February 10, 2011

2 Years Ago Today...

2 Years Ago Today...February 10, 2009...Allison was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 5. 

I have never written her diagnosis story and planned on doing that for my post today.  However, I have once again changed my tune :)  If you have been reading Life is Like a Box of Chocolates this week, you know that I have been hosting some guest bloggers - and they are speaking from experience, as they are PWD (people with diabetes).  As a D-Mama, I am gaining so much insight from these Type 1 bloggers and I am so grateful for their perspectives. 

The first guest post was "Diabetes Doesn't Define You" by Sarah at I Don't Have Diabetes I've Got "Tha Suga".  Then Haley from Naturally Sweet wrote a sweet letter to Ally in  "Every Day is a New Day for You to Shine".  Well, today I have another treat for you! 

The guest blogger today does not blog about diabetes; she just lives with it. 

My Sweet Allison has something to share.  She wanted to write a letter back to Haley.  The funny thing is that when we read the letter from Haley at the beginning of the week, she wanted to respond right away.  Then she asked me if I could hold onto it and make sure that we sent it to her on Thursday, February 10.  So here it goes...

Dear Haley,

Thank you for your letter. I’ve had Diabetes for 2 years. Today is February 10th the day I was diagnosed with Diabetes. And guess what? Today is the 100th day of school too!

My dad wasn't home when I was diagnosed but he met us at the hospital in time.  Being in the hospital wasn't fun at all.  I had to have a needle in my arm, they were pricking my finger all night Sad , I got a lot of shots, and I couldn’t eat a lot of food. It was hard to go to the bathroom too because there was a needle in my arm and a big cord on it. Everybody had to go in there with me which I hated. Angry

It was kind of fun when people brought me food to eat though. I also liked it when people came to visit me and brought me presents. My favorite present was the really big stuffed penguin that my kindergarten class gave me. My teacher, Mrs. Pangalangan, came to visit me in the hospital and gave it to me, so I named him the Pangalangan Penguin.

I think you are very nice because you said nice things to me. Your letter made me happy. You really made me want to go to diabetes camp.  If I get to go to diabetes camp, I will write to you and tell you all about it.Smile

Red heart Ally

And she has some things to say to Sarah too...stay tuned!


February 8, 2011

Guest Blogger: "Every Day is a New Day for you to Shine!"

In case you missed my Diabetes Doesn't Define You post yesterday, today is the second of a very special series of posts.  I am hosting a few guest bloggers here on Life is Like a Box of Chocolates.  These posts by guest bloggers are extra special because they are written by People With Diabetes (PWD).  I am so grateful to them for sharing their perspective with us - a perspective that I so long to have in hopes of better understanding what my T1 daughter goes through.

Today I am so excited to share something so incredibly sweet from a PWD.  And it couldn't have come from a sweeter gal....Haley from Naturally Sweet! 

Haley is the youngest blogger that I personally follow.  She was also one of the first blogs that I read written by a Type 1 person herself.  I read many blogs, most of which are written by D Mamas, so when I found Naturally Sweet, I was really captivated.  The first post that I read by Haley was Deathly Mistakes, where she told us about one of her experiences as a new driver, who happens to have type 1 diabetes.  That was one of the first times that I clearly remember thinking about Ally as a teenager, who also happens to have type 1 diabetes.  I got chills and then I wanted to read more.  I hope that I will be able to follow Haley and other PWD's blogs for a long time and continue to gain a new perspective!

Haley wrote a priceless letter to my 7 year old daughter and I can't wait for you to read it!

Dear Allison,

I’m Haley.  I’ve been a diabetic for six whole years!  I’m friends with your mom and I get to read about you every day!  Your mom tells me how strong and silly you are!  Ally, I want you to know that you are doing something so amazing and hard.  Your life is different from all your friends.  You do an amazing job taking care of yourself.  I understand about those days where you want to cry and slam doors- I’ve done it too!  A lot of days diabetes just stinks.

But sometimes having diabetes is a good thing.  My absolutely favorite thing about having diabetes is that I get to go to a camp every summer.  This summer will be my 6th year at camp.  I started only a few months after I got diabetes.  I didn't like the idea and I was nervous about making friends.  However, I must tell you that going to diabetes camp was the best choice we have ever made.  I made friends for life and it completely changed my outlook on diabetes.  Personally I feel there is nothing better than being around people who understand your diabetes.  I have so many friends with diabetes now!  My favorite part about it is we get to test out blood sugars together.  Sometimes I’ll call my friends up telling them I’m high, and they will say “omg me too!” it makes it so much easier to deal with.  At my camp we get to stay in really cool cabins with bunk beds!  Every day we do activities such as play sports, arts and crafts, kayak on the lake, go rock climbing, swimming in the pool, and so much more!  Every night we do special activities like have a luau, a dance, and play flash light tag.  We also do cabin pranks; which are always a laugh.  One year the boys cabin came in and put toilet paper all over the cabin!  We got back at them by stealing their underwear and hanging it up on the flag pole for everyone to see!!  Diabetes camp is definitely my favorite part of the year.  I guarantee you will absolutely love your diabetes camp.

I believe you are an incredible girl.  You will grow up and do extraordinary things.  Don’t let anybody tell you that your different, and certainly do not let diabetes slow you down.  As long as you remember that you are Allison, not Allison with diabetes, then you will go very far.  You are unbearably strong.  I was much older than you when I was diagnosed and I don’t believe I could ever have the kind of courage you do.  Every day is a new day for you to shine and show the world that nothing will ever bring you down.  Keep your head up and remember you are amazing!

Much love,


Big hugs to you Sweet Haley for writing such a meaningful letter to my litte girl.  We have printed it and will keep it forever!


February 7, 2011

Guest Blogger: "Diabetes Doesn't Define Who You Are"

As I promised yesterday, I am changing my tune this week.  With Ally's D-Day (that's what we call her diagnosis day) approaching, I want to really take the time to understand her perspective.  I am going to do a short series of guest posts from some very special PWD (People With Diabetes). 

(For my friends who follow my blog, that means that we are going to hear from some bloggers who have first hand experience with this disease.)

My first Type 1 guest blogger is Sarah from I Don't Have Diabetes I've Got "Tha Suga"!  Sarah is an adult with type 1 diabetes.  She has been living with this disease since she was four years old.

The first post that I read on Sarah's blog was He Held Me, where she described what she recalls from a recent bad low.  It touched me so deeply.  I cried because I wondered if that is how my daughter feels when she is low.  I cried because I JUST DON'T KNOW how she feels.

The really cool and interesting thing is that I apparently had the same tear inducing effect on her...read about it in her post Connection.  I know, I know, I asked her to blog today.  I'll move on to that now....because it is wonderful!  But I will have to revisit and respond to her awesome post again because it is so worthy.

Thank you so much, Misty, for letting me blog for you today.  It is a joy and honor to do this for you.

Today, I want to speak to not just Ally, but all the children and teens who have diabetes.  There are things I want you to know and to remember as you grow up with diabetes.

As a good friend once told me, don’t ever let diabetes stop you from doing what you want to do and being who you want to be.  Sure, as you grow older and diabetes becomes more and more of your life than you want it to be, at times will seem to be that some things will be impossible to do, but remember that nothing is impossible.  Yes, they may be a little harder and some goals may need more work to achieve, but never ever let that stop you from being the person you were meant to be.  Whether that means growing up to be a painter, police officer, doctor, nurse, or anything else you may dream of being.  Be who you want to be.

If things get hard at school and you’re being bullied or picked on and you’ve done your best to explain diabetes to the bully/picker, don’t be scared to tell someone.  It’s never right to sit back and let someone pick on you and make you feel bad for something you could not help.  The kids that are picking on you may not know any better nor may they realize what you go through every day to live, and they need to have someone explain to them that what you have is no picking matter.  I’ve been there and have been hurt by many classmates who didn’t understand and instead of telling, I took the blame and felt ashamed.  You should never feel ashamed of your diabetes.  If you need help, always ask your teacher or your parents to help you tell your classmates so they understand.

I know it’s hard feeling different sometimes.  You have to take shots or wear a pump.  You have to prick your fingers a lot to make sure you’re sugar is okay.  You feel dizzy and tired and scared and panicked and frustrated when your sugar is low.  You feel thirsty and sluggish and grumpy when you’re high. But one thing you have to always remember is that other people have never felt what you have felt when you’re high or low.  They may know that your sugar is not at a good number right now, but they can’t feel what you are feeling inside.  It took me a long time to realize this, and one of the best things you can do is try to explain what it feels like.  Even if you have to say things like “I feel like I have a cottonball in my mouth! (when you’re high)” or “Mom, this low is making my skin feel funny (when things happen like your lips go numb or something like that)”.  Help them try to understand as much as they can about how you feel however you can describe it.

And when you get older and become a teenager and it seems like everyone is just “getting up in your business” and it seems like they just won’t leave you alone about your diabetes, remember what I said before.  They can’t feel what you do.  They can’t fully see how you feel.  They’re just concerned for you.  Moms, dads, and caregivers can only do what they know and what they’ve learned about how to take care of you.  It’s up to you to help them by being understanding that they love you with all their hearts and they are not trying to impose on your growing freedom, but they are just trying to be there for the person they love most – their child.  They love you with all their being, and they just want you to be as healthy as you can be.

Also, always remember, no matter how young or old you are or how long you’ve been diabetic, it’s ok to get mad/frustrated with it.  It’s okay every now and then to have a fit, cry, even yell and scream at diabetes.  If you have to, get a pillow and write “Diabetes” on it and use it as a punching bag.  Just let it all out, but then turn that anger into an attitude of “I can do this.  I will not let diabetes get the best of me” and move on with the rest of your day.

I know it can be hard to live with diabetes, but just know from me and all the other diabetics that have grown up, it doesn’t define who you are.  You are a wonderful person and you are loved by so many people – diabetes and all.

Thank you so much Sarah!


February 6, 2011

I'm Changing My Tune!

Well, it appears that "changing my tune" is a popular theme for the DOC lately.  There was much discussion about the change in tune that JDRF will be making.  In case you missed it, read this article about new president and CEO, Jeffrey Brewer, and JDRF's new direction.

Wendy also changed her tunes on Candy Hearts after a survey revealed that the majority of people prefer to not have music playing in the background while reading a blog post.  She got me thinking about my own playlist on my blog.  You see, I love to hear the music, but I realized that I also "mute" it when I am reading.  So...the first tune I'll be changing is my playlist.  It will still remain on my blog, and you can find it by scrolling down to the bottom of the home page, however, it will no longer play "automatically" when you open my site.  You will have to manually press the play button to hear the music.

But my music playlist is not the only Tune I'm Changing! 

I have also been playing around with the fonts on my blog.  I'm not completely happy, so I'll be fine tuning that as well.

But the real story is about my upcoming blog posts.  You see, I believe that a change is in order.  Boy do I have a treat planned for you!  And I'm not talking about this week's sugar bolus.  (You will have to visit The Princess and the Pump for that!)

We are approaching Ally's 2 year D Anniversary this week.  I have been doing a lot of reflecting.  I realized that it has been almost a year since I started this blog.  My tune has changed since last year and we are approaching our D-Day in a whole new way!

I am a D Mama and I write about my experiences as a "fill in pancreas" for my 7 year old daughter.  Once in a while I mention Ally's thoughts, her actions, in hopes of getting a glimpse inside of her life as a person with type 1 diabetes.  But reality is that I can never completely understand what she goes through, what she feels.  So...I have contacted a couple of very special people with type 1 diabetes.  I have invited them to be guest bloggers for me this week.  I asked them to change my perspective....to help me get a peek inside my sweet daughter's head.  And I promise, they did not let me down!!!  I can't wait to share their insights with all of you!

Stay tuned.....


February 4, 2011

Good Friday to you!

I was just reading Amy's post on Three Thirty Three about Good Fridays.  She took the lead from the Diapeepees blog and it looks fun to me!  You can read more about Good Fridays here.

I think it is a fantastic idea to focus on happy happenings of the week. I often wonder if people will stop reading my blog if all I write about is the "unfriendliness" of diabetes. So, here we go....my top three, non-diabetic, happy occurrences of this week....
Happy Good Friday to you!

1.   Having my girls home on "snow days" is awesome!  I really do miss them when they are gone for 8 1/2 hours each day.  We had extra time to play board games, read stories together and just do "girly stuff" (you know, paint fingernails, put on make-up, that kind of stuff!)

2.  Finding new, healthy recipes that my family loves is rewarding!  I recently picked up a couple of great cookbooks with fun recipes for kids with diabetes (oh, you'll have to wait to hear about those!!!  And oh no! Did I break the rules???  This is supposed to be non-diabetes "happies".  Well, it's healthy eating, not diabetes eating!!).  Ally and I had fun planning and preparing several meals together this week.  The kids didn't even know that they were eating healthy!!

3.  Watching my girls giggle while watching a play at the Town Hall Theatre is priceless!  My girls love going to the local children's theatre.  We had the opportunity to go to a Berenstain Bear's play this week with 5 of their cousins.  What a fun night!

So those are some of our happy moments this week.  Won't you share yours next week?


February 1, 2011

Ice Ice Baby!

Today was another "snow day" and the kids were home from school.  With all of the power outages around us, it looks like tomorrow may be the same.  It is actually due to the quarter inch of ice that we have covering everything! 

The weathermen have been warning us for days that this storm was coming.  Although the report changed from day to day, it would appear that we were right in the line to receive something!  (Possibly rain, possibly a wintery mix of freezing rain and ice, possibly snow!)  How bad it would be...well, just like always, we'd wait and see.  My kids did their normal "snow dance" and bedtime routine of wearing pjs inside out and backwards, putting a spoon under their pillow, flushing an ice cube down the toilet, and sleeping at the wrong end of their beds.  Check out what I found when I went in to check Ally's blood sugar at midnight.

Love it!
I went to the grocery Monday - because this is the day that I usually go to the grocery.  Thank you to the hype that the weathermen had given this storm...so did EVERYONE else in my neighborhood and beyond!  Everyone was there to stock up before the storm. 

And, I let the pressure of the frenzy get to me, I did stock up on a few extra items just in case! 

I remember once, about 12 years ago, when we were stuck for 2 weeks because of ice!  I was teaching first grade at the time and we literally did not have school one day for 2 whole weeks - it took that long for the ice to melt.  I remember my roommate and I going stir crazy in our 2 bedroom apartment.  Luckily, that was a once in a lifetime ( I hope! ) experience.

Remembering that ice storm and this grocery frenzy got me thinking.  How are my levels of D supplies (insulin, test strips, lancets, alcohol swabs, lidocaine cream, ketone strips, juice, glucose tablets)?  What if the UPS man can't get here to deliver the pump supplies that we are running low on (reservoirs, infusion sets, sensors).  So many things that I could run out of.  Would I be able to get to the pharmacy if we were "stranded" here for a couple of days?   If our power goes out (it's already flickering and I'm nervous) what do I need to make sure to think of?  Insulin has to stay cold...well that shouldn't be a problem since its freezing outside and I know where to find plenty of ICE!  What else?

Well, I really hope that I don't find out the answer to those questions...but it makes a girl think!

Stay safe..and warm!



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