Teens with Diabetes and Driving Event

Driving Cars in a Traffic Jam

Driving Cars in a Traffic Jam (Photo credit: epSos.de)

I had the pleasure of attending the JD No Limits event Check B4U Drive last week with my 14-year-old son.  The morning started out with the agony of getting my 14-year-old up early on a Saturday.   He is notoriously awful in the morning and this was no exception, he did come close to getting either cold water poured on him or by suggestions on Facebook some toothpaste in his face.  Lucky for him he finally got himself motivated to get into the car to nap until we arrived.

This event was provided by JD No Limits a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide motivation and support for individuals living with Type 1 Diabetes.  Part of their mission has been to provide for Teens with Diabetes a Safe Driver program.  This program is extremely important to the founding members. Many with connections to Type 1 Diabetes, racing and unfortunate experiences with driving while low.

Our day started by checking in and meting one of the driving instructors to do a safety check of our car.  Thankfully I had just had new tires placed on the car about a month ago.  We learned about tread depth and he taught Brandon how to check the tire pressure and open the hood of the car.  I think that this is the first time my son has ever done any of these tasks!

We moved into the classroom where we met the driving instructors, who were awesome with backgrounds in race car driving, training and military tactical driving.  Along with nerves of STEEL!

We also met Amy the Certified Diabetes Educator, who has an amazing ability to connect with teens with diabetes.  Teen driving is a privilege and having diabetes adds an additional layer of safety to consider.  Amy was able to share information about the importance of testing before you drive and got them talking. She gave them the time and the safe space for them to talk openly about being a teen with diabetes.  They shared their stories of how teachers and friends sometimes just don’t get it.

Then the fun stuff!  We went out side and the kids all piled into cars with an instructor.  They took turns driving, through obstacle courses, learning how to stop on a dime, breaking on slick surfaces and how to avoid an accident.  It was great to watch the kids speed down the enclosed course and stomp on the breaks, run over orange cones and get better with each pass.

This was an amazing day the kids learned valuable skills and how to stay safe while driving.  There was more to the day then this.  Being able to connect with other kids that understand the pressure they are under to perform in school or in sports and the pressure of managing a disease that other kids their age do not have to contend with was priceless.

There are moments when T1D feels isolating to kids and parents and events such as this are ways for us to connect and recharge and know we are not in this alone.  Thank you for a wonderful day!

To learn more about this program please visit http://www.jdnolimits.org 

 

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Diabetes Hope Conference

Yesterday, I joined the diabetes community by watching the Diabetes Hope Conference.  This virtual conference was at times difficult for me to watch.  Please let me explain.  As most of you know my son was diagnosed at the age of 12 a little over a year ago.  As a single mom, this past year and his new way of life has been one of survival.  Some day’s feeling like we barely survived.

I did not have time to think about the ever lurking complications that diabetes brings.  To be a little more honest I know that I have not let myself feel the scary feelings of what could happen to my son in the future.

The crew from TuDibaetes – Manny, Emily and Mike were very transparent and sincere with their comments, which led me to attempt to feel fully my emotions of what my son could possibly face in the future.  Their honesty was refreshing in that they truly explored the fear and anxiety that many face with this disease but worked without effort to share that they too don’t wish to think about complications.

This virtual conference gave me an understanding that hope in regard to Type 1 Diabetes is not in the belief that my son will be free of complications in his life, but hope being an understanding that he will be surrounded by a community that will support, encourage and uplift him in his journey.

Emily Coles of TuDiabetes shares her thoughts on this subject in this post.

 

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Adventures in Traveling with Type 1 Diabetes

Adventures in Traveling with Type 1 Diabetes

In January I launched a radio program on Blog Talk Radio called Conversations In Care.  Once a month I feature stories and information about Type 1 Diabetes.  I decided to do this because being new to this disease I know how much we just don’t know or understand.  I also wanted to include a way for us as parents, and those with Type 1 Diabetes a place to connect.  To know and understand that you are not alone in this adventure.  

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of having Michelle Weisenburg, mom (CIO – Chief Insulin Officer) to Jordan who was 9 when he was diagnosed and is currently 15 and about to get his driving permit.  We had a wonderful conversation about being a parent, wishing we paid more attention in math class and tips on how to travel well with Type 1 Diabetes.

I had so much fun with her on the show that I want to have her as a regular.  There are so many things to talk about that I am sure I can convince her.  

Listen in and Enjoy!

Work, Anxiety and Ex’s

I remember being shuffled into the hospital room and the many doctors and nurses coming in and out of the room getting Brandon settled in to his new safe place for the next four days.  While this was happening and while I was trying to understand and process how our world was changing,  I remember thinking how am I going to do this?  I am barely making it.  With working all day and sometimes really long hours, how am I going to make sure that he gets what he needs and that he is getting the proper doses and wil he take his insulin while I am gone?

I thought to myself how am I going to make this work?  I have to work and I have to take care of my son.

My job and the needs of my son were consistently competing.  I always felt guilty, a constant gut wrenching anxiety over took me. I felt guilty because I had to work and during the summer Brandon’s A1C skyrocketed.  I felt bad that I had to call off of work or skip a networking event because of my son.  The tugging at my heart of making money to put food on the table and getting my son to all of his appointments and being there to monitor and make sure that he received the insulin he needed was making me sick.

As a single parent there is always that struggle to strike the right balance of being at home with your children and keeping your job.  I remember when the kids were younger that constant feeling of failure was with me every day.  When the kids got older and were able to do things on their own I felt a little more at ease.  However, the anxiety returned that day in the hospital when the staff was floating around us.  How am I going to do this?

I would like to say that my ex-husband is highly involved with his children and knows what is going on with Brandon’s care.  I would like to say that he is my support team as we wonder along this path of diabetes.  He did make a valiant attempt in February to say that he would be there when he was sick or needed to go to the doctor.  The really sad fact is that he has not been around.  He doesn’t even know all the changes Brandon has been through with his insulin or that he did a saline trial with an insulin pump and he determined that he didn’t like it.  He hasn’t even talked to his children since July.

When I look back at all that we have been through since February I look at my son and see how he has struggled and how he has triumphed.  I see the days when he is sad and frustrated and the days he feels like he is a champ.  Through all my anxiety and worry I am the one that holds his hand when he is scared and chokes back tears to show him how to be brave.  No matter how hard this journey is or how tired I become I know that I get to experience this with him and watch him grow every day into a super brave and confident young man.  This is what helps me to make it work (along with phone calls to my best friend and daily conversations with my higher power.)

Every ex-spouse has a reason that they divorced and often we have negative feelings toward our ex’s.  We often curse them under our breath.  I have felt and done all of those, but interesting enough the feeling I have for my ex husband is sadness.  I am sad that he does not get to see Brandon grow and develop in to the wonderful human being he is becoming.

 

 

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