SHARE, ACT, LEARN, GIVE…

I was given a great honor recently from the American Diabetes Association. On September 24th I was presented with the National ACT Volunteer Award. An unbelievable surprise, and as I sat listening to my friend Amy from the ADA speak about me, I was so moved, and yes, there were tears.

This is the award…17216_10204806662598579_6763700735094526350_n

The words on it say it all…SHARE, ACT, LEARN, GIVE.

I don’t deserve an award for those words…for aren’t they exactly what every TYPE M (Mom of a child with diabetes) is doing every day? When our children are diagnosed with this crazy, unrelenting disease—what choice do we have but to SHARE, ACT, LEARN, GIVE? We band together, us TYPE M’s, and we will not give up in the face of adversity, and when necessary—we will STAND UP for another when the difficulties of life with D prove overwhelming. Type M’s—I accept this honor on behalf of all of us!

We are in our 5th year of living with diabetes in our house. The unwelcome visitor, like all visitors, welcome or not—we carry on & try everyday to fit this monster of a disease into our lives – instead of our lives being centered around diabetes. Some days we win, some days D wins.

5 years in, and I’m still talking diabetes to all and everyone who will listen. I’m still raising $$ to support the mission of The American Diabetes Association: “To prevent and cure diabetes and improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.” I believe in working toward a cure, (and I believe we are close) but until that great day—I also believe that people affected by diabetes need help in living with this disease. Programs like Safe at School, Diabetes Camp for kids, adult education sessions, support programs for people with diabetes and their families, the Risk Test effort, and so many more programs are needed and necessary…and the ADA believes that too.

I’m often asked—why are you still doing all this diabetes stuff, isn’t he stable now? Isn’t he on the pump? Those questions DEFINE why I ACT…because ‘stable’ is a pipe dream, ‘the pump’ is not a cure, and these questions demonstrate the public misunderstanding of what diabetes is—beta cells in the pancreas that just don’t work like they should and children and adults facing the 24/7/365 workload that is life with diabetes. It never shuts off, it never takes a vacation, it knocks you down, and tries to take you out…but these children and adults DO NOT GIVE UP!

I won’t give up either.

This year our family will be taking “What’s Your Type” into more schools-including medical schools. We are taking “Safe at School” on the road—across the state—so more parents will be informed about how to gain that TEAM effort with their schools to create a successful, inclusive, safe school journey for their children. We will be riding our bikes in the Tour de Cure for the 4th year, planning support group outings, attending health fairs, community events, and more.

On behalf of all people living with diabetes, we will continue to…SHARE, ACT, LEARN, GIVE.

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Training wheels…

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He’s growing up, getting taller, getting smarter, being brave, and self managing type 1 diabetes.

I’m getting greyer, shorter, being brave, and learning how to raise him.

I remember teaching him to ride a bike. It was easy with training wheels. “Look at you! Look at the big boy!” All the while—the training wheels keeping him upright. Then I took off one training wheel—and he learned to balance, then the next, and he learned to fly—pumping those pedals with all his might—staying upright.

Type 1 diabetes didn’t come with training wheels. Those early days—such fear. The impossible task of sticking your baby with needles and making it seem average, normal, and easy. Fake it till you make it. Hiding the tears of a parent—not wanting to inflict such pain. The first injection I had to call my boss, a doctor, and ask for help. I was too scared to do it. Injecting an orange through the training class—I was a master—doing it to my 6 year old son—I was a disaster. My awesome boss, said come right over—but he did not give the shot. He looked me straight in the face and told me “muster it up—because this first step sets the rest of the journey.” I will never forget it, and will be eternally grateful. I gave the shot.

Fast forward-year 5. My son now gets the job done, everyday, through school work, sports, and all his 12 year old obligations. Looking back, I know how we got here—necessity. He had to learn, this is his life after all, and he needs to know how to live it, but I still want to be a part—a safety net.

Is my need getting in the way?

Today I flipped my lid because he forgot to text me his BG at the scheduled time. I sent a text that said ‘BG!!!!!!!!!” and received a prompt reply ‘158.’ Then ‘SRY Forgot txt.’ I was MAD!

Forgot! What!!??!! Then came my flip out. No video games, no computer, no anything! Along with a lecture- a loud one- on remembering and the importance of keeping me in the loop.

Now I sit, regretful. Why does he have to keep me in the loop? Why-because he is 12? Maybe in real years, but in diabetes years he is 112. I know that. Did I respect that? I don’t think I did.

We will talk it out. I will tell him I am learning, and I realize so is he. Learning without training wheels.