreaming...

Eventually, however, other interests popped up for me.  Skating became less and less.  In fact the ice arena was torn down just a few years later.  I don't even know where I could take my kids ice skating locally anymore.

I guess my point here is...I truly believed I could do it.  Did my parents believe it too?  If they didn't, they sure acted like they did! 

I want my kids to dream big.  It can be what gets their hearts pumped and motivated.  I want all three of them to think anything is possible.  Yes, even the Olympics!

I tell my kids often what I think they're good at and that they can do anything if they put their minds to it.  But, then I think about diabetes.  Deep down inside, I'm really not sure if C can do anything she wants.  But, we're certainly trying.  Dance.  Soccer.  Musicals.  Softball.  Gymnastics.  Diabetes creates real challenges.  Those things are difficult to do, not impossible...just difficult. 

I've watched this past week and a half until my eyes have glazed over.  I want to tell C, "look, you could do that if you want!"  I'd love to see an infusion site on the back of a figure skater's arm!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The D-Mom Blog

Introducing...the D-Mom Blog

Our friend Leighann has taken great care in the design, layout and content of this new and wonderful resource site for parents of type 1 kids.  It just launched last month.  What an incredible need it fills!  How I wished there had been something like this when C was first diagnosed.

It is choc-full of diabetes information...everything from common diabetes terms to helpful hints about eating out.  Can't find an answer to a burning question?  Email in and ask a D-Mom!  Alone, we can feel overwhelmed by our child's diagnosis.  I commend Leighann for bringing us together for support, encouragement and strength.

Each Monday, Leighann introduces a D-Mom or D-Dad to the community.  Yesterday, she featured us!

D-Mom Blog Featured D-Mom

I felt honored and privileged to take a spot on her new blog!  Thanks again, Leighann!

Friday, February 12, 2010

My New Shoes

It's Friday.  And, this is frivolous.

I got some new shoes. 

After seeing them on Sally Field in a commercial recently, I figured that I certainly am not too old to wear them.  I love them.  My oldest is embarrassed.  Mission accomplished.

 I love them!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

8 Years Ago Today...

8 years ago today, we became out-numbered.

8 years ago today, I fully expected to meet another red-headed little boy.

8 years ago today, I finally found out what all the hype is, regarding epidurals.

8 years ago today, my husband fainted while watching the needle go into my back.

8 years ago today, I got to witness 2 little boys meeting their sister.

8 years ago today, diabetes was not even a thought.

8 years ago today, I knew our family was complete.

8 years ago today, sweet Claire Olivia was born.

Happy Birthday, Sweetpea!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Oh No, Oprah!

Do I dare even attempt a post about the Oprah Show on diabetes?  I guess I'm still coming to terms with all the emotions that welled up within me while watching it.  Yes.  I'm going to attempt it.

First of all, this episode needed a warning.  I have been a pretty avid fan of hers.  And normally when there is a tough topic, she warns us.  The images of an amputee's mangled limbs were fairly gruesome.  My oldest was sitting with me and it was difficult for me to watch this.  And the title,  Diabetes:  America's Silent Killer...uh, seriously?  C was not in the house at the time, but I can imagine how a little kid with diabetes would feel if they happened to hear that on television!  Just had to get those two issues off my chest...

The show itself was about type 2 diabetes.  That was plain and simple...well, simple if you know anything about diabetes.  But, as we all sadly realize, the general public does NOT know the difference.  It was never explained clearly.  The tiny bit of information shared regarding type 1 was absolute nonsense in my book.  It was Oprah who tried to differentiate between the two at a couple times in the beginning of the episode.  But that was it for type 1.  The show's title should have been called Diabetes:  Type 2 Only.

As far as I am aware, Dr. Oz is a heart surgeon.  I know Oprah calls him America's Doctor, but really, his expertise lies in cardiology.  How difficult would it have been to get an endocrinologist to be on the show.  I nominate the famous doctor, Dr. Francine Kaufman.  I mean, really, how hard is it to find a type 1 person living a wonderful, healthy life?  I know a bunch of them.  And then, there's the part of the population that was completely over-looked in this segment...children.  I know CHLA alone (Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles) services over 2,000 type 1 kids.  As a family, whose lives are affected 24/7 by diabetes...I felt ignored, alone...again.

So, according to the doctor, these four things are the causes of diabetes:  1. excessive belly fat  2. a sedentary lifestyle  3. a family history  4. smoking.  I want so badly for him to see a picture of my 8 year old daughter. She has diabetes...She is definitely not over weight. She is quite active. There is no family history. And, as far as we know, she doesn't smoke. What do you think of that, Dr. Oz? Why was type 1 diabetes so utterly left out of the show?

Worse than ignoring the entire type 1 population was the blatent misinformation that was aired.  The following were the statements that bothered me most:

  • How many times did they refer to diabetes being preventable and/or reversible?  I lost track.  Even fitness/diet expert, Bob Greene chimed in with his statement that diabetes is preventable.  Of course he wanted to plug his book, "The Best-Life Guide to Managing Diabetes & Pre-Diabetes." 

  • Dr. Oz stated that diabetes is "almost always reversible." 

  • Bob Greene claimed the key is cider vinegar.  It changes the glycemic index of any food.  Why has our endo never told us about this?!

  • Straight from Dr. Oz:  "At the end of the day, the amount of insulin you gotta take depends on how bad your diabetes is."
I know that type 2 diabetes can be controlled through oral meds sometimes and that better diet and exercise can, in fact help a type 2 step away from that diagnosis.  But, this show was so disheartening to watch.  I know that a lot of the DOC folks are with me on this.  I feel so deflated as I write this post.  Wasn't it just 3 months ago, during "Diabetes Awareness Month" that we were fired up and trying to dispel the myths surrounding diabetes?  I wanted to educate people about it, for my daughter's sake.  Today, Oprah's show took awareness 10 giant steps back.

I am truly dissappointed in the irresponsibility of airing that show.  I love Oprah.  She has a platform like no other.  Maybe she will surprise us in her final season, hear our cries and actually cover the reality of diabetes.

The only redeeming value from the show is that of Walgreens' generosity.  Tomorrow, you can go into any Walgreens pharmacy and get a blood glucose test...for free.  Call 1-800-WALGREENS for one near you!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

With Age & Experience Comes...

...something to talk about!

I was truly honored to be asked to speak in front of a group of nurses about diabetes.  Yes, me!  Public speaking is so much NOT my thing, that when I look back on this, I just have to smile.

A few months back, a friend emailed me and asked me far in advance if I would come down to Orange County (the other OC) and speak to her collegues about diabetes.  Specifically, they wanted the perspective of a parent with a diabetic preschooler who had transitioned into elementary school.

Well, I was honored.  I was nervous too.  But I said "yes" right off the bat.

I wasn't too sure about what I would say.  But when the time came, I wrote down a few notes about life with a type 1 toddler in the house and how we approached the beginning of preschool and then the transition to our neighborhood elementary school.  I brought with me samples of the diabetes supplies that take residence in one of our kitchen cupboards.  I brought several books that are meant to help kids cope with the diagnosis.  I brought the book C and I had writtten together before kindergarten started so we could explain diabetes in a 5 year old's terms.   I brought our 504 plan. I brought C's favorite doll with a pretend pump pack.  I brought a big poster about C that we had made when she was in preschool with all her favorite things in pictures.  Basically, even though she wouldn't be there with me, I wanted to present her...all aspects of her, not just her diabetes.

I got to the district office early.  I walked in the back door.  There must have been 40-50 nurses sitting around tables in a horseshoe shape with the overflow in a few rows of chairs.  There was a speaker in the middle of her presentation, talking about learning strategies or something of that sort.

My friend spied me walking in and came back to greet me.  We slipped outside to talk for a while.  She helped me gather my things from the car.  My timeslot would be coming up soon after lunch.  I was nervous.

Toward the end of lunch, I began to set up my "stuff."  I sat back down and it was time.  I was given a nice introduction.  I then made my way to the podium.  I looked at my notes, took a deep breath and began.  I felt flushed and began to sweat.  There was a quiver in my voice.  "Excuse me," I said, into the microphone.  I dropped the microphone down and cleared my throat.  I took a sip of water.  And while I was doing these things within a matter of seconds, I thought to myself---Why am I feeling so nervous?  These people don't know me.  I will probably never see them again.  What's my problem?  And in that brief moment a calm came over me.  Here was an incredible opportunity.  Diabetes education...to nurses, no less!

I began again.  I felt confident.  I had something to share.  I actually really enjoyed it.  I told the group that as nurses, they need to realize that the parents of type 1 students are tired, weary.  They are under a lot of stress.  Diabetes is difficult.  And, this is their child.  I went on to talk about different issues when it comes to diabetes and school.  I shared our book and got great feedback. There were questions at the end of my talk.  And I actually felt knowledgable enough to answer them!  It was great.  I was able to give a little plug for my pump gear and handed out some flyers too.

As I packed up my things, they thanked me over and over for giving my time and perspective.  I seemed to have given them some insight into the needs of type 1 kids as they begin elementary school.

As I drove home I remembered how much I would dread getting up in front of a class to give a speech when I was younger.  It was grueling to get an assignment like that.  I never felt I had anything to say.  And then it dawned on me.  Maybe I just needed to live life.  Now that I'm older, life is so very full.  There is so much to talk about.