Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Diabetes Poetry Day

Eleanor (7) wrote the following poem about diabetes.

Ouchie Ouchie prick your finger
get a tissue, get a tissue!
Well, that didn't help, so get some StingEze

Her 13 year old brother, Kenneth,  a type 3 like me, wrote this diabetes haiku

Her Dexcom buzzes.
"What does Dexie say?" Mom asks.
Two hundred fourteen.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Send your kids to diabetes camp! Even if you're anxious! Do it anyway!

This is my second time to participate in diabetes blog week.  It's kind of amazing that here we are a year into life with D. When I participated the first time I was such a newbie! Eleanor had only had diabetes for two months.

Let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up. Are you passionate about 504 plans and school safety? Do diabetes misconceptions irk you? Do you fight for CGM coverage for Medicare patients, SDP funding, or test strip accuracy? Do you work hard at creating diabetes connections and bringing support? Whether or not you “formally” advocate for any cause, share the issues that are important to you. (Thanks go out to Kim of Texting my Pancreas for inspiring this topic.)

So, my big point of advocacy is very simple really. You want to change the world?  It's just to encourage all the D-Mamas out there to let go just a little and send their kids to Diabetes Camp.  Find one near you, or find a really good one that you have to put your youngster on a plane to get them there, but find one and pack them up and send them on their way.  You can change your child's world with that one gesture.

A year ago I would have told you you were crazy to suggest that I send my newly diagnosed daughter off to Camp Sweeney for three entire weeks at the tender age of six.  I even called the camp and asked, "Do people actually do this? Do people actually send their six year olds out there for three solid weeks?!" The good folks on the phone assured me that people do.

Not long after, we were very pleased to discover free passes to Camp Sweeney's Spring Fling in our packets from the early diabetes education classes we took at Dallas Children's Hospital.  By that point she was begging us to find her some friends who also had diabetes, so we bundled up the whole family, rolled up our sleeping bags and spent a weekend at Camp Sweeney for their Spring Fling.

By the end of that single weekend, my husband and I had turned a complete 180° from our original position.  When we started we had absolutely no intention of sending her to camp out there.  We only wanted to go to the Spring Fling in the hopes that she might meet a couple of girls with diabetes and make some diabuddy pen pals.  But, by the time the weekend was over, we looked at each other and shrugged realizing that Camp Sweeney was so amazing, and had so much to offer her that we could not in good conscience deny her an opportunity to go.

A diabetes camp can give your child something you can never give them.  It's that simple.  They go out there and for that time they are just like everyone else.

Plus… really, don't be a martyr.  You can have a break once a year! Those counselors are amazing! It's highly competitive, the kids in med school vie for the jobs at these camps.  They are able to hire the best  of the best because so many people want the jobs.  The staff absolutely blew my mind, not just with their medical knowledge, although that was stellar, but with their people skills.  They made the whole thing energetic and fun.  I know you've heard that before… but seriously… these people are like cheerleaders; life coaches; and older siblings all rolled into one.

If you've been reluctant to send your child with diabetes to a summer camp, please give it some additional thought.  At the very least, find out when the open house is at the camp, and at least go to that.  There's nothing scary about taking the whole family to the camp for the afternoon to go check it out.  It won't require a commitment.  If you can go to a weekend spring fling as a family, even better.   Give it a chance.  You owe it to your child to give them diabetes camp. You owe it to your child to change their world.  There is nothing else like it on earth.