Embracing Life & the Child with the Disease

Posts tagged ‘family’

After Dinner D-discussion

A VERY protective and defensive BIG brother


After dinner tonight, Ethan, with much frustration, began to tell us about his science class today.  They were discussing photosynthesis and how plants produce glucose in this process. The teacher began to discuss glucose and, according to Ethan, decided to equate how glucose works in our bodies.  And, you guessed it, diabetes came up.

And it came up like it usually does.  All diabetes lumped into one generic term.  It all begins with being overweight.  It all has to do with too much sugar.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

And Ethan was, again, upset. He said she was also asking questions about diabetes.  Like:  What hormone is needed in diabetes?  What happens to the body when blood glucose is high?  Low?  What you do to lower or raise blood glucose?  Ethan said he looked around and he was the ONLY one answering questions.

I told him last time this happened in Maryland that he is absolutely allowed to RESPECTFULLY correct a teacher when they insinuate or SAY that diabetes is caused by being overweight.  Or when they generalize things into one narrow category. I encouraged him to raise his hand and say that not all diabetes is the same.  That not all who have diabetes have it because of poor life habits.  That HIS BROTHER has Type 1 diabetes and that his body will NEVER produce insulin again.

And then I went on my own tyraide in laymans terms about how the immune system went haywire and attacked the cells that produce insulin and attacked them until they were all gone.  I told him that unlike hair and nails that these cells do not grow back.  They are all gone.  And I answered a few questions he had.  Then Ryan asked a few and I answered them simply, very un-medically, but in a way they understand.

Then I offered to email the teacher and just tell her to ask Ethan about his Type 1 diabetic brother.


He sheepishly declined ( I think he didn’t want to burn a bridge with his teacher so early in the year).

He did say he approached her after class and told her that his brother was a Type 1 and he felt she acted almost as if she was busted (his words not mine).

By this time, I was completely and totally frustrated.  And trying very hard to maintain as much calm and civility as possible.  But my mouth was going ninety to nothin’ about diabetes and what it is and what it is not and spitting out every bit of medical information that I knew, even when they weren’t listening . . . at least I thought they weren’t listening.

Then totally out of the blue, interrupting my spewing, Ryan said, “Mom!  How do you know so much about diabetes?”

And for a moment everyone froze and was silent.

And I thought …. Huh?!?!?

Then Jason, being every so very Jason, said, “Because she has a son with Type 1 diabetes!”

And the room erupted with laughter.


Hope in #17

Yesterday, Jason came home with 5 tickets to the Dallas Stars game ~ not just any tickets, but company BOX SEAT tickets.  The boys screamed like little girls when I told them the news.  We are NOT big hockey fans.  It’s not that we don’t like the sport, we really just don’t know much about it.  As most of you know, we are really more of a football family!  Shoot, we live in Texas, so we’re supposed to be.  So the excitement to go to this game was not about the Stars, it was actually about DIABETES.  And it’s a story of hope for our family.  It’s the story of #17 Toby Petersen.

Toby and Ryan, both dx'd at age 5

In July, we went to a JDRF kick-off dinner event for our Walk in September.  Petersen was the keynote speaker for the evening; you can read more about our dinner here.  We were still so early in the d-game that seeing someone who had been dx’d at the same age as Ryan and was now pursuing his dreams in professional sports, well, it was emotionally moving for this d-momma to say the least.  But since then, Petersen has been labeled one of Ryan’s heroes/role models. 

I’ve never been to a professional hockey game before.  The boys did once last season, but really weren’t very in to it then.  But last night, it was AWESOME.  The box was great, the seats were great, the boys LOVED that a food buffet was right there and they could go get what they wanted.  Of course, d did tag along, as usual, we can’t just leave it at home or turn it off for a while.  😦  BUT, it did cooperate! Anyway,  for buffets, as I’m sure all d-families do but maybe not all, Ryan goes through the line, gets his plate and then sits down and we do some carb calculating (aka GUESSING) and then take his sugar and administer insulin. 

This is what it looks like. 🙂

Ignore my creepy expression & NOTE THE NON-D BOY!

ATTENTION D-MOMS . . . I have included this second picture of the glucose monitoring, carb calculating and insulin administering for you.  Please, as much as you can, try to ignore the horrid look on my face.  I have no idea! But I was scrolling through the pics last night on my laptop and saw this one and almost vomited!  Not because of d or because of Ryan or even the expression on my face (although it did make me a little queezy).  LOOK AT MY BABY BOY!  I cemented a note- to-self in my mind last night to NEVER let d steal my focus so much that I allow my other children to wander into grave danger.  Aaron looks like he’s about to hop over that 12 inch plastic guard and plummet down to the floor seats below.  OH.MY.WORD.  Not my proudest moment as a mom!!!!

Moving on . . .

My job for the 60 minutes of play was to point out every time Petersen entered the ice.  So the whole game, I was yelling and pointing, “There’s Petersen!”  or “Toby’s back out!”  And immediately six little eyes were glued on #17 until he barreled back over the wall to rest in the box.  I was sure the people behind us thought we knew him personally!

It was a wonderful night.  We laughed and hooted and hollered together.  We all got bummed out all at the same time when the Stars were up 3-2 and Ethan started the 10-second countdown to end the game.  I can still hear E next to me, “10-9-8-7-6 . . . WHAT!?!?!?!?  You’ve got to be stinkin’ kidding me! You couldn’t stop ’em for FIVE MORE SECONDS!!!”  The Ducks scored with 5.4 seconds left in the game locking it up 3-3. And only 1:42 into the five-minute over-time, the Ducks scored!  BUM.MER.

I don’t know what Toby Petersen really means to Ryan at this point in his life.  I don’t even think he thinks about how d COULD limit his life if he lets it.  And I’m so thankful for that.  It would be just fine with me if that thought NEVER crossed his mind. Ever!  But what Toby Petersen and others like Jay Cutler, Sean Busby, Kris Freeman, Nick Jonas, Crystal Bowersox and so many more does for this d-momma’s heart . . . there simply are no words.  NONE.  I can tell my diabetes boy that d doesn’t have to stop him, to limit him, to keep him from his dreams.  It just might mean he might have to work a “little harder than the average bear.” (words taken from Petersen’s keynote speech at the JDRF dinner in July). 

FACT: #17 offered HOPE to our family last night and all he was doing was playing a little hockey!

(see all pics on my Facebook page!)

Happy for HOPE!