November is Diabetes Awareness Month: Be TYPE S: supporter of people with diabetes!

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May 21, 1993-Mike and I held our wedding rehearsal dinner at Nibsy’s Pub on Tipperary Hill in Syracuse. We were celebrating embarking on our new life together at one of our favorite spots. Over drinks and a wonderful dinner we listened to our families tell stories and jokes about our childhoods and our future together. We never thought our future would include teaming up with the owners of Nibsy’s 21 years later to fight a disease called diabetes-but that is what we will be doing on November 12th 4pm-8pm. We will spend all of the month of November, Diabetes Awareness Month, hosting events, and making noise about this disease, all of its types,—and we want YOU to join us!

Why diabetes? Because our son Frankie was diagnosed at age 6 with type 1 diabetes. We didn’t know a thing about diabetes before diagnosis day on August 23, 2010—we wish we did—so we want to make sure YOU know, other parents KNOW—because knowledge is power- knowledge is understanding-and knowledge makes this crazy roller coaster ride a lot less scary.   Frankie didn’t ‘catch’ it because of anything he ate or drank, or because of an inactive lifestyle. Type 1 diabetes struck because Frankie’s immune system attacked itself—shutting down insulin production in the beta cells of his pancreas—and without insulin—you die. An autoimmune disease- with no specific cause or cure.  Since age 6, Frankie has been dependent on infusions or injections of insulin-everyday, several times a day-to stay alive–and will be for the rest of his life-to survive-until there is a cure.

We can’t fix this for our son—but we can work towards empowering Frankie (and others) to live a full and successful life—with diabetes— we can work to create a better public understanding of this disease and it’s many types—and we choose to do this by volunteering and raising money for the American Diabetes Association. The American Diabetes Association helped us find our feet during the difficult first year of our son’s  diagnosis, and every year since- has provided us with support and programs to help us live this life. The diagnosis of diabetes affects not just the person with the disease—but the whole family. Siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends-life changes for everyone-not just the person who physically has diabetes. We can’t say where our family would  be without the help we received from the A.D.A.—but we can work to ensure they stay around to help the next family diabetes strikes.

Every 17 seconds someone is diagnosed with a type of diabetes. We need the American Diabetes Association to be there for each one—every one of the 29 million Americans. The American Diabetes Association uses $$ raised on programs such as ‘Safe at School’ which educates school districts on what diabetes is and isn’t, and how school districts can create safe and inclusive environments for children in their districts living with diabetes. $$ raised goes towards funding summer camps for children with diabetes—including  Camp ASPIRE in Rochester NY. These camps can be life changing experiences for kids with diabetes , the beginning of lifelong friendships with other kids who ‘get it’ and the foundation of understanding their disease and how to balance the tightrope walk of living life with diabetes—and living life to the fullest.  $$ raised supports efforts by The American Diabetes Association that promote glucose checks at yearly physical exams, support groups and events for diagnosed youth, adults, and their families- that bring people of all ages, with different forms of diabetes together—to  learn from and encourage one another. $$ raised is used to advocate on Capital Hill, and in our states for better health care options to help with the overwhelming costs of this disease,  laws to protect people with diabetes at work, at school, and create a better public understanding of this disease—one name, many types. Diabetes is one big huge tree with lots of branches—each branch a different ‘type’ . All of them-“the bad kind.”

Join us this November in one or all of the following awareness events.

Be part of OPERATION AWARENESS!

Be TYPE S: supporter of people with diabetes! THANK YOU!!

Be BLUE! : Fight with Frankie by tying a blue ribbon around a tree, a lamp post, anything- in your yard throughout the month of Novemeber!  Get people asking “What’s the blue for?” Tell them they can find out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WhatsyourtypeOperationawareness

Take the RISK test: Diabetes is your co-workers, your classmates, your loved ones, MAYBE YOU?  Find out by taking THE RISK TEST: http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/

Talk to you physician : about your family history and ask for a glucose test!

Check out the Awareness Window: Come and learn some diabetes facts at the Manlius Library November 10th through the end of November! Check out our What’s Your Type? Awareness Window!

November 12:  Nibsy’s Fight Night against Diabetes! Come out to Nibsy’s : 201 Ulster St, Syracuse, NY between 4pm and 8pm and have Patty Palladino from What’s Your Type? and Jessica Bottoms from The American Diabetes Association serve up your favorite drinks and fun! All tips will be donated to the American Diabetes Association!

November 19: Dazzle Party: Get a head start on your Holiday shopping! Join us 6pm-8pm at Dazzle on Fayette Street in Manlius for a night of wine, snacks, shopping and fun! Dazzle will donate a portion of sales to the American Diabetes Association!

November 21: What’s Your Type? ‘KNIGHT’ with the Syracuse Silver Knights! Join us for the HOME OPENER and raise some diabetes awareness! Silver Knights selling What’s Your Type supporters discount tickets for $13 each—with a portion donated to the American Diabetes Association! To purchase tickets call Anthony at The Silver Knights office : 315-303-7261 mention you are purchasing ‘What’s Your Type? Tickets!

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Diabetes Interference…

The hard part, the part that is so difficult to talk about, to ever explain—is when this disease stops him in the middle of being a kid. It just happened. Frankie is at a sleepover birthday party, and my phone rings. He has only been over there about 2 hours. I hear the ring and know it’s him. I answer- it’s Frankie. “The cap flew off my lancet and we can’t find it, we are gonna eat and I can’t take my number, Mom.”

I can hear in his voice the sound of diabetes interference. The catch in his voice- the sound of disappointment, anger, mixed with a bit of fear. It hurts me to hear it. It hurts him more to experience it—but he never admits  it -except in the dark, middle of the night, BG check times-when he spills his guts over the glow of the glucose meter. I can’t rush to help this time; I just had surgery and can’t drive. I can’t jump in my car and get him a new lancet. That fact hurts too—but I swallow it, swallow the tears that want to bubble up and say as cheerful as I can “No worries buddy, I can’t drive one over, so count the carbs for what you are going to eat and dose for that minus 10. When dad gets home he will drive over a new lancet okay? That will be in an hour or so. Then you can check your BG and you can correct if you need to-Okay?” I hear him breathing, in and out, he is keeping it together, and replies “Okay, got it, it’s okay. Send Dad when he gets home.”  “ Dad will come as soon as he can, you’re doing great! Love you, Have fun” I say. “I am, Love you too” he says.

You plan, prepare, plan and prepare. Everyday- for every activity and action. Pack a bag for all and everything, talk and teach diabetes to his friend’s parents, teachers, and neighbors. We write up care notes, and emergency plans. We do all and everything to make time with friends, a sleepover, going to school, going outside as seamless as possible–as normal as possible. Then a lancet breaks, supplies get wet, a pod malfunctions, insulin goes bad-diabetes rears its head and shouts “You are not like the other kids, don’t forget that.”

Dad delivered him a new lancet. Frankie checked-his BG was 190. “Thanks Dad!” Life goes on.