Category Archives: Grandchildren

Strike Out Diabetes!

Oh my gosh, have I have a major senior moment!!  As I was writing about all the activities that the Silly Hats and Caps have been up to, I realized that I had totally forgotten to tell about our very first event!

Silly Hats & Caps was created around April of last year.   We had started meeting every Tuesday morning for breakfast and  we had been talking about what we might be able to do to help spread awareness of Diabetes, the need for a cure and how we could bring more people with diabetes together (as you know, there is strength in numbers!).

One morning I got a phone call from my girlfriend and she asked me if I had seen the  latest GROUPON offer!  I hadn’t, but I went to my computer and opened it while I was on the phone with her and there it was!   A great opportunity for a low cost get together, a 2 for 1 bowling package and a really great deal.  So each of us 3 original Silly Hat & Caps couples,  bought 2 groupons and we were on off and running!

From the very beginning of our family’s “D Journey” the name of our family walk team has been “Strike Out Diabetes”.  Strike out as in baseball, but hey…it works for bowling too!

Our local chapter shared the details of our event in their newsletter and posted it on facebook and we, of course, shared the date with our friends and family.

The day finally came…we took our groupons, our helium balloons, some JDRF literature and off to the bowling alley we went!

I’m sorry to say we didn’t have one person other than our 3 families show up for the event…but boy did we have fun!

All three of us Silly Hats & Caps couples had 3 generations represented!!  How very cool is that!! Us grandparents, our children and our grandchildren had a blast!

And in addition to that, what made it all worthwhile????  We’d been bowling about 20 minutes and a man had seen our JDRF balloons and came over to ask about our group.  He approached my daughter in law and said “I saw the balloons..you’re with JDRF? We’re having my son’s birthday party here…my son has Type 1 .”   That was her opening for further dialogue!!  She introduced herself to him and his wife, met the birthday boy and shared with them, her story of living with a child with Type 1 Diabetes.   Robby  met them as well, and told the family how diabetes has not held him back from doing anything he wants, including playing college baseball at a division 1 school!  He and his mom also told them what an important role JDRF has played in our lives since his “D”iagnosis!

Our first official event and we were able to achieve our goal…Have fun while laughing, chatting and helping spread awareness of Diabetes and the need for a cure!  And in addition, we were able to introduce another family to JDRF!!

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Filed under Advocacy, Grandchildren, Silly Hats & Caps, Uncategorized

Take a deep breath!

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to “pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again“!!  I decided that in order to do that, I first needed to tell you why I’ve been off the grid for a while and why I need to take a deep breath, pick myself up, dust myself off and start writing all over again!

On August 31, 2011, my husband and I went to bed together, as we have done for the last 45 years.  We watched the 11:00 news and went to sleep.  At 4:00 am, my husband screamed and I presumed he was having a nightmare and tried to wake him.  After calling his name twice and shaking him with no response.  I got up to turn the light on  and when I got back to Bob, his eyes were open, his arms were crossed in front of him and he was as stiff as a rock and convulsing.  I went to grab the cordless phone and, of course, it was not in it’s cradle…I ran downstairs to the kitchen and, of course, that phone was also not where it was supposed to be.  On my 3rd trip up and down our stairs, it finally dawned on me that I could use my cell phone to call for help!

I can tell you that from the moment I was first awakened to Bob’s screams, until the paramedics arrived, was probably the longest 20 minutes of my life.  Our bedroom overlooks the road the paramedics came down to get to our house and while they were doing their best to keep me calm and help me, help Bob by phone, I can tell you that seeing the lights of the fire engines coming down our street was one of the biggest reliefs I have ever felt.

I put our 2 dogs in the bathroom and left Bob’s side to run down to open the door.  When they arrived, there were 4 paramedics and while they were tending to Bob I called our youngest son who lives 2 miles away.   Just as the paramedics had loaded Bob in the ambulance my son came around the corner, I jumped in the car with him and we followed the ambulance to the hospital.  Within 10 minutes our oldest son was in the emergency room with us, Bob was alert, scared and wanting to know what was going on and why he was here and we were waiting for the ER doctor to complete her evaluation and tell us what had happened.

Within 2 hours of arriving, we were told that Bob had a mass on his brain.   He was admitted and we waited until almost 5 o’clock that afternoon before the neurosurgeon arrived and told us his recommended plan of attack.  Because Bob had been taking 1 baby aspirin a day, the surgeon recommended that Bob wait 1 week, stop taking the aspirin and be put on anti seizure drugs and steroids to help harden his brain a little and surgery to remove the mass would be scheduled a week later.  He could stay in the hospital and wait or he could go home…the decision was ours.   Laying in a hospital bed for a week waiting, would have seemed like an eternity, and as long as Bob was not left alone, didn’t drive and took it easy, going home was the obvious choice.

Surgery removed a tumor about the size of a lemon from the right front portion of his brain.  He spent 10 days in the hospital, but was doing incredibly well considering what he and his brain had been through.   He came home from the hospital walking with the aid of a walker.  His memory was better than mine!  (When one of the therapists asked him to recite the alphabet, he recited the Greek alphabet to her, just to shake her up!)  The surgeon said that due to the size of the tumor, and how now, as the swelling subsides, the brain has to work it’s way back from the left to the right side, that Bob will be having a lot of right brain/left brain issues but he will improve.

When the pathology report came back, Bob’s tumor was described as a Class II, which has a higher risk of returning that originally thought so radiation therapy was recommended.  So for the next 6 weeks, 5 days a week we went for radiation treatments and 3 of those days a week, we went for physical therapy as well.  The radiation has made him very tired and he has a crazy mohawk hairdo, but he is walking without even a cane!

We have even made two trips up to Stockton to watch our grandson play some college baseball

and we celebrated the end of radiation by going to Lake Havasu in our motorhome with our youngest son and his family to spend Thanksgiving week as we have done for the last 9 years, camping and fishing!

Because of the seizure, his driver’s license was suspended and that continues to be his biggest issue.  HE HATES ME DRIVING HIM EVERYWHERE!!!  But he recently had an EEG and the results show no seizure spikes, so if he remains seizure free for another month, the doctor will complete paperwork to get his license back.

I have found out that many of the changes I have seen in him over the last couple of years, are most likely due to the tumor and not retirement, as I thought!!

I have learned to do many things that I just counted on Bob to take care of before…paying the bills, mowing our lawn, cleaning our pool, and driving the motor home, just to name a few!!   Things will never be as they were, but they are starting to get back to some new form of normalcy as we enter a new chapter in our lives.    The things that we can still do, we need to do…that is why I need to get back to doing some of the things I did bt (before tumor).   We don’t know what the future has in store for us, but we do know that we are going to make the most of every day!

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Filed under Baseball, Brain Tumor, Grandchildren, Sports, Uncategorized

Set Free

I started my morning reading a beautiful post from Our Diabetic Life in 3D titled ” Diabetes is a Sailboat”.  http://www.ourdiabeticlife.com/2011/07/diabetes-is-sailboat.html  It’s a story about how having a child diagnosed with diabetes is like putting your child in a sailboat and watching him set sail alone on the high seas.   Meri is a fantabulous  writer and mother of 4 boys, 3 of  them have Type 1 Diabetes.

And after I cried through Meri’s post, , I visited my facebook page….one of my “friends” Melinda had posted a link to a beautiful youtube video about one family’s struggle to set a young whale free from fishing nets.

As I watched that video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBYPlcSD490&feature=share

I couldn’t help but relate Meri’s blog and the Fishbach family’s challenge of freeing the whale, to the challenge that all the men, women and children who have diabetes also struggle with.  Just as this whale was trapped in the fishing net, they are tethered to diabetes.   As new and better treatments are discovered, it cuts away at the net and allows them a small taste of what it’s like to live life without diabetes, but until the entire net is removed they will struggle to manage their disease and will not be truly free.

I hope and pray that I will live to see the day when my grandson and all of you, who so bravely battle day in and day out,  can  live without needles and pumps and tubing and meters and testing blood sugars and highs and lows and complications from this crappy disease and can breach and tail slap and fin slap, (or dance and sing and shout, if you prefer)  just as the whale did when it was freed!

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Filed under Grandchildren, Hope and Health, Uncategorized

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

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

Our Walk to Cure Diabetes

Every year, since my Grandson was diagnosed,  we walk with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in hopes of funding research to find a cure.  We will continue walking until  a cure is found, but while we are on this journey…WE WILL MAKE THE MOST OF IT !!

Our first walk

My precious ones at 2005 walk

Awesome Team Strike Out Diabetes!!

D follows everywhere...Grr

Our sneaker wagon


Oh my!!

Crusin'

Walk at UCI

Havin' some fun!

Me and my best bud's!! Oh and Elmo too!

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!

With a little help from my friends!!

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Filed under Baseball, Grandchildren, JDRF Walk to Cure, Uncategorized

#4 I hate you Diabetes

Diabetes…I hate you for what you do and what you take from all of those you have come to live with, but I will never forgive you for coming to live with my grandson.

I hate the day he was diagnosed and we were told you would be with him 24/7 for life, unless a cure was found

I hate that because of you,  his fingertips are and always will be calloused and full of holes

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I hate his Diabetes highs, his Diabetes lows and his Diabetes everything in between

I hate that because of one stupid coach he almost died

I hate that most people don’t understand how much work it takes for him to survive each day

I hate that he can’t eat whatever he wants without first deciding if  having another shot is worth it

I hate that when he does eat…he has to be a mathematician and a clairvoyant

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I hate that he can never forget, even for a moment, he has you on his back

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I hate that everytime I see a child run to the bathroom I think he might have diabetes

but mostly …..

I hate that it was him and not me.  I would have gladly given you my pancreas…Why can’t you take mine and give his back to him?

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Filed under D-Blog Week, Grandchildren, Uncategorized