Monthly Archives: June 2011

Meeting with some of my Hero’s!!

As most of you know..I am a grandmother and a Type 3 (once removed)!  That is..I do not have diabetes, my children do not have diabetes, it is my oldest grandson that was diagnosed with  Type 1 Diabetes!

As any of my friends and family will tell you, I am the definition of a Mother Hen!  Not necessarily a good thing, but none-the-less it is a part of who I am!!   “D” showed up 7 years ago and threatened a member of my family..  “D” did not just come in and  steal a part of my grandson (his pancreas), it took a piece of all of us and forever changed our family!  I HAD TO do what I could to make “D” give it back!

I volunteered with JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and started out just participating in the Walk to Cure Diabetes every year.  Then I became a JDRF Advocate and periodically wrote to my congressman asking him to please do what he could to make sure that diabetes research is funded so that a cure can be found as soon as possible.  And 2 years ago I was asked to be the Advocacy Leader.  Saying “no” is a very hard thing for me to say and thank goodness.  Being the JDRF Advocacy Leader I was invited to attend their Government Day in Washington DC.

And so it began….

At this year’s Government Day, I was introduced to the Diabetes Online Community.  Something I didn’t even know existed!  Listening to all of those young men and women talk about the DOC and the support it gives to its members , I knew I had to learn more.  I think it kind of started as a joke, but somehow this old gramma (thanks to Scott and Kerri) left DC that week with my own blog site and twitter account!

The DOC not only offers support to each other that is beyond description, it is so much more.  It is, in almost every sense of the word, FAMILY!  The members of the DOC laugh together, they cry together, they educate each other, they all love unicorns and cupcakes, they advocate, they vent their frustrations without being judged, they are there for each other 24/7, they encourage each other during tough times and they celebrate the victories!

They live their lives, day in and day out, 24/7 with no vacations from “D” and shout “YOU CAN DO THIS!”  with pride!  Each and every one of you living with diabetes are my heroes!

I am so grateful to George http://ninjabetic.squarespace.com

for inviting me to a D meet-up last Saturday. He is going to be speaking to some of our advocates next month about the DOC and I am so excited!

I got to see Scott http://scottsdiabetes.com/

and not only thank him again for setting me up with my own blog and twitter accounts, but I got to get one of his famous “BIG HUGS”!  He is for sure, one of my biggest heroes!!!

And I got to meet Jenny and her husband http://web.me.com/wyldceltic1

who loves Mac’s, her dogs and music!  She definitely has all things “APPLE”!

and last but not least…..

Brad Slaight aka “Meter Boy” http://www.captainglucoseandmeterboy.com/

who kept us laughing the whole time!  (Not to mention he is “half the man he used to be”!)

Thank you all for your courage, commitment and dedication to the DOC and  for making me feel so welcome at your table!

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Filed under Diabetes online Community, Government Day 2011, Grandchildren, JDRF Walk to Cure, Spreading Awareness, Thank you, Uncategorized

Almost 42 years and our POW is still MIA

Back in the early 70’s, the Vietnam War took it’s toll on thousands of  lives.  Not only were so many of our soldiers and sailors injured or killed, there were countless young men that just went missing.   It was not known if they were taken prisoner or died.  As that list of prisoners of war and missing in action grew so did the need to find these young men.

To draw attention to the fact of so many missing young men,  bracelets were sold  with the soldiers name, rank, and date of when they went missing.  Many of us bought and wore those bracelets and vowed we would only take them off when “our soldier” came home.   My husband and I wore our bracelets with the name of  S/Sgt William Brown,  who went missing on 11/3/69,  for many years.  We wore them for quite a while after the war was over and eventually with little hope we would ever know what happened to Bill,  we decided that we would take our bracelets off, but keep them on a shelf where we would be reminded of him whenever we looked at that shelf.

The traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall (Wall That Heals) came to our home town this week.  Last night, with our bracelet in hand, my husband and I went to visit the WALL.

There is a book available that allows you to look up a name and it will tell you if that name is on the wall and if it is…where their name is located.

With bracelet in my shaking hand I opened the book, hoping NOT to find his name.   There are over 58,000 names in that book…listed alphabetically.  We find Brown, William and there are 7 William Brown’s that died fighting in Vietnam.  I look closer trying to figure out if “our Bill” is in the book…and then I see “date of injury 11/3/69” and I know we have found him.    All these years we had hoped and prayed he was alive.  I can’t tell you the sadness that came over me as we not only found his name on the wall, with the cross before his name, we learned his body has never come home.

It is now our prayer that his family will get closure and his body will be brought home to the country he died for.

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Filed under POW MIA, Thank you, Uncategorized

Research in action


Last December, our local JDRF chapter had a research forum with a guest speaker from the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation.  It was an awesome presentation by one of the researchers who works directly on JDRF funded projects at their lab in La Jolla, CA.

Information on JDRF funded beta cell therapies  http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=113244  Two New Partnerships in Regeneration Help Drive Towards a Cure Faster

Information on JDRF/GNF Collaboration  http://www.gnf.org/collaborations/jdrf/

At the end of his presentation he had mentioned that if any of us would like to come down to the lab for a visit, he would be happy to show us around.

Well….it took 6 months, but my husband and I finally were able to take our grandson (who has Type 1)  and his sister, our granddaughter (my baker) down to La Jolla for a tour of the lab last week!

What a fantastic experience it was to see, first hand, some of the great things JDRF funded research is doing to find a cure!

One of the main JDRF funded projects that GNF is working on is “beta cell regeneration and SURVIVAL”.  They have modified robots that were originally used in the automotive industry to assemble cars, to enable testing of thousands of compounds at a time on donated pancreas cells.  Basically the robots take a modified petri dish approximately 4″ x 5″ that has 1400 wells in it…that’s right 1400 wells in a 4″ x 5″ rectangular plate..  The robots then dispenses beta cells into each well, and then adds a  different compound or combination of compounds into each one of those wells.  After each step, the robot weighs the dish and then places it in an incubator to grow.  After the desired time…the robot takes the plate out and places it under a microscope and each of the 1400 wells is photographed and analyzed by the computer.  There is certain criteria that needs to be met…the computer then analyzes the information and any promising results are noted and mapped and will then each of those wells will be looked at by the researchers one at a time.

To see just a hint of what these robots look like and the plates that hold these precious cells..please follow this link

http://www.gnfsystems.com

then go to “video” and click on slides “00 thru 04”  to get a taste of our tour (slide 04 is showing one of the petri plates being filled with beta cells).

Of the 1400 cultures in each plate…less than 1% of them meet the requirements to even consider continuing to follow it’s results.   It is beyond looking for a needle in a haystack, and yet these dedicated researchers are beyond committed.  They work tirelessly day in and day out to find that one link that will lead us to a  cure!  They are never without their cell phone and pagers.  When they get a call that there is a donor pancreas on route they drop whatever they are doing and head for the lab.  It makes no difference what  time of the day or night it is…they know there is a very small window in which they can preserve the beta cells and they don’t waste one minute or one beta cell!

They have had some very exciting results and are very encouraged that, in the very near future, there will be some sort of therapy (whether it be a pill you take or some other treatment) that will help prevent the immune system from attacking the beta cells, and a bit farther down the road, there will be some form of drug treatment that will regenerate beta cells and those cells will be protected from destruction!!

This is just one of the many research institutes that JDRF is collaborating with.  I was able to see their enthusiasm and dedication and it gave me even more encouragement that a cure for diabetes will happen…Just not as soon as any of us would like!

 

 

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Filed under Beta Cell Therapy, New Technology

Can you relate?

I have a wonderful friend that sends me great emails on a daily basis!  Funny thing is many times

the messages in the emails relate to what’s going on in my life at the same time!

This one came  the morning after a rather rough day!

Thought I’d tell you about the bad day I had the other day!


First I had trouble getting out of bed 


I had a stiff neck (Hmm??trouble relating with this one)


 My diet really doesn’t seem to be working (Cupcakes!!)


 I pulled a muscle when I tried to exercise (Sweatbetes!)


My new hat looked better on me at the store (Silly hats and caps)


I got caught in the rain (High bg!)

I kept losing things 

 Then my lunch didn’t agree with me


 I felt trapped 


 Uninvited guests showed up at dinnertime 


On top of that I thought I was coming down with the flu 


And finally, I was alone in the house that night and I thought I heard a noise in the basement 

 Then I realized that most of these issues relate to

a day in the life of a person with Diabetes and decided I had to share it

with the DOC!

How many of these can you relate these to D?

 

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Filed under Diabetes online Community

Sister’s Tender Moment!

This was a very big week for our family.  Our first grandchild graduated from high school yesterday.  He graduated with honors,  an academic scholarship and an athletic scholarship to play baseball for the college that was his Number One Choice!   He did this with NO HELP FROM DIABETES OR CELIAC DISEASE!

His parents were having a graduation party at one of his favorite Mexican Restaurants and my grand daughter (his little sister) called me and asked if I would help her make a cake for the occasion!  No brainer, of course I would love to help!

Mind you, most of the time, the two of them can not stand to be in the same room with each other!!  She says  “He gets all the attention….it’s always about him” . He is always teasing her and says “She is so spoiled, she gets whatever she wants” and so on and so on!  You know, that whole sibling rivalry thing!!

So anyway, she comes over and begins to tell me what she wants to make for her big brother.  And she melts my heart!

You see, he has not been able to eat cake like everyone else since he was 11 years old and in addition to his Type 1 diabetes, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.   Whenever we have birthdays or other events where cake is served we alway make sure he has a gluten free cupcake or some other gluten free dessert.  But because this is a really special day for him…his sister wants to make him the gluten free cake and make regular cupcakes for everyone else!!  Oh, and not just any old gluten free cake but a 4 tiered gluten free cake!!   I am choking back the tears by now!  At that moment, I couldn’t be more proud of her!  What a very special grand daughter I have!

The day of the graduation party was also our third grandchild’s birthday and she wanted to make sure she made him something as well.  So after I pick all of them up from their respective schools,  I take her and our 2 younger grandsons to the cake decorating store and we pick out decorations for her “vision”  and our birthday boy picks out what he wants on his special cupcake!!   She and I then spend the evening baking all four gluten free cakes and we bake 18 regular cupcakes.  She has heard that it’s easier to frost if we freeze the cakes first…after the last of the four cakes has cooled we put them in the freezer at about 11pm and we head off to bed!  (She’s spending the night because she has no school the next day and wants to get an early start to the decorating!)

So up we get and one by one we remove the layers from the freezer and frost them and stack them on top of each other!  Then the cupcakes are frosted and a little frosting is put on the bottom of the wrappers so they stay secured to where she puts them.   Finally…she is ready to add the decorations that took her over an hour to pick out!

I’ll let you decide for yourself…But I doubt that anyone would be able to buy a more beautiful graduation cake or a cake made with more love than this one (let alone a gluten free one)!!

This Grandmother is so very proud of all of her grandchildren.  Being a grandma is the best thing in the whole world!

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Filed under Baseball, Grandchildren, Sports