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The Function Behind the Fashion: Lauren's Hope Medical Jewelry

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I remember being in the hospital at diagnosis and getting loads and loads of materials and brochures.  There was this "World of Diabetes" binder the hospital gave us.  There was information about JDRF, Calorie King, and lots of medical device brochures.  But one caught my eye...

The brochure from Lauren's Hope.

I remember the social worker going over all this stuff with us and saying that it would be a good idea for her to wear a medical alert tag now.

I was still in such a fog.  My kid needs to wear something that tells the world she has a disease?  No thanks.

But the Lauren's Hope information caught my eye... as does all pretty jewelry!

I actually WANTED to look at it.  It wasn't cold, drab steel.  It was colorful beads and pretty charms.

THAT I was willing to do!

Life was really, really sucky at first.  Sweets was crying every time we gave her a shot.  Which was five or more times a day.  We needed something fun.  We needed a distraction.

So we went shopping!

For a medical alert bracelet!

I knew she needed one.  I wanted her to have one.  And if it had to happen --- it was going to be pretty!

I sat her little three year old self on my lap and we picked out a bracelet for her to wear!

I was worried she wouldn't like it.  She had NEVER worn jewelry before  She never liked it for more than a few minutes.  Luckily, it wasn't a problem!  She put on her bracelet and never took it off!

Over the summer, we got new bracelets from Lauren's Hope!  Sweets wanted a new bracelet.  She wears hers every. single. day.  And she NEVER takes it off.  She sleeps in it.  She showers in it.  She swims in it.  She wears it to school and dance and gymnastics and cheerleading.  It NEVER leaves her arm.  Her old one was looking a little worn.... I mean, the thing had been worn like that for well over a year!

Lauren's Hope was kind enough to offer her a bracelet if I would agree to review it! Ummm.... sure!  We love Lauren's Hope!  As I mentioned, any bracelet that can be worn constantly for that long gets lots of gold stars in my book!  They last.  And they look great, too!

Sweets picked out The Diva medical alert bracelet.  Are you at all surprised by this?

You can see why she fell in love with it!  It's very pretty!  

She chose a purple medial emblem on the front of her tag.  Her favorite color, you know!

But don't be fooled... like I said, this thing can stand up to lots of wear and tear!  She has worn it since summer and it still looks brand new!  Here are some pictures of her sporting her jewelry!

She likes it because it's pretty.  She gets lots of compliments on it all the time!  It doesn't scream I HAVE DIABETES.  That's important to her.  And it's comfortable, too.  Trust me - she doesn't suffer for fashion.  If it bugs her, it's a no-go.  

What's important to ME is that she likes and wants to wear it.  I mean, it doesn't do anyone any good if it sits at home on the dresser.

It's also important to me that she has necessary medical information on her person at all times.  God Forbid we are in a situation where she can't talk for herself and no one else is there to do it either.  But if it happens - we are prepared.  It's got her diagnosis, the fact that she wears an insulin pump, and both of our cell phone numbers on it.

The list of possible scenarios is endless... As D parents, I'm sure we have all thought of them from time to time.  Worried.  Wondered.  I like knowing that I have done everything I can to keep her safe and protect her if I'm not right there to do it myself.  And as she's growing up... me not being right there is happening more and more often.  It's like a little security blanket for me! (And her too, even if she won't admit it!)

Know why else this is great?

Safety.  We just got back from Disney World.  But even when we are at the mall or someplace smaller than the Magic Kingdom... she knows she has our phone numbers on her arm.  She knows that if she is to ever get lost, she should go to a worker and show them her bracelet.  Now that she's a little older, she might be able to remember phone numbers.  But I don't have to worry because they are right there on her arm!  LOVE THAT!!!   

Guess what else Lauren's Hope offered us?  

A bracelet for ME!!!

"YOU?" you ask?  "Why do YOU need a bracelet?"

Well, thanks for asking.  Let me tell you.  

Lauren's Hope offers something called a Caregiver ID.  This is something that the caregiver wears containing the medical information of the person for whom they are responsible.  

I like this idea.  Another added layer of security.  And since they are so cute, sign me up!

I chose the Sea Jewel bracelet.  I wanted something that would match lots of things and look fashionable and discreet.  

My bracelet has Sweetpea's information on it.  It states her diagnosis and that she wears an insulin pump.  It also has our phone numbers.

Why would this be needed?  I think it can be especially useful for parents of young children.  If something happened, if we were in an accident and I was not able to speak for myself or my child... my bracelet could.  If she was not injured, people might not think to look at her medical id.  And I seriously doubt that she would think her diabetes diagnosis was something she should share.  But who knows?  It could be important and necessary information.  Sweets rarely feels her lows so I can just imagine we unconsious and her acting quiet or crying and medical personnel thinking that it's from the accident when really it's a low blood sugar.  I would want others to know that my child has diabetes in case she needed attention.  

Is this unlikely?  Well, it might be.  But so was having a child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  I've learned that you just don't know what is around the next corner.  And again... better safe than sorry.  It can't hurt.  It's an extra layer of protection.  And it's not like wearing such a pretty bracelet is a hardship!!  

My bracelet has also held up quite well to wear and tear.  Now, I don't wear mine all the time.  I don't sleep in it.  I don't even wear it every day.  But I like having it to wear on occasions that I know we will be together - especially when it's just the two of us.  

I can really see parents of small children getting a lot of use out of something like this.  I know I like having it now and can imagine that having it when she was a toddler would have helped me feel more secure.  

Isn't that what medical jewelry is all about?  It's a way to keep us and our loved ones safe.  

For us, it's a non-negotiable.  She HAS to wear her bracelet.  

And if you've got wear something every day, I think you deserve something pretty that makes you feel good!  

Lauren's Hope offers a wide selection of women's and girl's jewelry.  If beads aren't your thing you can find the traditional silver bracelets, necklaces, silicone bracelets and more!  There are even special allergy bracelets if you are looking for something like that.  

Now don't think that Lauren's Hope has left out the boys!  Nope!

Lauren's Hope offers some great designs for both men and boys including sports themed items, silicone bracelets, dog tags, paracord and more!  

So what are you waiting for?  Order yours today!  These would make great stocking stuffers! (Yes, I know it's not even Halloween but it's never too early to get some shopping done!) Use the code PRINCESS to get a 10% discount!

You don't even have to take my word for how awesome this company and their products are!  You can click here and see what others have to say!

But wait...! You *might* want to stay tuned because I will be GIVING AWAY a Lauren's Hope medical bracelet right here on this blog in November in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month!  How cool is that?!? 

Thanks, Lauren's Hope, for helping us stay safe and stylish at the same time!


A LIfe Well LIved

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Four years ago I was new to this disease.

I was trying to figure out how to raise a three year old with diabetes.  She had just started pumping.  She had just started preschool.

I needed people who understood.  I needed to know it was going to be ok.  I needed advice.

And I REALLY needed to find other mothers of little girls with type 1 diabetes.

I had started blogging over the summer.  There weren't many of us then.  Just a handful.

We became Facebook friends.  We commented on each other's blogs.  We were there for each other.  We all needed that "same".

Somehow the idea of an online chat was devised.  We figured  out how to do a chat room and had a standing Sunday night D Mama chat.

Actually, I think that's when the term D Mama was coined.  Back when there were just a handful of us trying to figure this thing out.  Back before "official" blogs.  Back when no one was reading but us!

That's when I met Shamae.

I loved reading her blog.  She had (at the time) two little girls.  Sydney and Morgan.   Sydney had Type 1.  And she was just a little older than Sweets.

She had walked this road before me.  And I needed her expertise.  I needed her humor.

I needed that feeling of "same".

Those chats and blogs and Mamas were sometimes the only thing keeping me sane!

Shamae made this awesome video a few years ago about the DOC and how sometimes we all need to be with others who understand.  Our kids were so little....!

Time passed.  Our kids were getting older.  Not toddlers anymore... but big kids!

Life happened.

The chats stopped.

We kept in touch through blogs and Facebook updates.

Shamae had another little girl, Hadlee, who was born early and with various complications.  Shamae had her own health problems.  And Morgan tested positive for Type 1 antibodies.

We may not have all been as close as we once were but we still hold a special spot in each other's hearts.

I was just laughing at one of her updates last week.

That's why the news I got on Sunday stopped me cold.

Shamae had passed away in her sleep at the young age of 30.


This doesn't seem real.  How can this be?  It must be a cruel joke.

Except that it's not.

Please keep Shamae's family in your thoughts and prayers.

If you have memories, pictures, stories or anything you would like to share, please do so.

Shambo, you will be missed beyond comprehension.  It was a pleasure to know you and a gift to learn from you during a very difficult time in my life.  You will never be forgotten.

I will leave you with this quote from Shamae's blog...

"I turned 29 on June 11 (2012).   It's a big step. I feel that life is speeding by and it just doesn't slow down. Every year that I age I know it means my parents and grandparents who are still around are just another year older as well. When aging gets a little scary I just remember one of my favorite quotes, "Never regret growing older. Tis a privilege denied to many." We have had some super scary health issues over the past 2 years and I will never regret having another birthday to celebrate."

Honor Shamae by living your life fully.  By sucking up every ounce of life.  By never letting Diabetes - or anything else - get in the way.  Don't wait until tomorrow.  Live and Love fully - Today.  


Here Comes the Sun

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The contrast is sharp. 

It was a beautiful fall day.  One of those cloudless days where the blue sky was bright and the sun was reflecting on the leaves.  The vibrant yellows and red popped off of the trees.  The air was warm but had lost summer's death grip and instead blew gentle breezes scattering leaves and ruffling the hair of the children playing. 

 One of those days you just want to suck up all the beauty and save it for later.

I was on the playground at school.  Watching my kinders happily play.

My phone buzzed.

A text from J.

"Pod alarm.  Something happened during her lunch bolus. I'm going to school to do a pod change.  FYI."

 Great.  We NEVER have pod alarms or failures.  I can count on one hand the number we've had in over two years of podding. 

"What happened?"  I ask.

"Idk.  Possibly static.  She said her new corduroy leggings were kinda staticky." 

This is why he works from home.  For occasions just like this.  Because I can't just leave.  Even though I hate not being the one to go take care of it. 

So there I stand.  Watching my kids running around and going down the slide.  They are happy and carefree. 

I notice that none of them goes down the slide with one leg slightly raised like my daughter does so that the chance of a static issue with her pump is less.  I notice that none of these kids have to test their blood before lunch or recess.  None of them are missing recess because of a disease they didn't ask for and for which there is no cure.  None of them have fingers covered in tiny bruises like my child does. 

I sigh.

I remind myself that we are lucky.  We are lucky we have incredibly technology that allows her to be as much like everyone else as possible.  We are lucky to be able to go fix things and send her back to class.  We are lucky that things like this rarely get her down.  We are lucky her attitude remains positive and upbeat regardless of diabetes.  We are lucky she's alive. 

But it still stings.  The contrast. 

I take in all the sights and sounds of this beautiful day and vow to focus on THAT. 

And I do.  Although I also check in to make sure she's ok.

It's easy (easier) on this day to push away the pain and sadness and guilt and fear. 

Fast forward.....

Today it's gloomy.

It's grey and cold.  Raindrops are falling from heavy, dark clouds.  Wind is blowing.  The branches of the trees are starting to become bare.  Today it's clear that winter is coming. 

It's one of those days where you just want to stay in bed and curl up with a warm mug of apple cider. 

It's one of those days where it's not so easy to push away all those feelings we wrestle with everyday.
 And it's not because of the weather.

It's because of this...

A friend messaged me yesterday that ANOTHER child in our school district was diagnosed with T1.  If you're counting - that makes 30.

I woke up this morning to news that on my D Mama bloggy friends now has TWO children with T1.

This disease is getting on my nerves.

I know that it's going to be ok.  I know these families are going thrive.

But I also know that getting there - and staying there - won't be easy.

There will be days like today when the world looks grey.
When your kid tells you he feels different and is having trouble fitting in.
When you see the look on your child's face when her friends go play and has to wait and test.
When the bruises on their finger tips are more pronounced.
When there are tears after a site change.
When you have to take your little one to the ER because of a tummy bug and crashing bg.
Or because of ketones and DKA.
When you see the look that means she is so low that she's not really there.
When the attitude you are getting you KNOW is due to a whacked out bg number.
When you are afraid to go to sleep because of the number staring back at you from the meter.
When you are so exhausted just keeping your eyes open is major win.

The list is endless.

This journey - this LIFE - isn't for the faint of heart.  You've gotta be tough to make it through.

Good thing for us, we are.
You are, too.

So - today I'm gonna let it rain.
I'm gonna suck up the gloom.  I'm gonna let the tears fall.  I'm gonna curse this disease.
And I'm gonna get that mug of warm apple cider!

Because I know the sun is still behind those clouds.
We can't see it --- but it's there.
Just waiting to come out and shine on us again.

I don't know how to make it better when you're in the gloom.   I don't know how to make it easier. 

All I know to do is wait for the sun.  And make sure I don't miss it when it comes back.



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