Diabetes Scholars Cookbook…Like Pinterest that you can hold in your hands!

The other day when I went to my mail box I almost screamed with glee.  Inside was a parcel from a lady I know, Mary Podjasek.  Mary happens to run a charity that I love–The Diabetes Scholars Foundation.  A parcel from her meant that my new cookbook had arrived!???????????????????????????????

I know you are thinking, “I don’t need a cookbook. I use Pinterest and get great recipes instantly without a tonne of books laying around my house.” I have to admit that when my friend Jane said that she wanted to do this and she was going to have a real, hold in your hands book, I was kind of thinking the same way.  I love Pinterest.  It makes my life so much easier. I have a zillion recipes pinned to try one day. I also have a cupboard full of recipes and recipe books that I always go back to.  Perhaps Jane was on to something and she was!

I bought my cookbook because it was a great price (only $20 and that included shipping to Canada!) and because it supported a cause that I love–Children with Diabetes’ scholarship funds. ???????????????????????????????

In 2015, there are many supports out there for families of children living with diabetes.  Every house has internet access.  Every child now receives a Bag of Hope either in the hospital or soon after going home.  In 2000, that was not the case.  When my son was diagnosed, I was given the phone number of a lady who would later become a good friend.  We were both fumbling, trying to deal with toddlers with diabetes.  There were few other supports.

Within a year after diagnosis, my mom convinced me to get this thing called the internet for my home computer.  My computer would dial a local number and I would be connected with the world–my phone line would be tied up during that time, but I could connect with my family all over the world.

What I didn’t realize was that the sound of clicks, rings, and whirls would also connect me to a new family–a family of people who were also living with diabetes.  I would be connected with people who had children the same age as mine with diabetes, older children with diabetes, and people who had diabetes themselves.  I would be accepted and welcomed into a family that would always be there for me through diabetes issues and even much more private ones.  They would be there with cyber hugs and real hugs when we would meet.  They would be available at all hours to talk and share.

???????????????????????????????Today, times are a little different.  The internet has evolved.  We now connect on Facebook, through emails or even the occasional text. The bond and the appreciation has not changed at all however.  I look forward to conferences when I get to see many of them.  I continue to plan to one day get back to Florida in July of some year to be able to sit around the hotel and chat with many more of this family that I don’t see often enough.

???????????????????????????????In the meantime however, I can now peruse through this cookbook and see many familiar names. I can sample recipes that I have drooled over in online photos.  With each page, I see love and compassion.  The layout of the cookbook takes me back to many of my favorite old cookbooks and I know without a doubt that this will become one of my new favorites!

If you haven’t ordered your cookbook, I would encourage you to head over to the Diabetes Scholars website and get one before they are sold out. There was only a limited number printed.  The goal is to be able to send three families to the Friends for Life conference in Florida and it only costs you $20!

That is one of my recipes in the bottom left 🙂

Thank you so much to Jane, Kara, Stacey, Mary and all of the others who contributed and put this book together. Thank you for bring a little piece of my diabetes family into my kitchen!


Did he really just inject at his table? Cool!

We went out for Sunday brunch the other day.  We ended up in a quaint little spot downtown.  The decor was amazing.  The atmosphere was lovely.  The food was okay.

As I sat munching on my food and sipping my tea, I happened to see the man in the booth across from my rise up his shirt.  I admit that I was taken aback.  I stopped and looked a little longer.  Why was this man showing off his belly in a restaurant?

The reason was quickly apparent as I saw the insulin pen being jabbed into him.  Is it wrong that when I see someone injecting or using a pump I still want to say “Hey! My son does that too! How do you find that regimen is working for you? How long have you been dealing with diabetes? Do you have any interest in using an insulin pump or do you prefer injections?”

Of course I actually say nothing and return to my tea and burger.  In my mind I do wonder if he tested before he ate. I didn’t see him test. To be honest, if it hadn’t been for a decent flash of torso, I wouldn’t have noticed him injecting either.

Why do people get offended by seeing someone test or inject at a restaurant? This man was relatively discreet.  He had a bit of equipment to deal with after the fact but that was more of an inconvenience for his partner at his table and since it was a table for four and there was only two, I don’t think that she was bothered by it either.

Yes, I had a glimpse of his stomach.  Yes, there was a glimpse of something blue.  Had I not have used the exact same pen for my son 15 years ago, I would probably have been clueless that it held a needle on the other end and that it was injecting him with insulin.

There was nothing horrifying about the procedure and yet I am sure that some people would have made a scene about it.  I really don’t understand why.

Last week, I went to a JDRF walk luncheon.  At my table were two people with diabetes.  I saw the woman beside me test.  I saw them both bring out their pumps at one point.  Again, if I hadn’t known what I was seeing, I would probably have been completely clueless as to what I had witnessed.

taking shotSo again,  why do people make a big deal about it? Why do people feel the need to make a fuss? I have heard of co-workers complaining because their colleague is injecting in the office.  I have heard of people making rude comments because someone injected life saving insulin in a restaurant.  I really don’t see why its any of their business or how it could possibly impact their lives.  If the person tested and squirted blood across the room at them, well they would have a reason to complain but that is pretty rare.  Most of the time if someone is shooting blood its at a sibling rather than a complete stranger!

Personally, I think that people perhaps should spend a bit more time concerned with interacting with those at their own tables rather than worrying about what is going on elsewhere. What do you think?


Luck of the Irish

I am not Irish.  I have never really thought much about St. Patrick’s Day.  As a grade school child, it was a day to make shamrocks and wear green to school.  Over the course of the years, it was just another day.  That was until the year 2000.

That was the year that we all spent wondering if the banks would shut down.  Would the Y2K issue crash everything that we had come to rely on? How would our lives change? Well, Y2K never really seemed to impact much but the year 2000 did forever change my life. It was the year that my two year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and was given just 24 hours to live.

For 15 years, March 17 has been a day of sadness and celebration. I grieve for the life my son never got to have–a life without carb counting, injections or blood glucose tests.  Its been a day when I relive every minute of naivety, fear, panic, and gratitude.

Fifteen years later, I live in a city that celebrates St. Patrick’s day with a holiday.  I have had the opportunity to go to Ireland and fall in love with the country’s rich history.  I enjoy listening to many lively Irish tunes.  Its listening to those songs and thinking of this day that led my mind ot wonder if perhaps it was that Irish luck that protected us all of those years ago.

Perhaps it was the whisper of a leprechaun that put my son to the front of the cue in the doctor’s office on that St. Paddy’s day so many years ago.

The doctor who would go on to look after my son from ICU to an independent teen could have been an oversized leprechaun…with a different color beard of course.  He was definitely a stroke of luck.  He was one of the few doctors in that area who were forward thinking with their prescription of insulin regiments. He also believed in allowing us to learn and grow with my son’s diabetes care.

It was definitely the luck of the Irish that led me to make one of my first ever online searches for “parents of children with diabetes”.  It brought me to an online email support group that would become my lifeline.  With the stroke of a few keys, I “met” people from all over the world who would become my family.  I met people who knew exactly what I was dealing with and could help me to find my way.

I found mentors and friends who would be with me through the highs and the lows.  We would stay connected, meet on occasion and always been there for one another.

Through them, I would find the strength to go forward and help other people.  I would find a way to make a mark and hopefully improve the lives of other families living with diabetes.

March 17, 2000 changed our world.  It showed us the insidious nature of type 1 diabetes.  The luck of the Irish has been with us in  many ways however.  We have received  numerous gifts along this bumpy path.

Fifteen years later, my son is on the verge of graduating high school. Type 1 diabetes is just something that he has lived with for as long as he can remember. I would still give anything for him not to have to deal with this but its a part of him that he has come to accept.  March 17 is a day to celebrate the luck of the Irish, the blessing of those tricky little leprechauns, and the day that my son received his first injection of life saving insulin.

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Seeing Blue…still

In July of 2011, I sat down and posted my thoughts on the blue candles.  Those of us in the Diabetes Online Community know them all too well. They are candles lit when a person with diabetes loses their fight with this disease.  

Once again the candles are lit.  A Canadian girl.  A 17 year old young lady who would soon graduate.  A child the same age as my son.  I don’t know the details. I don’t need to know. I can’t begin to imagine the family’s pain. I can’t even think about it. I would be swallowed up by the grief and the sadness. 

Blue Candles–they are the candles that we light in cyberspace to remember someone with diabetes who has lost the fight. Each month, each week, we seem to see these images pop up across the online community.  As profile pictures are changed on Facebook stories emerge, fears grow and the desire for a cure is that much stronger.

Most recently the candles were lit for a bright, young fourteen year old girl. She was diagnosed when she was four years old.  She laid down for a nap and her father found her dead on her bed a few hours later.  The story sends chills down my spine.  She did not die at night. She passed away sometime during the afternoon.  We do not know many of the details.  We only know that she was far too young to die.

I don’t tell my son about these stories any more. He is almost the same age and has had diabetes for a few years more than she did. I don’t light candles on my Facebook profile.  I don’t write about half of the stories that I hear.  I can’t. I read about these children–whether they are fourteen or forty, they are still someone’s children.  My heart breaks for the parents and the families. I hug my boys a little closer. I pray a little harder. I hope for the very best.

I was reading a story one day of another child lost and of course had teared up a little. Someone told me that many children sadly die each day.  It could be a complication from cancer or an asthma attack but other diseases kill as well. It was suggested that I can’t focus on these deaths and be obsessed or paranoid. I reassured this person that I wasn’t. I read. I mourn. My heart aches for the families and I grieve for the life cut short before its time.

It is true that our children die crossing the street, riding in cars and playing in swimming pools.  As parents, we do our very best to protect them.  We teach them to look both ways before crossing the street. We put them in car seats and demand that they were seat belts.  We teach them water safety and we warn them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.  All in all we do our very best to guide them and pray that they will be okay.

As parents of children with diabetes, we do all of that “normal” stuff and then we do a little more.  We work to help them to recognize highs and lows.  We test them as often as we can.  We keep tight control to prevent complications and fear going too far and having to wake to a child gone because of a low.  These fears are real. They do not keep me up all night but they do wake me up at 2am to test.  They do not stop me from letting my son be a child but it does make me check his pockets for glucose and his cell phone when he goes out.

As a parent, I cannot protect either of my children 24/7 for the rest of their lives. I wish I could. As much as I love watching them grow, think and spread their wings, part of me craves for the days past when I held them tight and could keep them safe in my arms.  They are growing. My oldest son is driving and almost out of school.  My youngest is well into his teen aged years and venturing off on his own more and more.  Diabetes or not, I can only pray I have done my best, continue to do as much as I can and leave the rest up to a higher power.

Last night was my son’s first night home after a few weeks away. I went to bed and woke a few hours later than I had planned to but he was low. The story behind one of the recently light blue candles played itself out in the back of my head. After 45 minutes and a lot of juice, his blood glucose levels were back in range and I could return to bed. I said a prayer of thanks that I woke up to test him. I prayed for families who were not so lucky.  I touched my son’s hair and wanted to hold him tight and kiss him gently on the forehead like I used to when he was small. He is now a teen. If I did anything beyond quietly touch his hair he would wake up creeped out and would claim nightmares for the rest of the night! Instead, I watched him sleep and I thanked God that he was alive, healthy and happy.

I will test my son at all hours. I will remind him to bolus.  I will deal with late night lows.  I will demand to know where he is going when he leaves the house. I will preach the evils of smoking, drug use and the dangers of too much alcohol.  That is my job and I need to know that when I close my eyes I have done that job to the best of my ability. This will never guarantee the 100% safety of either of my boys but its my very best and that is all a parent can ever do.

What can $400,000 buy?

According to MoneySense.ca, the average cost of raising a child to age 18 is a whopping $243,660.  

According to my calculations, the medical costs of a child with type 1 diabetes diagnosed at 2 until he is 18 years of age is $151,323.  That means that raising this child until he is 18 probably cost close to $400,000 in total!

old houseFor $400,000 I could have paid off a really nice house.  Actually knowing the cost of my first and second homes, I could have paid off more than one!

For $400,000 I could have travelled the world. I could have taken safaris in Africa or wandered the streets of Paris.  I could have enjoyed the tropical beaches of Bali.

For $400,000 I could have owned some amazing cars. I could have had my dream green Jaguar or a lovely Stingray Corvette.

$400,000.  Its not enough money to live on forever but I could have done a lot of things with it but that didn’t happen.  $400,000 kept a child in clothes.  It kept a roof over his head. It tried to keep pace with his ever growing appetite.  It paid for life saving medical equipment.

For $400,000 I got a lot more than cars, trips or a new home. For $400,000 I have been able to touch the tiny hand of a new little person.  I was able to watch him bravely take his first steps.  I was able to watch him master hide-and-go-seek as he stealthy hid under a pile of laundry for hours, never revealing his position.

SCN_0002I was able to hold him tight as he lay scared in the hospital as his body worked to repair itself after being deprived of insulin for too long.  I was able to watch him play with his friends who would protect him and tell any adult who was curious that their friend’s pancreas had broken so he had to receive needles.

$400,000 bought me a young man with a quick wit whose strong arms can take away some of the greatest pain. It gave me my son–alive and healthy.  The value of my children is far beyond any dollar value that you could imagine.

Children are expensive. That is a fact.  Their needs are great.  Children with diabetes have an added expense that they will have for their entire lives.  The value of both and children with diabetes is immeasurable however. From the minute we know of their existence, our children grab hold of our hearts and never let go.  We do our best to protect them.  We are there to hold them and dust them off when things don’t go according to plan.  Through the ups and downs, they remain a very special part of us. They are worth far more than just $400,000.