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It Takes a Family

Logan in a football pose

Navigating the Pendulum Between Confidence and Cockiness

By | Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Featured News, It Takes a Family

How are you building confidence in your children?

I think this is an ever-evolving question, at least for me. As parents we want our children to believe in themselves, but there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness. I am working intentionally to keep that teeter totter balanced with my kids.

Logan has always been a pretty confident kid. He will enter any group situation and can confidently join right in. He will immediately call you a friend and not even know your name But, then there is the “know-it-all” side to Logan. The pendulum has swung far on the cocky side when it comes to how he shares about video games, sports, and pretty much anything you are talking about, he will feel sure that he knows more than you if he’s seen one YouTube video on the subject. And I genuinely don’t believe he intentionally is trying to be better than anyone. He is a teacher at heart. Right now, his teaching comes across more as telling. Again, a fine line.

Then there is the confidence he has in taking command of his diabetes. Where I am so proud of him for being vocal about how he is feeling with his teachers and friends at school, I have also seen him swing towards taking advantage of the freedom to come and go to the clinic as needed and seems to be taking a few too many trips “just to check.” Thankfully, a new Dexcom helps curb that this year.

Don’t get me wrong, I want him to be sure of himself, but I have learned over the years that the best way to gain trust and credibility with people is to first listen to understand. To listen to understand requires you to ask questions. This is the learning moment I am in with Logan right now. How the best teachers are the ones who put learning first. Its not about how much you know, but how big your desire is to learn.

I heard John Maxwell speak recently (virtually of course) and he restated a message in a way that we have heard a million times: “Your talk talks. Your walk walks. But your walk talks louder than your talk talks.” While I can’t say that ten times fast, or even one time fast, it does remind me that the best way I can teach Logan — and his sister and anyone I encounter — is to walk my talk. To not just tell him what he should do, but I want to display the behavior for him. For everyone I encounter in my life, I want them to see my teaching through my actions. The only way to teach love is to be love. The old adage of “do as I say, not as I do” is no longer a viable message for sustainable change.

This is not an overnight switch to flip, and one day he is going to wake up and know exactly how to maintain the perfect balance of confident versus cocky. I’m 37 years old and I am still figuring it out. And that’s the point! The point is to be intentional. To own it when I’ve gone too far towards cocky, and to commit to do it differently the next time. To celebrate him when I see him excel with confidence and to ask questions when it comes across as cocky.

We are all just figuring it out. The world isn’t slowing down for us to teach just this one lesson. It throws in things like pandemics, and virtual school, and distrust, and elections, and wildfires and all these other opportunities to practice. And we are in the situation of having the added pressure and expectation of raising responsible children who can take command of their health and wellness in a way that sometimes seems unfair. But how we engage with our children now is helping build their future. So how are you playing a part in their confident future?

About

Logan poses on his first day of school

This blog post is PART EIGHT of IT TAKES A FAMILY: LIFE WITH TYPE 1, written by Lindsay Dunlap.

The Dunlap family lives with two generations of T1D, and Lindsay is graciously sharing their experience with us. If you’d like to connect with Lindsay, she’d be happy to talk about the highs and lows with you at lindsay@lindsaydunlapcoaching.com.

Learn More

Click here to learn more about the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, including support for families through programs such as Camp Hamwi.

Attitude of Gratitude

By | Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Featured News, It Takes a Family

I have had this article on my mind for a while, and I just never put myself in front of the computer to write it. Then I got to see virtual Camp Hamwi in action, and I felt like the timing couldn’t be better.

So, let’s talk about how we practice gratitude!

Gratitude plays a huge part in my life. I have a gratitude journal that I have kept for close to two years, and I practice it daily. No matter how big or small, there will always be something to be grateful for every day.

When you have a child who is managing diabetes, it can be difficult sometimes to see those grateful moments. It is challenging to watch them get poked and prodded. It is heartbreaking to hear them say they wish they weren’t diabetic anymore. It is a test as a parent to have to tell them to come sit down and get their sugar up, instead of playing with their friends.

But what you see, expands. So, when you focus on the moments of gratitude, it just invites more moments to be grateful for!

I like to exercise my gratitude journal on our porch, where I can drink my coffee in the morning and start my days in a mindset thinking of good things to come! One weekend, Logan asked if he could join me. Of course, I said yes, because, MELT MY HEART, a quiet time to spend with my son sharing what we are grateful for…I’m all in!

On that Saturday morning, I shared my gratitude journal with him. I asked him to list three things he was grateful for. His list: family, friends, video games. Do you know how excited I was that video games were THIRD on the list?! That is a miracle! Then we sat for a few minutes enjoying the peace and quiet of the morning before he was done, and we moved on with the day. I LOVED THAT MORNING <3

Now I see SO much more to be grateful for with virtual camp! This has been an amazing two weeks for me as a parent to get a glimpse of how these children interact when they have the stigma of being “the kids with diabetes” pushed aside. I have learned so much. And I have such a list of people I am grateful for:

I am grateful for counselors who have the patience of saints! Logan talks a lot, and about randomly weird things. His counselors have been so patient and respectful of what is on his mind and the randomness that are his thoughts.

I am grateful for directors and CODA staffers who have worked COUNTLESS hours putting this camp together in very short time! They have put their hearts and souls into these two weeks, and it shows.

I am grateful for YOU, the other diabetes families who have adjusted your schedules and lives for two weeks for camp to be able to have your camper participate! I see so much engagement and fun being had! I t could not be done without some changes and sacrifices from families.

In the end, no day is perfect. But that doesn’t mean it is all a loss. How will you find gratitude and joy in your day each day and share that with your child?

About

Son's gratitude list of family, friends, and video games.

This blog post is PART SEVEN of IT TAKES A FAMILY: LIFE WITH TYPE 1, written by Lindsay Dunlap.

The Dunlap family lives with two generations of T1D, and Lindsay is graciously sharing their experience with us. If you’d like to connect with Lindsay, she’d be happy to talk about the highs and lows with you at lindsay@lindsaydunlapcoaching.com.

Learn More

Click here to learn more about the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, including support for families through programs such as Camp Hamwi.

Other Siblings and the Fear of the Unknown

By | Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Featured News, It Takes a Family

I want to take a few minutes and talk about siblings. Many of us may have more than one child, and the dynamic of siblings on a normal basis is interesting to say the least. But when you throw in them having a sibling that sometimes gets “special treatment” because of them being diabetic, it adds another layer.

Logan is our oldest, 8, and is Type 1 diabetic. Then we have Addison, who is 5 going on 25! Addison will probably never remember life before Logan was diabetic. She has seen a LOT in her short, almost 6, years! She was only 5-months old when her daddy lost his leg in a farm accident, and now she is seeing her daddy and big brother live with diabetes. She is destined to do SOMETHING in the medical field! If we’re lucky, it’s going to be finding a cure <3.

She has always been my helper when it comes to the medical care. Whether it was helping hold bandages when I was doing wound care for Andrew, being the bossiest little nurse when it comes to Logan getting his sugar checked and taking his insulin, or now keeping track of his Dexcom!

So, what I wasn’t prepared for was when the fear started to creep in for Andrew that she might be diabetic (because he felt like she was drinking too much water, and visiting the bathroom a little too much).

I expected the fear from Andrew. He has almost been waiting for it. But, I wasn’t expecting MY fear. I was finding myself hesitating to agree to check her sugar. I noticed myself trying to convince myself that he was crazy. And when I sat with it and explored why, it was because of fear. And, not necessarily the fear of her being diabetic. It was the fear of Andrew having to sit with it. I didn’t want him to blame himself again.

So I decided one Saturday morning, when he was at the farm, to tell her we were going to check her sugar.

More fear I was not expecting.

She has watched daddy and Logan check their sugar since before she can remember. But when it was her turn, it was a different story.

It turned into about an hour-long conversation/crying/screaming ordeal. Tears on both sides. It only ended because I had engaged the lancet and didn’t tell her. When she finally took it, she pushed the button before I could tell her. Oh, she was NOT a fan. But, we did it! We checked her sugar, and it was normal. All of that fear and anxiety of the UNKNOWN created such a stress in my life for weeks that could have been avoided. Not the hour-long ordeal probably, but everything else…yes.

So, I’m curious. How do you handle siblings? Is there a question mark in your mind? Is there something you do special with them so they don’t get lost in the shuffle? Do they play a part in managing their sibling’s diabetes?

There is NO right or wrong answer on this one. Each and every one of us will have a different way that works for our family. And if you feel like its not working, trying something else! We are all here to learn and these kids of ours are usually the best teachers.

About

Family photo of Dunlap family

This blog post is PART SIX of IT TAKES A FAMILY: LIFE WITH TYPE 1, written by Lindsay Dunlap.

The Dunlap family lives with two generations of T1D, and Lindsay is graciously sharing their experience with us. If you’d like to connect with Lindsay, she’d be happy to talk about the highs and lows with you at lindsay@lindsaydunlapcoaching.com.

Learn More

Click here to learn more about the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, including support for families through programs such as Camp Hamwi.

Bicycle Training or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Struggle

By | Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Featured News, It Takes a Family

I am going to give an example of my bad parenting. Logan is 8 and still doesn’t know how to ride a bike. I am the worst parent in the world, I know.

I can give you all the reasons/excuses as to why, like when he was three his daddy got in a really bad farm accident and lost his leg. For the next few years my attention was focused on those daily battles of infections, surgeries, an infant (his little sister, Addison) and just balancing life. I could also tell you that our gravel driveway was hard for him to pedal, and the yard was worse.

No matter the reasons, the current reality is that Logan is an 8-year-old who doesn’t know how to ride a bike.

Now that we have more flat space and more time (because we have nothing but time now!), I really want him to learn.

He got a bike for Christmas and we tried a few weeks ago. Some would see it as an epic failure. I just learned that as a big kid, I needed more than just my arms to hold him up on his bike! So, the Easter Bunny brought training wheels.

Off we went again on Easter Sunday to ride bikes.

I have learned so much in this experience! I learned that my husband and I have two very different teaching methods. I recognize that this is going to be a process and we need to start with learning to fall. Andrew says, “he’s 8, he should know how to do it — just go do it.”

But we also now have an 8-year-old who doesn’t want to fall. He doesn’t want to do it scared. He wants it to be just as easy as it is in the video games where you can ride off the jump, break into thousands of pieces and just pop right up again without feeling any pain.

So, this bike riding lesson turned into a lesson about recognizing in life there are going to be things that are hard. There are going to times when you don’t want to do something and it’s going to hurt, and you’re going to want to go home and forget about it. But you still have to do it. Like diabetes. It is going to be hard. It is going to be painful. There is no way that we as parents can take that away from our children. So, we have to stop putting that expectation on ourselves to “make it better” for them.

There is a principle I learned that strikes home in almost every facet of life:

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

There will be hard times. There will be times where you want to give up. But don’t live in there. Don’t feel sorry for yourself or your child for those moments. Create out of them the strength that failure only exists if you stop trying. So, don’t ever stop trying.

About

Family photo of Dunlap family

This blog post is PART FIVE of IT TAKES A FAMILY: LIFE WITH TYPE 1, written by Lindsay Dunlap.

The Dunlap family lives with two generations of T1D, and Lindsay is graciously sharing their experience with us. If you’d like to connect with Lindsay, she’d be happy to talk about the highs and lows with you at lindsay@lindsaydunlapcoaching.com.

Learn More

Click here to learn more about the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, including support for families through programs such as Camp Hamwi.

Logan poses with a baseball bat

Don’t Let Panic Guide Your Response When Things “Escalate Quickly”

By | Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Featured News, It Takes a Family

Wow…has life changed in a month! I just keep flashing back to a meme I saw on social media that read, “well that escalated quickly.” NO KIDDING!

But when I stepped back to think about this crazy worldwide pandemic that we are experiencing, I also think I’ve been through things that “escalated quickly” before.

These things have been scary and life altering, and yet, here I am, still living life to the fullest daily.

When Logan was diagnosed with T1D it felt like one of those things that went in slow motion, but at warp speed all at the same time. My husband, Andrew, is diabetic, and this was his biggest fear in having children. I remember him saying to me “I just don’t want our kids to be diabetic.”

So when he started seeing signs in Logan, I thought for sure it was him overreacting. Logan drank a lot of chocolate milk at night, so of course he would have to go to the bathroom at night. That doesn’t mean he’s diabetic. When I agreed to have Andrew check Logan’s sugar, I thought I was going to be proving my point.

I was wrong.

That’s when I felt like things were in slow motion, but in warp speed. It all of the sudden escalated quickly.

But I say all of that to say this: We’ve been through life-altering, scary things before. True, it was not on a worldwide pandemic level. But tell me someone who DIDN’T have the feeling of your life crumbling around you, just for a minute, when your child was diagnosed with diabetes?

How did you handle that life altering, scary moment in your life? Did you cry a lot? Did you yell? Did you let your “type A” personality kick in and just keep organized and systematic to keep it all together? And after you remember how you handled it, answer this question: Did it work well for you?

If it did—GREAT! Then you know what way works best for you in this situation to get through this.

If it didn’t, you get to make a choice. What will you change TODAY to help you feel more confident in how you respond to our current reality?

There is A LOT of panic in the world right now. And again, you may have had that feeling before in life. I implore you to go back to that moment and think about how it served you in that moment. More times than not, panic just builds the fear and anxiety and makes it more difficult to focus on the facts.

The facts we have, as I see them, are that we get the opportunity to slow down and spend time with our family. We get to catch up with friends in ways that we have never taken the time to do before. We get to show people how to handle fear and anxiety that we have experienced with feeling. Right now, we get to model for people the best way we can to lean into strength and conscious choices, rather than fear and panic.

Finally, let me tell you this: It is still normal, no matter how many scary things you have been through, to still have fear, grief, and a whole multitude of emotions. But you’ve been here before when it comes to the thoughts and emotions of “life is over,” “life will never be the same.”

YOU’VE GOT THIS.

Don’t push that experience away or downplay it…use it as your superpower.

About

Family photo of Dunlap family

This blog post is PART FOUR of IT TAKES A FAMILY: LIFE WITH TYPE 1, written by Lindsay Dunlap.

The Dunlap family lives with two generations of T1D, and Lindsay is graciously sharing their experience with us. If you’d like to connect with Lindsay, she’d be happy to talk about the highs and lows with you at lindsay@lindsaydunlapcoaching.com.

Learn More

Click here to learn more about the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, including support for families through programs such as Camp Hamwi.

Logan playing basketball

A Network of Support Away from Home

By | Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Featured News, It Takes a Family

How do you manage the stress and anxiety of your child’s diabetes management when you aren’t there?

Let’s face it, as much as we would like to be in control 24/7, it is nearly impossible. Even if you are a stay-at-home parent, you still have to send your child to school! It is overwhelming to think about how many adults our children interact with who may need to support them if something were to happen. Teachers, school nurses, school aides, bus drivers, babysitter/daycare provider, coaches/instructors, friend’s parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. The list can probably go on and on.
But there are two keys that have helped me ensure my child is getting the best possible care and helps keep stress and anxiety down.

Key #1: COMMUNICATION

I am in the camp that believes overcommunicating is better than assuming. When Logan was in kindergarten, I wrote down a list of “free” snacks he could have and the serving size. In 1st grade, when his diabetes was progressing out of the “honeymoon” phase, I sat down with his teacher and the school nurse. I explained what his body was going through (the best I could anyway!) And from day one, I have always packed his lunch and sent a “carb sheet” that tells the carbs for everything in his lunch and the total. I try to take the guess work out of it.
I also requested the school nurses email me every day with his blood sugars. It was great for me before he was on his pump to see the numbers each day so I could make adjustments, not just get the records every once in a while.
And you know what I learned from being so open about my communication? I have an ARMY of people who care deeply about my son!
Logan has an infectious smile and he thinks he’s smarter than he is…but these people really do CARE. And I may not have seen that if I was not willing to be proactive and develop these partnerships for his care. We are truly blessed with great people in his life.

Key #2: INCLUDE YOUR CHILD IN THEIR CARE

This may seem like a no-brainer, but as parents we want to do everything we can to protect our children. And sometimes we make their lives harder because of it. But Andrew and I have made a conscious effort to not sugarcoat anything with Logan, because it isn’t helping him in the long run. So when Logan goes to a friend’s house, we go over the expectations of when to check and when to call/Facetime me to check carb counts. He is still only 8, so this is not a fool-proof plan and I still give parents far more information than they would probably like (please refer to key 1, LOL!). But we want him to know now that it is a responsibility to take seriously.

Bonus: Gratitude

This is probably the thing that makes these steps so much easier to take on. Express your gratitude to that long list of adults for caring so deeply for your child. Express gratitude to your child for paying attention and making healthy food choices or opting out of the popcorn at the movies with Nana because his sugar is already high (a personal grateful moment!)
This disease is not easy. It can be overwhelming. It can be scary. It can be anxiety inducing. But when you recognize some of the small things that you can impact…do them, unapologetically. And never forget the gratitude.

About

Family photo of Dunlap family

This blog post is PART THREE of IT TAKES A FAMILY: LIFE WITH TYPE 1, written by Lindsay Dunlap.

The Dunlap family lives with two generations of T1D, and Lindsay is graciously sharing their experience with us. If you’d like to connect with Lindsay, she’d be happy to talk about the highs and lows with you at lindsay@lindsaydunlapcoaching.com.

Learn More

Click here to learn more about the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, including support for families through programs such as Camp Hamwi.

Dunlap children playing video games

Dealing with Mom Guilt During Diabetes Journey

By | Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Featured News, It Takes a Family

You know what comes with a child who is diabetic. MOM GUILT. And I guess it’s more so parent guilt, but as mom’s we like to feel like we’re special.

But that guilt starts when you are presented with the diagnosis. The thoughts start running through your head, “what did I do wrong?” “Was it something I did when I was pregnant?” “I should have caught it sooner, maybe we could have done something!” All of those thoughts we know LOGICALLY are all untrue. But emotions are so much stronger than logic sometimes, and we feel like we have put our child in this position.

Then, there is the guilt around watching them poked and prodded every day. My son, Logan, wanted nothing to do with an insulin pump for almost two years after he was diagnosed. I think mostly because he saw his daddy take shots and prick his finger every day, so that was “normal” to him, he wasn’t about to try something unknown right now. And Logan was amazing and at six years old refused to allow anyone else do his shots but him. But the pit in my throat each time I had to wake him up because he fell asleep early to take his insulin, and the meltdowns that would ensue were perfect for the “mom guilt” to build up.

Or, when he wanted to go to a friend’s house, and I had to talk to the parents and explain that he was diabetic and that he couldn’t really have any snacks. And then the guilt of almost getting his sugar higher than I would like it, just to avoid him going low when I wasn’t around. Guilt, Guilt, Guilt.

But…when those moment of guilt came up, there were almost always moments of intense PRIDE. I am proud of Logan because he still gets up every day to be a regular kid. The only person that is going to give him limitations is me, and he is sure to tell me that too! He was giving himself 5-6 shots a DAY at the age of SIX!!! How could I NOT be proud of that kid!

So, when those emotions come; when the guilt, or the anger or sadness come up, remember:

You get to choose how you feel.

You get to choose whether or not you want to feel that way.

And no matter what you choose, it doesn’t make you any less of an amazing parent.

You get to choose how long you feel that way. When you are thinking how it’s not fair, and that makes you feel sad or guilty.

How willing would you be to try something different?

What if you thought: “how can I make my son/daughter know I love them today?” How does that make you feel?

I would encourage you to go with that. It’s going to do you both a lot of good.

About

Family photo of Dunlap family

This blog post is PART TWO of IT TAKES A FAMILY: LIFE WITH TYPE 1, written by Lindsay Dunlap.

The Dunlap family lives with two generations of T1D, and Lindsay is graciously sharing their experience with us. If you’d like to connect with Lindsay, she’d be happy to talk about the highs and lows with you at lindsay@lindsaydunlapcoaching.com.

Learn More

Click here to learn more about the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, including support for families through programs such as Camp Hamwi.

Family photo of Dunlap family

The Road to a Type 1 Diagnosis

By | Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Featured News, It Takes a Family

When Logan was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in January 2018 at the age of six, it kind of felt like “what else is going to happen to us?!” My husband Andrew, who is also Type 1 diabetic, had been involved in a farm accident in December 2014 and lost his left leg. We had been facing one uphill battle after another with his recovery, including 2 battles with MRSA. At the time of Andrew’s accident, we had Logan, who was three, and his sister, Addison, who was just 4-months old. I worked full-time and I was thrust into the role of a full-time caregiver along with the role of wife and mother. Now, just as we felt like we were turning a corner, Andrew just knew something wasn’t right.

So, we traveled that heart-crushing road of tests and diagnosis. We went to the lab for blood work where we had to hold Logan down while he screamed because he was so scared. We spent the night in the hospital and explained to him that he was going to take shots like Daddy did.

Don’t get me wrong, I am eternally grateful that we had as much knowledge as we did about this disease and that Logan has his “role model” of a dad to see that he can do this. But it felt like life was kicking us when we were down. Especially when Logan says, “I don’t want to be diabetic anymore.” I mean, insert the dagger right in Mommy’s heart!

But rather than let this journey of life break me down and define me, I chose to let it empower me. I was not going to allow myself, and my family, to be victims. I chose that these experiences in life, as challenging and mind-blowing as they were, gave me the gift of being a caregiver. And the gift to support and empower other parents and caregivers who are experiencing all of these frightening unknowns and don’t know how to manage it all.

Fast forward to 2020: Logan is eight, he played football for the first time last fall and is just getting started on his Omnipod pump! Andrew has been back to work on the farm. Addison is five and will make a fabulous nurse or doctor some day with all the medical stuff she has seen! And I am driven to empower and educate with our story and my message. No matter how unfair or awful it may seem, let your story empower you.

About

This blog post is PART ONE of IT TAKES A FAMILY: LIFE WITH TYPE 1, written by Lindsay Dunlap.

The Dunlap family lives with two generations of T1D, and Lindsay is graciously sharing their experience with us. If you’d like to connect with Lindsay, she’d be happy to talk about the highs and lows with you at lindsay@lindsaydunlapcoaching.com.

Learn More

Click here to learn more about the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, including support for families through programs such as Camp Hamwi.