Be All In! Right Where I Am

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Due to my very FULL life 😉 I have not been able to draw on Fridays with my friend Debbie for a few weeks. I miss it so much! And today is no exception…I will miss being there, tracing the lines of the autumn flowers in the beautiful setting at the Ciener Botanical Gardens.

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But I will be with the sweetest of T1D kids, my beautiful daughter Maddie as we go to the Joslin Diabetes Center for a check up with Kathie Cooper, Diabetes Educator Extraordinaire. The Botanical Gardens can wait.  I will relish this time with my rising 6th grader, as there will be many Fridays coming up where she will be in a classroom and I won’t be able to spend time with her.

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Note: This is another key to Artful Living!

I am tired of wishing I were somewhere else, doing something else,

when I could embrace what I have right in front of me, and find joy and beauty there!

*You do know, that I am preaching to myself more than I am to any of you!

But since you’re here, can I hear an “Amen!” ? 🙂

A Line for Maddie

Friends of ours who went to live overseas, said to those of us sending them off, that we were the ones holding the line on the other end for them.  I loved that thought! And, as an artist, the idea that I hold one end of the drawn line as they “draw” the lines of their journey, fascinates, inspires, and touches me deeply.

This is what I envisioned this past Saturday, as we Walked for a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes with our daughter Maddie.  ALL of these people, the long ribbon of folks ahead of and behind us, hold the line for her and for every Type 1 child and adult who lives with this disease. We were ALL connected that day.  All of us joined together by one single line… a HOPE for a cure for juvenile diabetes.

I thought how, for me, this line begins with my daughter and connects to me, my husband (the one carrying the young girls’ jackets:), Maddie’s cousin Zoe, our friend Anna, and all of you!  You who have sent donations (over $500!) and well-wishes and cheers of support for our girl.

Thank you for holding the line for my Maddie! Randy and I are deeply grateful to all of you! Merci.

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Can’t Wait for a Cure!

There are days I long for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes more acutely than others.  Here’s a peek into a day in the life of a 10-year old living with Type 1 Diabetes: (this was just this past Tuesday, so it’s fresh in my mind)

12am: While she sleeps, I test her blood sugar. 338. She had received a new inset (they have to be changed every three days) the evening prior, and often it takes a bit for the inset to “kick in”.  Did a correction (meaning I gave her the amount of insulin needed to bring her blood sugars down.)

4am: I tested her again to make sure the correction worked. 188. Small correction given to bring her blood sugars on down to a healthier level.  80-120 is the target.

7am: She tests for her breakfast bolus. 208. What? Evidence of the typical roller coaster of blood sugars.  Seemingly no rhyme or reason for the elevated level. She boluses via her pump for the insulin needed to take care of high bg and her breakfast carbs.

12:20pm: She tests at school for her lunchtime bolus. 235. ? Not enough of a bolus for her morning snack? An anxiety-inducing test?(which often causes blood sugars to rise). You just don’t know. She boluses insulin needed for bg and for lunch carbs.

2:45pm: She tests at school as she does every day before getting on the bus. 144. Good. She eats a snack at home without bolusing so she doesn’t “go low”(dangerously low blood sugar level) as she typically does in the afternoon.  This is due to recess being in the afternoon before getting on the bus.  Blood sugars continue to plummet long after the exercise.

4pm: While changing into her gymnastics clothes to get ready for her class, she accidentally pulls off her inset. 🙁 Really? We just did this yesterday!!  The routine of lidocaine-to-inset will have to begin when we get home from gymnastics.  She eats an extra snack to counter the effects of exercise on her blood sugar level.

6pm: She tests for her dinner. 149. Lidocaine (a numbing cream) is put on a spot in her mid-section with press-n-seal placed over it.  This allows the area to become very numb for the inset to be inserted later. She administers to herself a shot of insulin so she can eat dinner. We dash out the door to our son’s Choral Concert at Glenn High School.

8:15pm: Maddie and I leave the concert early so I can put her inset in and hopefully it will start working.

9pm: 116. A great blood sugar level, but for going to bed, it is safer for the level to be a bit higher. She eats a small snack to insure she does not “go low” at night.

12am: I test her to see how her blood sugars are doing. 213. Maybe too much of a snack? Correction given.

***On days like this, when diabetes does NOT understand that you have SO many things going on in your life that you really need and want to do, I long for the day when a cure for Type 1 Diabetes is offered.  It’s hard to imagine.  But this is why we are WALKING TODAY!  Thank you to ALL of you who have given so generously to JDRF, a fabulous organization working tirelessly to find this cure for Maddie!!

We are off to Wake Forest University where there will be scads of people who live with Type 1 Diabetes and their friends and families! You feel such support and camaraderie in this! Maddie’s cousin Zoe is here to walk with her today! She is so excited! We have T-shirts!! We will get to see Sonshyne & Jots, a clown couple who bring joy and festivity to everyone with their tricks and face-painting! We will walk together! We will eat together!

I hope to have a report on the day for you next week!

Thank you, thank you all!

**The above drawing was made of Maddie this summer as she drew with me downtown Kernersville at the Factory.  Many of the portraits I have of her are when she was younger. I need to paint a more recent portrait, as she is growing up to be such a lovely little lady.

Give and You will Receive!

As a special thank you to ALL who have already given and to any who might wish to make a donation to Maddie’s Mission to Cure Diabetes…I will give you a Genevieve Print of your choice!!

Just click on the highlighted words Maddie’s Mission to Cure Diabetes and for any $15 donation or greater, I will send you one of the above Prints of Genevieve (value $12) to thank you!!  You choose which one you want!

This offer closes on Saturday, October 27th, 2012…the day we Walk!!

A Grateful Girl!

A couple of Sundays ago, Maddie told me on our way home, that in Children’s Church, the teacher asked them all a question:

What is something you are thankful for and why?

“Mom”, she said, “I’ve always felt thankful for insulin, and that is what I said.  But I don’t think it ever really hit me, because the reason I said I was thankful for it is ’cause…I wouldn’t be alive.”

I looked back at her in my rear-view mirror.  A sweet smile was on her face. No self-pity there. No desire to be dramatic. Just glad gratitude.

I was the one struggling with the self-pity…or the pity for her.  It  made me remember back to being at Brenner’s, when she was first diagnosed. We had been there a day or so; she was receiving regular shots of insulin. We were all learning the ins and outs of this new life called Living with Diabetes.  The nurses had given her a JDRF bear with a toy shot so she could practice giving him his insulin shots.  I remember her also practicing on us.  And before she would give us the “spot”, she would say, “When I give you this spot, you will never be thirsty again.”

She had realized even in those first hours of her new life, that insulin was what made her feel so so much better.  Her thirst was going away.  She was able to make it to the bathroom and not have to go so much.  She wasn’t hungry all the time.  Her energy was returning.

I am grateful too! I cannot tell you how thankful we are to JDRF and to the support we receive through this organization locally!! Won’t you join us in our gratitude and make a THANK YOU donation to Maddie’s Mission to find a Cure for Diabetes.  They are close! In the next decade we may see a cure for this disease! Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Maddie (and I) will be even more grateful!

And we are so very grateful to those of you who have already given to Maddie’s Mission!!! A big hug to you today!

Mr. Whicker & Maddie: A Diabetes Story

In early December of 2009, Mr. Whicker knocked on our front door.  My parents answered the door, as Randy and I and Maddie were not there.  My parents had come to stay with our two older children since we were at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital.  My parents told Mr. Whicker where we were and why. Maddie had been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.  Mr. Whicker’s eyes filled up with tears and he stood in our doorway and wept.

When my parents recounted this to me, at first I marveled at his compassion. And as my dad continued to tell me that they reassured him things would be alright for Maddie, it dawned on me that in his generation, children who were diagnosed with juvenile diabetes often died, or at least were bound to develop all kinds of eyesight, heart, and nerve problems due to the disease.

We live in a grand time when insulin and so many other discoveries and technological advances have made it possible for children and adults who are diagnosed with this disease to LIVE!!  Not only that, but the efforts of JDRF and others, have made living with Type 1 Diabetes so much less cumbersome and allow for a greater degree of “managing” the blood sugar levels.  As blood sugar levels are maintained within a healthier range, the debilitating effects of diabetes are lessened.  It is still by no means an easy disease to live with.  Compared to “normal” kids, even today’s technology seems cumbersome.  But compared to what it used to be like…we have come a long way!

We celebrate today that our daughter LIVES!!  She enjoys the benefits of so many things that JDRF has played a vital role in providing for her.  Here are just a few:

Maddie’s Test Kits

Won’t you join us in celebrating the HUGE advances the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has been a part of?  Consider donating a few dollars to this organization so that they can continue down the path of finding a cure!

Mr. Whicker and Maddie will be so glad you did!

So will I! 🙂

Maddie’s Pump and Inset

Remember! We Walk for the Cure on October 27th!! Come join us if you’d like!

October means The JDRF Walk!

It’s been TWO YEARS since Maddie and I participated in the JDRF Walk for the Cure.  Last fall was just too crazy and it pained me to have to bow out of it.  I vowed not to let busyness push it out of our calendar this year!! So we are signed up to walk, and would invite ANY of you who would like to walk with us, to please do so!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wake Forest University BB&T Field

Winston-Salem, NC

Registration starts 9 am

Walk begins 10 am

I’ll be posting once a week about this wonderful organization called the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  This group has been around since the 70’s.  Due to their efforts in research and fund-raising, they have literally made it possible for a child with Type 1 Diabetes to LIVE.

When Maddie goes to her appointments at the Joslyn Diabetes Center, she is now told that a cure is around the corner…possibly in the next 5 to 10 years!!  The need for funding is great as they close in on finding a cure and discovering other technological advances that make living with T1D so much more manageable.

If you would like to contribute to this fine organization to help find a cure, PLEASE CLICK HERE! The set up for donating a few dollars is SO simple through the JDRF site.  Maddie’s Mission is the name of our team.  Your contribution, no matter how small, goes to benefitting Maddie and so many of her friends she has met who are also living with Type 1 Diabetes.

We would be truly grateful for your donation!

AND if you’re in the area, please walk with us!!

To read more about Maddie and her diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes when she was 7 years old (she’s now 10!), click here!

And…for all other posts about Type 1 Diabetes, click here!

Joslin Diabetes Center

Maddie and I are enjoying visits to the new Joslin Diabetes Center.  The beautiful bright colors make you forget that the reason you are here is because your child has a life-threatening disease which requires ongoing management and education.  This morning, we met with the wonderful Kathie Cooper, our diabetes educator. I say “our”, because it really is education for ME (maybe moreso) as much as it is  for Maddie.

The start of each school year brings all kinds of preparations and a bit of anxiety.  There are forms to fill out, meetings to “educate” her teachers, sorting out her daily schedule and when things will happen, like lunch, P.E., recess, snack.  We are so thankful for how her elementary school has worked with us in caring for Maddie and assisting her with her diabetes.  This year, she and I are wanting the school to allow her more independence in the management of her Type 1 Diabetes. This might be a little tricky…so I am now armed with the legalities of what school’s should provide by law.  It is both daunting and liberating to work toward my daughter, eventually, being completely independent in her diabetes care.  Maddie is ready for the next steps in this.  I am ready too…I think.

The other thing I have on my radar right now (along with far too many other pressing and huge matters such as, oldest going off to college, mother starting radiation, my own teacher workdays beginning soon…) is the Walk to Cure Diabetes sponsored by JDRF in Winston-Salem, NC on October 27th!!!  Maddie and I missed this last year (largely due to my own overwhelm), but I am determined to not let this year pass us by!  It is such a wonderful event: so encouraging to Maddie and all of us who are affected by Type 1 Diabetes in our families.  I’m hoping to design t-shirts for our team, gather some friends to walk with us, and raise money for a Cure.

Word has it that a Cure could be within the next decade.  That would be a dream come true!

A Day to Honor…

…all those living with Diabetes in whatever form it takes in their lives.  On this day, World Diabetes Day, we are especially remembering the thousands of people, both children and adults who live bravely with Type 1 Diabetes all over the world.  It will be two years on December 7th, that our daughter Maddie was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  She continues to amaze us with how she daily faces this disease, courageously bounces back when it tries to knock her down, and creatively solves “problems” she faces with its limitations.

A recent example of this is how she has chosen to deal with issues arising from taking a gymnastics class.  She has left this weekly class in tears because of the pain of either the teacher accidentally touching her inset while helping her up on an apparatus, or from it hitting a bar as she tries to twirl around it.  Since she did not want to put her inset in her back area (where the insulin does not deliver very well), SHE decided she wants to take out her inset for the duration of the gymnastics class, then come home, put on the lidacaine cream for numbing, and re-insert a fresh inset.  Mind you, the insertion of an inset is not a pain-free process!  But she insists on this, and her dad and I want her to be “in charge” of managing this disease and of her own body.  We salute her bravery, her creativity, and her determination to not let diabetes keep her from doing ANYTHING!

Here’s to ALL who live with diabetes around the world.  We think especially of those children living in areas of the world where diabetes supplies are slim, unattainably expensive for them, and who do not have access to some of the technological advances our children in the U.S. benefit from.  We pray for provision for them, for people to educate, train, and care for them as they manage their diabetes.

If you would like to read more about our own journey with Maddie and Type 1 Diabetes, click on the Category link in the right-hand margin of my blog, titled Type 1.

A Great Day for Walking

On Saturday, October 23rd, my three kids and I went for a beautiful walk around the campus of Wake Forest University.  It wasn’t just any old walk.  It was the Walk for the Cure for Type 1 Diabetes sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation here in the Triad of North Carolina.  It was the third Walk of the season, having hosted Walks in Greensboro and High Point already.

The day dawned glorious! The sun seemed to dance along with our hearts as we walked under the balloon arch. We were walking for a purpose, walking with friends, walking to support our daughter and all children and adults like her who live with this disease.  My heart was full as I walked with friends who came to walk with Maddie:  her soccer coach and his daughter who is a teammate of Maddie’s, a nurse and dear friend from Baptist (not pictured here; she was taking the picture!), my parents, and both of my teenagers.

As I walked, I also remembered the numerous people who had given to JDRF in Maddie’s honor…friends both near and far who couldn’t join us at the Walk, but who nonetheless gave of their resources to promote the research that will one day find a cure for diabetes.  It may even happen in Maddie’s lifetime!

We joined up with her very good friend, Jessica, and her family.  Here’s Maddie and Jessica walking along together.  Jessica was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes one year prior to Maddie and was a fifth grader at Maddie’s school last year.  We met her when Maddie was diagnosed and she has been such a friend and encouragement to Maddie!  Her family reached out to us with open arms, offering advice, listening ears, and empathy.  I will always treasure this family!

These photos were taken by my oldest daughter who is becoming quite the photographer with her new high tech camera.  I asked her to be the photo-documenter this day.  I had originally thought I would create drawings from the photos, but they are so beautiful, I wanted you to see the beautiful light and specifics of the day.  This final photo of Maddie says it all…a beautiful girl for whom the efforts of JDRF have given a rich, full life at the ripe old age of 8!

Thank you to JDRF for all you do for our daughter and so many others’ daughters and sons!

And thank YOU to all who contributed money and time for the Walk!

It was indeed a great day for Walking!