Thursday, May 31, 2012

Magic Moments

You know, we all need a break sometimes.

A moment when we step away from "business as usual" and just appreciate life.

Treadmills, traffic, board rooms and conference calls... we have to let them all drift away.

Instead, we must learn again to appreciate the simple beauties.

Sunrises, sunsets, smiles and sitting around leisurely. Loving those Moments of Wonderful, as a friend of mine might call them.

So, as we enter into a busy summer season after an already-busy month of May, I hope you find those magic moments that bring out the best this world can offer and let you relax a little. In whatever ways you might need at the time.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Diabetes Hero

On this final day of Diabetes Blog Week 2012 (boo, so sad!), we're ending the week on a high note by blogging about our "Diabetes Hero."

As Karen suggests: "It can be anyone you'd like to recognize or admire, someone you know personally or not, someone with diabetes or maybe a Type 3. It might be a fabulous endo or CDE. It could be a D-celebrity or role model. It could be another DOC member. It's up to you — who is your Diabetes Hero?"

Well, I wasn't sure what to write here. My mind wandered...

It might depend on whether we're talking Avenger-like heroes, who save the planet and have cool gadgets to fight crime (do pumps, meters or awesome suits like Caleb envisions count?). Or whether we're talking more sentimental "role models" who we look up to for the life lessons they've taught us?

Maybe it depends on the definition of a hero.

Merriam-Webster gives us some food for thought: a mythical or legendary figure with great strength or ability, an illustrious warrior, someone admired for achievements and qualities, or someone who shows great courage.

So, with all of that in mind, one D-Hero comes to mind: my mom.

And no, I'm not just mentioning her in a belated attempt to score points a week after Mother's Day. (Love you, Mom!).

Rather, I'm mentioning her because I admire what she's accomplished in her own D-life, as someone diagnosed at age 5 and reaching the level of a 50-year Joslin Medalist. Someone who lived through the days now known as the "dark ages" of diabetes, fought for herself and then endured the experience of her only son being diagnosed at the same young age in 1984.

My mom has saved my life, countless times. Maybe not in the same way that Ironman or Superman may have saved someone from an evil villain, but by making sure I woke up and didn't die in bed because of a low blood sugar.

I think of her gratefully for trying to teach me, without being too strict or pushy, about the mistakes she'd made as a teen and young adult. For teaching me to stand on my own two feet and fight for myself and others, because sometimes the world doesn't understand diabetes and we PWDs become the target of that lack of understanding or straight-up misinformation. (As a person with diabetes I'm always talking to non-D people who often don't "get it.")

The experience of not only conquering your own D-life, but standing out as a superhero in your D-child's life is something beyond admirable. It's downright inspiring to me. And what about my own dad, who's not only been an awesome parent but someone who's had to take on the dual-role of a type 3 for both me and my mom? All I can say to that man is: bravo!You're a hero in your own right.

OK, now I'm all emotional about this post. Seriously, I'm tempted to stand up from my computer right now and just give a standing ovation to every single superhero mom and dad who does what is necessary for their child with diabetes. You all rock, and I can't think or speak highly of you enough!

But to my mom specifically: I love you. Thanks for not only taking the steps to help me learn and become the man I am today, but for being an inspiration to so many others who need to see that it is possible to have a successful life with diabetes for 50+ years. You are inspiring a whole new generation of "heroes," just by being who you are and sharing your story.

You're my hero, mom.

OK, sappiness aside. It's time to sign off because my bat signal... er, Dexcom CGM, is going off. Apparently, someone (read: me) is in danger of going low and needs help. Too bad I'm a little too old now to yell for my mom. Time to make use of my own utility belt, learning what I have from the heroes who've taught me how to conquer my own D-life.

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This post written by Mike Hoskins was originally published at DiabetesMine on May 20, 2012.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Intersecting Roads in Journalism

As far back as I can remember, writing has been something I've loved doing.

I'm told it's been a passion of mine from the earliest grades in school, and I remember writing my first Batman-style story, "The Diamond Men," back in 3rd grade. That creative writing evolved into poetry and longer story writing as the years went on, before eventually taking a real world spin into journalism in middle school. That became my life, my passion, my career goal - and since graduating from college more than a decade ago I've been blessed to to be able to live my dream.

Of course, diabetes has been a part of my life that whole time, too. Diagnosed with type 1 at age 5, just before kindergarten in March 1984. My writing through the various stages of my life has coincided with - and sometimes been fueled by - these adventures of Living With Diabetes.

But I never wanted diabetes to spill into my job. Why would I, when I live with it all the time? The two roads were separate and running parallel. Some people went into specific jobs or careers because of their diabetes, but that wasn't something that interested me. Sure, I occasionally wrote about diabetes in handwritten notepads and journals, word processing programs, and eventually  online forums and listservers. But that was just for me, on my own spare time. To vent and cope.

My career focus was journalism, and that passion to share stories and empower people with knowledge took me from newspapers in Southeast Michigan to Indianapolis where I worked as a reporter for a six-day county newspaper covering everything under the sun. Eventually, to a statewide legal newspaper published twice a month where I talked to lawyers and judges all day. Along the way, I managed to propose in a newspaper guy's fashion - by creating an eight-page broadsheet newspaper that asked the all-important "Will you marry me?" question on the front page.

Newspapering was my calling, and I loved doing that for traditional newspapers - (I would've loved the post-Watergate Era journalism in the 70s, had I been around). Diabetes was just along for the ride and wasn't guiding my decisions, except for the fact that I really needed my job to provide those necessary insurance benefits. But other that that, The D didn't define me.

Then, something started to change.