Hardships Turn Ordinary Into Extraordinary

HardshipsI’m always impressed with a guest author’s story— that’s why I publish them. With every one of them I realize how hardships have turned ordinary into extraordinary people. From last Sunday’s Story, I can’t stop thinking about Cassidy and how much good she’s accomplished in her short life span of eight years, more specifically the four years she has had Type 1 Diabetes. Deidre is a supportive, wonderful mother who encourages and makes it all possible. Their destiny will be incredible judging from the past four years.

I learned a lot about diabetes from Cassidy’s Story.

  1. Warning signs: Some that Deidre mentioned were weight loss, increase thirst and hunger, lack of energy, wetting the bed at night and sleeping a lot.
  1. Calculating insulin dose is complicated and time consuming. Every carbohydrate has to be counted for in order to give the correct amount of insulin. Serving sizes are tricky and it takes time to calculate. Months after the diagnose Deidre researched and found Salter Nutri-Weight Dietary Computer Scale. She uses the model #1450 and this has simplified the calculating process. I didn’t know insulin was given before a meal so the body has time to absorb the insulin before the food begins to digest, which means it is important to eat the calculated carbs. If the calculated amount is not eaten, you’ve had too much insulin and the blood glucose level drops too low.
  1. Don’t judge others. Cassidy’s first birthday party experience made me realize how quick we are to judge when we really don’t fully understand the situation. Deidre said, “She really wanted a piece of cake. I had thought the slice of cake was Cassidy-sized so I gave her a shot of insulin and she started eating. Half way through the cake she was full. Now she had too much insulin and her blood glucose level would drop low if she didn’t finish the cake. I was standing there with other moms and said, ‘sorry sweetie you need to eat all of your cake.’ I got some strange looks from the other moms. I must be the first mom who ever forced their child to eat all of their cake.”
  1. Organizations are supportive, educational and helpful. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) reached out to Deidre through their Family Link program. She was able to talk to families going through the same thing, which brought her comfort and support.
  1. Get involved. I appreciated how the Pickering family gave back to ADA through the Step Out walk. Deidre said, “In the last four years Cassidy has raised more than $6,000.00 towards finding the cure for diabetes. She has volunteered with the ADA to help fill bags with goodies that they give to newly diagnosed patients. She also was a spit donor to help train diabetes sniffing dogs.”
  1. Share the responsibility. I state this often in my Tuesday Tips because I feel so strongly about it. No one can do it all. We need breaks once in a while and by taking them we can do a better job with giving care. It’s awesome that John’s sister took the time to learn how to count carbs and calculate the insulin doses so she could assist in Cassidy’s care. By doing so, John and Deidre are able to take breaks, reassured that Cassidy is in capable hands. Also they’re teaching Cassidy how to manage her own pump and how to count carbs so she can give herself insulin. Deidre is not only supportive, but a smart mom for involving her daughter in making lifestyle changes even at an early age.

Remember when you’re feeling like your load is too heavy, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”

Today’s Choices Shape Tomorrow

Today's choices

Three caregiving tips I gained from Dianne’s Story, Caregiving Reflections:

1)      Share the responsibility. After three years of taking care of her aging parents, Dianne proposed a plan to her siblings. Each would take one day to fill the needs of their parents.  Dianne took the extra day in the week meaning she had two days instead of the five to seven that we had been trying to cover before.

2)      Set limits to your time. Dianne’s siblings all had full-time employment which meant many times the assigned person for that day had a work or personal conflict. Because Dianne lived close by, she was often called to fill in when it was hard for others. As the primary caregiver, it is important to set limits and enforce them so you don’t get burnt out.

3)      Live without regrets. Dianne doesn’t have any regrets when it comes to the time and efforts she spent caring for her parents for over five years. She realizes she did her best to fill their needs and appreciates the time she spent with them. I was especially impressed that the family continued checking on their mother even when she was in a care center. I’ve seen many lonely people in care centers because their family does not visit them or make sure they are getting the necessary care.