The Caboose. 36.

In 36 Days I will be attempting to ride 100 Miles in Burlington, Vermont.

Scratch that.

In 36 Days, I WILL ride 100 Miles on my bike in Burlington, Vermont.

Today is my diaversary.  Diagnosed with T1D 36 years ago today.

I figured out this mathematical magic this morning… 36 more days til Ride and and 36 years of T1D on the same day.  That’s gotta count for something right?

Here’s the newest bit of “flair” in my fundraising plans.

Ok, you knew I was going to figure-out a way to decorate this bike right?  I used to bedazzle Dexcom arm sensors.  All these warnings about creating drag on the bike… I’m already the slowest one folks.  If I’m going to be the caboose, I’ll be a brightly colored, glittered one for sure!


Here’s my social media fundraising idea (scheme) for today:

YOU are going on The JDRF Ride! Say WHAT?!?! For everyone who has donated to MY riding 100 Miles on 7/25, YOUR name (or message) is going ON the bike! Come with me! This bike is all about inspiration, funding vital research, and a LOT of Alecia flair. Where’s the glitter paint? ‪#‎gettingcrafty‬ #36 ‪#‎diaversarydream‬ 

-> ****MY Dream**** <- (So close to beating the 2001- first year Alecia’s Stem Cells total).

I have had a bit of a heavy heart lately.  When I think about this diaversary stuff, I have uncharacteristically lacked feelings on it.   I haven’t been upset per se, but I have lacked enthusiasm.  My friend posted this photo today.  This certainly turned my mood around.  Note: I definitely do NOT like chocolate mint Cliff bars.


Also if anyone has a bike helmet covered in LED lights and rhinestones, let’s talk.




34th Diaversary on a Business Trip

I’ve been struggling (read: procrastinating) about my 34th diaversary blog post. I’m in a different spot than I was a year ago. In putting this off, it’s hard not to focus on what seems like an incredible amount of flat-out craziness in the past 2 months. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have picked up on my health insurance woes (I mean it’s just nuts). Bronchitis and emotional turmoil/lack of sleep/ and not eating much didn’t do my BGs any favors. During the bronchitis that wouldn’t quit incident (come on lungs, enough already), I kept taking more and more insulin, pulling pump sites I had hoped were “bad”, and switching vials of insulin. I’d get those bg’s down to the low 200s but just couldn’t get them to budge any further. These issues were just the tip of the iceberg. In the interest of preserving other people’s privacy (and perhaps my own sanity), I will simply say I have endured and been surrounded by a heck of a lot of heartbreaking loss recently. When I really think about it, it’s overwhelming and completely surreal. Then, I think of my diaversary and I’m just like, yeah, whatever. I have bigger fish to fry.

Monday night I attended my very first JDRF NYC Board meeting. I only knew one other person there, it started late, I got there early and it was, well, a bit awkward on my part. I felt very “new” in an organization where I often feel “old”.


Yes this was the view from the meeting. Yes, this is insane.

Fast forward to the dinner presentation. Tom Brobson spoke (if you don’t know who he is, he is the National Director of Research Investment Opportunities at JDRF). Yes, THAT Tom. Tom spoke and I was elated. I’ve watched Bob’s artificial pancreas videos before. As you may know, diabetes discoveries really do occur, another mouse is sometimes cured and I make the same comment for the upteenth time, “Oh to be Minnie Mouse”. Tom, in my view, is sort of like Mighty Mouse. He’s been IN these clinical trials. He has seen and been part of an experience that I don’t know.

As Tom spoke on Monday night, I felt a sense of levity. When he talked about not having to think (stress) about what he was eating (during his study out in the wild… AKA the real world), his enthusiasm was evident. It was intoxicating.

I read a lot about what some term “practical cures”. Hmpf. Let me get this straight, I could eat or not eat what I want and not think about bolusing, or splitting a bolus, or needing to bolus earlier or later or not at all or dropping after all this bolusing hours later? Are you frigging kidding me? I’d have to wear some devices and carry a smartphone? Oh that would be so tricky since that’s EXACTLY what I do now but I have to think about this stuff ALL the time. A steady stream of checking and reacting, reacting and checking.

Tom spoke about other technologies on the horizon. Other clinical trials funded by JDRF. I could go on for pages, Some I knew of and others were new to me, but here’s the part that was the happiest to me. When the presentation concluded (also note he fielded questions the ENTIRE time he spoke which was also awesome), I decided I wanted to hug him. Yeah that’s right. If this guy is the Mighty Mouse of clinical trials and the technologies I fantasize about, you sure as hell can bet I’m going to thank him and hug him like there’s no tomorrow (and take photos of course).


Tom is awesome.

As is often the case in my hugging world, Tom seemed quite surprised and offered me his smart phone to take a photo while I held it (with the artificial app screen showing). What the heck, humble guy? I didn’t cry but I did tell him about how much I have loved watching his videos. How I send them out to the people who love and support me on this fight against T1D. That I show his videos to our Alecia’s Stem Cells supporters to show them WHAT they are funding. That I admire the trials he’s been in, by choice, that sounded awful. Trials hooked up to 2 IVs and being all bundled up so his veins wouldn’t collapse as he sat in a hospital bed. So yes, I hugged him and I hugged him hard!


So here’s the scoop kids. Happy 34th diaversary to me. I still have hope. Pure and simple. I am still me. I have hope that technology will continue to better my future. I acknowledge that there is such a small percentage of people who are T1Ds in the world, that I need to push this agenda for a cure and better treatment options. I need to raise money and take part in grass root efforts and get other people to support these ideas. I’m still not giving up. I will continue find joy in life and I will fight like hell to keep living. I will also fight like mad for a better future for my fellow T1Ds.

My Mom’s 4-Letter Word

I’ve been active in JDRF (especially the JDRF Walk-For-A-Cure events) for much of my life.  I have two  Alecia’s Stem Cells teams walking this year (New York City on September 30th and Los Angeles on November 11).  Every year, I write a letter, asking (sometimes begging) my friends and family to participate.  There are years where writing the letter comes easily, while other years I agonize over it.  I try to have the letter ready to go on my diaversary (June 19th) but this year I did a diaversary blog post instead.  So yes, I’m a little behind my own schedule.  It got me thinking though, why JDRF?  I have recently shared my D-blog with my family and decided to ask my Mom, about why my parents got involved specifically in JDRF. Although I was a bossy 6 year old when I was diagnosed, I  wasn’t calling the shots (Get it? Diabetes pun? Shots? Ha) so here’s my Mom, filling in the blanks:

Seriously? My Mom is gorgeous, inside and out.    This was me pre- D.


When asked why did we get involved in JDRF?  The answer came easily.

Alecia, our firstborn child was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of six.  That day, June 19, was a shockingly sad time in our lives.  To say we were blindsided, is exactly how we felt.  This was a child who was the picture of health, extremely bright, adorable, always cheerful and up for anything.  Everything we had ever heard about this disease came running through our minds and we were devastated.  Fear of the unknown was stifling!

Our endocrinologist, Dr. Robert Kaye, was most encouraging.  He gave us the best advice which became our mantra – “Alecia is a child, who happens to have diabetes, not a diabetic who is a child.”  That was the beginning of our journey, becoming immersed in the education of the vast world of living with diabetes.  Dr. Kay suggested we become acquainted with JDRF.  Through our association with them, we quickly realized we were not alone.  JDRF became our lifeline to meet others with small children, to learn from those families who had been down this road and most importantly, we learned fact from fiction about this disease.

We attended lectures, participated in telethons, had Alecia appear in public service announcements and I became a member of JDRF’s board – ultimately running the Philadelphia Zoo walk.  We were always hoping with the funds raised through JDRF that a cure was in the wings to be realized by our precious little girl and all the others afflicted with this life altering disease.

As years passed our daughter grew up, and we did everything possible to ensure her a normal life, participating in various activities like other kids her age.  After college, she moved to NYC and became involved in the NYC Chapter of JDRF and has cultivated a team each year for the annual walk in which her family and friends all participate.  The involvement with JDRF has shifted to her as an adult.

Our memories of working along side Lee Ducat and her leadership of an all embracing foundation (JDF) now JDRF, still remain a source of inspiration. Lee fostered a community to welcome, educate, and most importantly diminish the fear factor for families.  JDRF introduced us to other families who shared the same ultimate goal to help our kid’s lives be relatively normal until the day they discover the four letter word – CURE.

33 out of 39

Sounds like a passing test score right?  I’ve thought way too much about this blog post (read: over thinking is NOT good).  I considered advice I’d give to a new diabetic, or a letter to my siblings (especially my brother who wasn’t even 2 years old when I was diagnosed) for all the times my “up-keep” took away from theirs.

Me & my brother

I imagined a post about the incredible changes in diabetes technology that have occurred in “my” time and my hopes for the future.  Last week, I kept recalling a memory of my high school English research paper on diabetes and how I left out ONE big fact, a book listed the life span of a Type 1 diabetic to be cut by a 1/3 (I didn’t want my class mates to know that but I cried myself silly).  I envisioned listing all the absurd comments people have made when they realized I’m diabetic (that’s still on the blog list for another day… yeah I’m coming for you Jet Blue flight attendant).  But tomorrow is the big day and it’s getting late and here I am.  So here’s what I got:

My parents took the doctor’s advice when I was diagnosed (6/19/79) as their mantra:

I was a child first, and a diabetic second.

That was it.  Plain and simple.  So I did everything every other kid did.  I played sports.  I played a ton of sports I didn’t even want to play.  I went to sleepovers.  I went to sleepovers for kids I didn’t like.  But I lived.  I got yelled at for getting a C+ in Spanish.  I got grounded for mouthing off to my Mom.  I spent too much time on the phone with my friends.  I had so many summer jobs that I’m pretty sure my parents broke all US child labor laws.  I liked boys who had no idea I even existed.  And I lived.

I looked at colleges (side note: my Dad took me to visit Harvard first… no, I was not even close to Harvard material), and I made sure those colleges were not near my parent’s home.  I had roommates who scared me.  I made friends.  I studied Architecture.  I had a fake ID.  I drank too much.  I didn’t do a good job checking my blood but I always took my shots.  I gained 15 lbs my freshman year of college.  It looked more like 25.  I switched majors.  I had boyfriends.  I never once did drugs.  I made questionable fashion choices (hey it was the 90s, cut me some slack).  And I lived.

I got a job (OK that did NOT happen right away).  I moved to NYC.  I got new doctors. I got more serious about my health.  I embarked on a career. I had a boss who believed in me.  Wait, I had a boss who really believed in me.  My job took me all over the world.  I had my eyes lasered more than once.  I took a heck of a lot of shots.  I traveled more.  I pulled the trigger because I was finally ready, and I got a pump.  Pump training took a ton of time.  My college boyfriend broke my heart.  I couldn’t eat.  I got really skinny. I went to therapy to fast forward the healing of my heart.  Therapy taught me some stuff I hadn’t thought about how I viewed being diabetic. I realized I didn’t like the ex-boyfriend that much.   I lived.

I got back in the saddle.  I dated most of Manhattan (and some of Brooklyn).  My career actually took off.   I saw a lot more of the world.  I had crazy adventures.  I started a JDRF Walk Team (Alecia’s Stem Cells).  I got a lot of people to walk.  I hosted team fundraisers. I had big parties to celebrate diabetes anniversaries (Its NYC.  We eat that stuff up).  I recruited my friends and family for all sorts of MY stuff.  I kept designing lamps.  I started designing jewelry.  I tied my jewelry business to my JDRF fundraising.  My work appeared in amazing places.  I went to amazing places.  I lived.

Our 2010 Alecia’s Stem Cells shirts!

I have the same problems other people have.  I have fears many of my peers have never even considered.  I worry about the future.  I am infuriated that stem cell research lags so far behind in this country.  I frequently curse the FDA.  I have begun to curse the TSA.  I worry I will never have kids.  I worry if I did have kids I won’t be alive to see them grown. I worry I will die in my sleep of hypoglycemic unawareness.  I worry that all this diabetes stuff is too much for my boyfriend.  I worry I will need a new kidney. I worry that if I currently pay more for private health insurance than many people’s annual salary, how will this ever possibly turnout well?  I worry every time I get cut.  My current big worry is that I will someday be a burden to my siblings.  My bigger fear is that my future nieces and nephews will be diabetic too and I don’t want my siblings to have that burden.  I worry I won’t get to see the day of the artificial pancreas being available or I’ll be too sick to get one.  I worry that I will fall through the healthcare cracks.  I worry that I worry too much.

And then I take a minor break from worrying.  I work-out.  I get my heart beating.  I get my heart pounding.  I think of my circulation and telling my heart to step up to the plate because my pesky pancreas can’t anymore.  I think of all the parents I’ve met who cry when I speak to them because they consider me an inspiration.  I think of my sister’s college roommate being diagnosed (T1D)  while in college and how she felt I was the only one she could ask questions.  I think of how I fought to get a pump.  I think of how glad I am to have a Dexcom.  I think of how I was the longest living diabetic in my JDRF mentoring class.  I think of turning 40 next year (OK that freaks me out so I immediately STOP thinking of that and then freak out a little more.  40?  Seriously? I act like I’m 12).  I think of how much I value my life.  I think of all the gifts I’ve been given and how truly blessed I am.  I think of this image below (and I apply it to things far beyond running), oh, and by the way, I live: