The Other Lisa

My friend, Lisa, and her OrnaPod

She came to my aide.

Several years ago, I posted a question on a forum.

Sound familiar?

My question was interpreted differently than I intended by many – by most – or at least those that responded. I posted a question as a parent to a group that was largely adults living with diabetes. I had a question related to rights at school and I knew there was this well-versed woman out there but I couldn’t remember where I had seen her. I posted to the wrong forum. I quoted the disability act that protects our children, but many adults seemed to think I was referring to them as disabled. Of course I was not.

Misunderstandings happen. I understood why people reacted the way they did. It is a sensitive issue. But it seemed that no one wanted to understand what I was trying to say. My son is not disabled, but that’s the word in the name of the law that protects him.

That is except for Lisa. She understood.

Lisa saw what was happening and contacted me offline. She, an adult living with diabetes and a mom, understood my intention and took pity on me. It helped lessen the intensity of the pit in my stomach.

We live and learn.

Had I posted my question to the correct forum though, I may have never “met” Lisa. She sent me this long and kind email – several of them in fact. They were as close to hugs as words on a screen can get. She wanted me to know that Caleb would be okay. That she was okay after growing up with diabetes. Not a single complication or sign of one. I remember her saying this specifically. Statements like these have always provided me great comfort, particularly in those early days. Lisa’s words were so sincere and credible. I think of them often – I think of her often – if my mind starts to wander in the worry direction and then I don’t worry so much.

The first video I ever made of Caleb with diabetes was one of awareness. It emphasized the struggles that a person with diabetes has. It was not meant to be a heart-warmer. It was where my mind was at the time and it was therapeutic to make.

One of messages in the video is that things are less spontaneous when you live with diabetes, particularly eating. For the few months that Caleb was on injections, it seemed that laser precision in carb counting, insulin dosing and meal timing was necessary. The slightest deviation in any one of these things seemed to make his little body go berserk.

To depict this point there’s a picture of Caleb “before” with chocolate cake batter all over his face – the message that spoon licking was a thing of the past. I have to say, at the time, I truly thought it was.

But Lisa assured me – on this point she was unyielding – that he CAN lick the spoon!

I cannot make a cake without thinking of Lisa and her kindness.

And Caleb has resumed spoon-licking, with the tender encouragement of Lisa.

Caleb’s birthday is later this month. I’ll have to snap the “after” shot to depict a different story. One of ability and enjoying little, everyday pleasures.

Thank you, Lisa. I enjoy you. You make me smile. I appreciate our friendship. Come back to Massachusetts again and I’ll do my darndest to get there to meet you in person.

The “This is Caleb…” video that started it all:

11 Replies to “The Other Lisa”

  1. Love The Other Lisa post. So sweet and so well written. I hope I can be a “Lisa” to someone someday. Your post got me realizing, I don’t let my daughter lick the spoon. I don’t know how much to bolus. I feel like a bad mom not allowing my diabetic child to taste one of the best parts. Not the just the batter, but the whole fun of making something together. So my question is, do you now let him lick, and if so, do you bolus? Thanks for putting a smile on my face today.

    1. Thank you Tracy!

      Caleb licks. 😉 As far as bolusing it’s a crapshoot. All depends on where his blood sugar has been. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. As Lisa counseled, if they go a little high, who cares? Just correct and move on. The experience and memories are well worth it.

  2. Awesome! “Spoon licking” makes me nervous! Thanks for reminding me that she CAN lick the spoon and all will be ok.

  3. I LOVE this post…such an encouragement to me. The words, “not a single complication or sign of one” makes me want to cry happy tears. We are still on shots and I feel the same way about the carb counting needing to be absolutely perfect, the timing of the meals and shots needing to be the same each day for her to have the best blood sugars (most of the time). It kills me when we are baking and she asks for permission to lick her fingers….I always tell her yes (and cringe inside). We always try to bake right before a meal so she can have the treat with the meal and then I just correct her blood sugar at the meal for all the extra licking rather than trying to add up how much she “licked”! Thanks for sharing…this made me feel good to hear others felt the same when on shots. What a blessing she is to you!

  4. Thank you, Lorraine, for the gift of your words, and thanks to you all for the wonderful comments. I am glad that I have provided some encouragement, but know that you have also encouraged me to continue being an example of what life with T1 can (and should?) be. I live with diabetes, but I don’t let it control what I do. No one has ever told me, “You can’t do that because you have diabetes!” I will be 50 this year…I was diagnosed at age 5. I have 2 healthy children, a very normal life, and still no complications (knocking on wood!). You are amazing moms, and your children may never know how much you worry about them licking spoons and eating cookie dough. But letting them do it, just like everyone else, is a gift…and not enough carbs to worry about! 🙂

  5. That was an awesome post – thanks. 🙂
    When our son was diagnosed, an adult with T1 also threw us a lifeline. She’d been dx’ed at 5, but – “I just remember a happy childhood. I don’t remember the diabetes,” she said. Our son was only 14 months, so hearing that he might grow up with memories of something besides diabetes really gave us hope.
    Just like this post – thanks to you and Lisa!

  6. I don’t let Kortnie lick the spoon anymore either, next time I’m gonna let her do it, I’ll cringe inside too, but thanks for the reminders that we need to let them enjoy the little things still

  7. Last week I let Joel lick the spoon for the first time in nearly 3 years. It was the most freeing moment. 🙂 Great post!!

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