Thursday, July 25, 2013

It's A Small Diabetes World, After All

We approached the table for breakfast, holding our plates of eggs and bacon and slice of French toast on each. The family already seated at the table were strangers, but that wasn't a big deal since we were all "family" at this diabetes conference anyhow.

Hey, we all had bracelets -- most green, some were orange and others were yellow. But it all meant "family" to some degree, so there really weren't any strangers (at least not for long!).

Once we stepped up to the table and did initial intros, the dad welcomed us and motioned that we sit down next to him and his boy, while the mom mentioned she had to run back up to the room with her teenage daughter.

Sitting down, we instantly got to talking about what had brought us all to that conference and respective table. We shared diabetes diagnosis stories, and the dad wondered how I'd heard about the Friends For Life conference in Orlando. I told him about knowing of FFL for years, thanks to some friends in the diabetes blogging community, but that was the first time I'd been able to get there.

"Oh, my wife has a blog too..." he started to say.

As he did, it dawned on me that I had only looked at his name badge to see his first name and where he was from. But hadn't really looked at the last name. Glancing again, I saw the last name and a light bulb went on in my head...

I knew this family!

"Oh my - your wife is...," I blurted out, a cross between a question and exclamation. "I know her!"

Yes, we had stumbled across the Ghosn family, and D-Mom Tina who blogs over at Stick With It Sugar.

Her husband and I shared a laugh and a few more conversation moments before Tina returned a few minutes later with their Type 1 daughter, and we connected the dots... Smiles and huge hugs were exchanged, and that was that. Another first time real-life meetup with people who knew each other from the Diabetes Online Community.

That wasn't the only meeting of its kind at FFL.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Three Years After The Post

While we were off enjoying Orlando and Disney and the whole Friends For Life experience, a comment came my way through email.

It was on a post written more than three years ago, back in February 2010.

The post came just after Christmas 2009, when Suzi made me a Diabetes Ninja modeled after all my talk of "being a ninja" thanks to Super G who's widely known in the DOC as the original Ninjabetic.

Anyhow, a few years have passed since then and we've since handed Lance off to a friend in the community who needed his protection - he's now been renamed, Little G.

Dr. Google or the power of online connectivity apparently came into play, bringing someone to that post. And this comment came from that person:

Just wanted to say to you and Suzi that I loved your Diabetes Ninja toy so much, I made 20 of them to send with my son to Camp Joslin for him and his cabin mates and counselors. I of course made the weapons, including a sword made from the cartridge plunger and needle cover, and a Kendo-style staff. I included a card that states "I am a Diabetes Ninja. Expert. Fighter. With cool weapons. I await your command, Sensei," in a Japanese-style font. I know they will be a HUGE hit, because I gave one to his friend and his parents found him fast asleep that night with the Diabetes Ninja tucked in his arms at a BG check. Thanks so much to your wife for this wonderful way to reach out to these kids, who do become Diabetes Ninjas at camp.

I absolutely loved this comment, and it touches my heart.

So, to the D-Mom who wrote and sent it: THANK YOU!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Magic In The Air

We spent a week in Orlando, for our first-ever trip to the Children With Diabetes Friends For Life conference.

So much to say, so little brainpower right now to make that happen here...

What can you say about being in a place full of a few thousand people who "get it?" Know what you're going through and are living with diabetes just like you are?

It's a pretty remarkable experience.

Now, I'm not always in the mood to talk diabetes. But seeing the kids and families connecting, witnessing the magic of those smiles and hugs and friendships, is something that will live in my mind and heart forever.

But aside from all the diabetes activity that I'll be blogging about over at DiabetesMine soon enough, there was a whole bunch of Disney fun and Universal Park excitement.

This was our first trip back to Orlando since our honeymoon in September 2005, and we had a fabulous time.

And then we also got to experience what was a highlight for Suzi - the Harry Potter part of Universal!

Of course, the Back to the Future ride has been closed for several years now... Sadly, I never went on it back on our honeymoon. So all I was left with this time was a movie poster. Although, we did see Doc Brown wandering around another part of a park with his 1950s mind-reading helmet on as he strolled the set streets where Hill Valley was once set up.

We had a fun time, and there will be more photos on Facebook along with updates as the coffee gets my brain back into the swing of things outside of "vacaction mode!"

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Trains, Taxis & Buses (But No Planes, This Time)

When a road trip that should take three hours one way ends up taking 11 hours, you know the stars are aligned for a story that you'll be able to tell for the rest of your life.

Not Me, it's Steve Martin.
For me, that happened during a recent visit to Chicago for a big diabetes conference in mid-June. My return trip home via Amtrak got a little crazy, and turned into my own version of the movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

Except that I wasn't as frustrated as Steve Martin was at the rental car counter, demanding a "f*ing car right f*ing now."

And there were no planes, but there were plenty of stories coming from the trains, taxis, shuttles and buses that carted me around during those five days.

Here's how it all rolled off the tracks (see what I did there!?)...

Monday, July 1, 2013


I am scared to hell about what diabetes is doing to my body.

What it may have already done, and still be doing.

When limbs hurt, wounds don't heal, new bumps or bruises or scrapes or eye issues come at me, I'm afraid of what it could mean.

Once, "they" told me that complications would happen.

It scared me then, and it scares me now -- even as I put on a "whatever" attitude then and a "brave face" now.

Fuck that. Right now, I'm over that.

This is the point where I just want to crawl into a corner and cry, or yell at the wall for being there.

No matter how positive we try to be in this D-Community, it doesn't change the fact that sometimes we can't escape this fear, this negativity, this sense of dwelling on the "what ifs."

Maybe it's diabetes, maybe it's just aging.

Maybe it's a mind trick, worrying about what may not even be reality. But it doesn't matter, because that dread grips your heart and rips at you as your mind goes back to every one of those conversations about complications as a kid. All that comes flooding back.

Sometimes, you're just scared

And you just want to be "normal" without having to worry about the impacts of diabetes.