Monday, August 6, 2012

Nora's Crocodile Rockers, 2012, JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes

Dear Family, Friends, Loved Ones, and Colleagues,

I am asking for your help. I ain't askin nobody for nothin, if I can't get it on my own.  So goes the song, but I can't get this on my own. I hope you can offer some kind of financial support to bolster the great research happening today which is bringing a cure for diabetes a bit closer. For those who are interested to know more, please read on. I have tried to help someone on the outside of the problem appreciate a bit of the reality of life with diabetes.

Nine years ago our family experienced a profound transformation. We became a family with a type 1 diabetic child. Our first child, Eleanor, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes while she was still only two. Each day since then, each hour, has included some chore, task, reference, thought, or responsibility demanded of us by diabetes. Please do not think of this as an exaggeration, because if I err, it will be in making the demands less pressing than what they are.

And so we live. We focus on life with as much positive energy as we can. Nora does an excellent job of accepting her circumstances on most days. The rest of us do as well. Blood sugar checks number into the multi-thousands that have been endured so far. Daily shots have given way to the self enclosed delivery device called an OmniPod. This device still has to be monitored, though, and changed no less than every three days. This involves having a spring loaded needle inject the delivery line under the skin. It hurts. The insulin that we have put into the pod then gets gradually delivered into the blood as programming suggests. Who programs it? We do. The programming is based on experience and ever-changing needs of the user. Nothing is automatic; not really.

And so we plan. After nine years we are getting pretty proficient with our knowledge of food and its various carbohydrate counts. Nora gives herself more insulin, called a bolus, whenever she eats. This is based on the carbohydrates in the food. Again, formulas are used, but life is inexact. We still practice a refined form of guess work when needed. When the birthday parties, sleepovers, field trips, celebration dinners, etc. arise, we try our best to plan for it, or at least react well to what is being offered. Nora is growing and changing, and her insulin demands continue to change accordingly. She has completed a kids’ triathlon, and she wants to do more, proving that her limits are still far on the horizon.She has chosen to play cello now in the school orchestra, so her fingers, the parts she uses for checking BG, will endure more stress.

And we educate. Nora is another year older, and we all are slightly wiser. Still we find ourselves dealing frequently with misconceptions and ignorance about diabetes. Since Nora’s pod is sometimes visible she gets asked about it. She explains the situation quite well, but I wonder when she might get sick of saying it all. Well meaning people, both family and friends alike, still make comments that amaze me. Recently we were asked again if it is OK for Nora to have chocolate. I have heard someone telling another that she is not allowed to eat sugar. Others persist in these outdated assumptions that come from times when diabetes was not understood well, and its management tools were severely limited. I was happy to help my friend, Lizmari Collazo, again this year in promoting the Diabetes Ice Cream Social, just to combat some of those outdated ideas.

And we hope. Our lives are woven with the demands of type 1 diabetes. But the reason we ask for help and support is because we hope for a day when we can let go of that part of life. We hope to leave behind our diabetic lifestyle one day soon. Please help us to reach that important goal.

We are walking again this year on October 6th at Military Park, Indianapolis. The Walk for a Cure is a great day to bring together hundreds of people in one place to support JDRF and its efforts fund research. If you wish to donate, you can do so online by following the links I have listed below. You may also write a check payable to JDRF. Any size of donation is useful and appreciated, and all are tax deductible.

Please visit my walk fundraising page at the following link. This will allow you to make an online donation if you should choose to do so. Of course, it would be very exciting and helpful if you would want to join our walk team. Information is also at this link:

We are hoping to do well for Nora’s team this year.  Thanks for your time in reading this. You are part of the cure.

Andy Blythe,
Nora’s Crocodile Rockers, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

On Beauty, Part 2

Moreso than anything else I have published here, friends have asked me about my post, "For the Love of Beautiful Women".  I am very pleased that this piece of exploration into beauty has gained some attention.  I suspect it means that I have written about something important to people.  Today, partially because of a request by one of my friends in the twitterverse, I revisit the topic of beauty.

Beauty resonates.  Its source is somewhere from within the person, in the realm of the spirit.  We all are endowed with beauty.  Some people have allowed the pain of living to dominate them so that the resonance of their beauty cannot be felt.  Pain, when it receives energy and attention from you, becomes strong and prominent.  Many people wear their pain in masks of anger, apathy, disdain, or detachment.  It is hard to see their beauty through the masks and walls.  Pain comes to us all.  It is the beautiful spirit who gives the pain no more attention than a stone in her shoe.  A momentary pause, a cleansing breath, and then it's released.

I know there are many who believe there is beauty in suffering.  There is truth in that.  What people see in the victim, or rather, feel from her, is a desire to save her from the pain, to lead her to comfort.  Through this desire we may sincerely be trying to connect with the other person, but it may also be an end to itself.  Some of us realize that we are attracted to "damaged" people, those we wish to rescue or fix.  What happens, then, once there is a return to calm and normalcy?  The next suffering friend suddenly seems so much more attractive.

True beauty transcends the circumstances, including the flow of time.  You recognize it within your being.  At times of stress and chaos, the presence of beauty calms you.  At times when you have slipped into unawareness and tedium, the beauty awakens you, and reminds you of the present.  When this happens, you feel the wonderful rush of awareness.  You remember your own power and vitality when her beauty resonates with yours.  There is a harmonious energy that is felt, quite real, which cannot be denied. This is the kind of beauty that should be pursued and nurtured.  This is where love may be found.

Beauty manifests itself in the outer person in countless ways.  The body, in all of its wonderful variations, houses, protects, and projects the inner beauty of the spirit.  If you are aware enough to see, there she will be; ageless, radiant, and lovely.  She may be concerned by superfluous facets of life or age, but you, if you are seeing clearly, will see truth.

Beauty is all around.  Where there is life, so also lives beauty.