Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pay It Forward

We were sitting in a restaurant, just having ordered our food, and I pull out the blood sugar test kit and insulin.  There was a very large group at the table next to us, and at the very head of it, a woman who continually kept watch over ours.  I'm used to people taking a double take when I pull out a syringe.  It's nothing new.  If this wasn't my life, I know I would be doing the same.

As the large group began to stand up, say their goodbyes, and get ready to leave, the woman at the head of the table walked directly up to ours.  She smiled and said "I noticed you checking your daughters blood sugar.  My son has been a type 1 diabetic since he was a small child.  He's now a teenager, but we can remember everything just like it was yesterday".  Our conversation flowed easily.  She shared her experiences as a mother of a diabetic child, and I eagerly listened.  We were two complete strangers, but our diabetic world made us old friends.  We may never cross paths again, but I will always remember her kindness.  It made me wonder if I would be able to do the same if I was the woman at the head of the table.

Pay it forward.

After Sophia's dance class, I open the door to guide Sophia and Madeline out into the parking lot, and my eye catches a very familiar scene.  A very little ballerina, sitting on a chair, while mom  is testing her blood sugar.  I stopped in my tracks and steered the girls back into the dance studio.  I needed to talk to someone.

"I noticed you checking your daughters blood sugar.  Madeline has been type 1 since she was 2.". 

Had I not taken the time to stop, I would have never known that this little two year old girl had just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 2 months ago.  I would not have known that this new D-mom has many questions she would like to ask me.  Had I not stopped, Madeline would not have met another little girl that lives with diabetes.  Unlike the woman at the head of the table, I will see this mom again, every week, at dance class. 

We may be two complete strangers, but our diabetic world will make us old friends.



Thursday, January 24, 2013


When we bought our house 5 1/2 years ago, I loved all the wall paint colors the previous owners had done throughout the house.  Except for one little exception.  The blue room.  The smallest bedroom in the house was painted a deep, dark blue, with light blue splotches sponged in.  I'm guessing it was to give it "texture".  It sure did.  It just screamed out at you every time you walked into the room.  And the light green blinds?  Snap, snap snap!  Someone was really working their Feng Shui when they created that masterpiece.

At the time of our home purchase, Sophia had just turned 1, and we were a busy little family of 3.  The ugly blue room was just used as a  spare bedroom, so I was able to decorate around the blue abyss.  I always said "when I get a little extra time, I'll paint this room".  That little extra time never came, Madeline did.

The blue abyss became Madeline's room, and everyday I hated seeing that loud paint.  As Madeline transitioned to a big girl bedroom, I refused to buy anything to match the ugly walls.  I bought purples, pinks, greens and yellows, but not one ounce of blue.  The colors clashed so much you needed sunglasses just to enter the room.  Night time blood sugar tests required an extra bright light just so you could navigate the oh-so dark room.  By this past Christmas I had had enough.  I took Madeline to Home Depot and let her pick out her new room color.  With great relief, she picked a very soft yellow. We both agreed it was a very happy and cheerful color.  It was Madeline.

As soon as I returned home, I ran up to her room and shook the new paint can at the walls yelling "you are so outta here!".  What seemed like a very simple task, turned into the biggest pain in my backside.  The ugly blue walls did not want to die.  Even with a heavy duty primer and two coats of paint, the blue kept peeking it's obnoxious head out of little corners.  After the final coat of paint was on, I put my hands on my hips and congratulated myself on a job well done.  That is until I noticed one small spot I seemed to have missed.
A fingerprint.

Madeline could apparently  not control herself, and had to touch the forbidden paint.  All I could do was laugh, wash Madeline's little yellow finger, and take a picture.  I debated whether or not to leave her little mark on the wall permanently.  As I tossed the idea around in my head, I thought about the  yellow walls representing out with the old, and in with the new.  

I want Madeline to have a fresh start.  She now has her special yellow room to keep all her beloved stuffed animals, secret treasures and the best hide-and-seek spot in the house. 

One small soft light to check those important night time blood sugars is all that is needed. 

The little blue fingerprint on the wall is gone, but Madeline's little fingerprint will forever be painted in my heart.



Thursday, January 10, 2013


So as diabetes goes, I feel pretty confident I have a handle on it's quirky ways.  So confident in fact, Rick and I decided we were ready to start the insulin pump process for Madeline.  This is not an easy transition, but Madeline's diabetes team gave us the encouragement to start the process.  Learning to use the insulin pump is not for someone who isn't in it for the long haul, but the end result would be so worth it.  Madeline would gain a tiny bit of freedom from her diabetic life, and Rick and I would know we have done absolutely everything we can to give her the healthiest life possible.   

We took our first class at children's hospital to learn all the insulin pumps that were available and how to use them.    All three of us had a three day trial of wearing a non-working pump just to see what we thought of them.  Omnipod, Medtronic and Animas.   In the end, we decided the Animas insulin pump was the right choice for Madeline.  I was nervous, excited and stressed all at the same time.  I completed the paperwork immediately and sent everything in to Animas.  I was overjoyed to learn that Animas would take care of all the paperwork between the doctors office and the insurance company.  Why did that seem too easy?  Now I just had to wait.  And wait.

The paperwork was submitted mid December, but neither I, nor Animas, had heard anything from the insurance company.  Ruh-Ro.

I finally received the unwanted call from Animas this week letting me know Madeline had been denied approval for an insulin pump from the insurance company.  "Not medically necessary" was the reason.  Really?  Gee, what would make an insulin pump for a person with a busted pancreas medically necessary?  I could go on a rant very easily over all the reasons I found this to be a ridiculous reason, but since I do not have the official denial letter yet, I will give the benefit of the doubt, and keep my mouth shut - at least on my blog :).  We have chosen to appeal this decision, and will jump through whatever hoops it takes to get approved.  Madeline deserves it.

Not medically necessary.

Ugh.  That's all I can say........