Off the Dial

Keith’s Ride

Had a blast this weekend at Keith Larson’s Ride for the Kids.

We showed up a little while before the motorcycles actually came in, so we spent some time nosing around Matthews Fun Machines. My daughter liked the pink scooter (it’s the only pink bike here, Mommy!) while Benny preferred the big bikes.

It was a great crowd – lots of fun waiting to see the motorcycles come in – great food and terrific music. My coworker Carl East was smart enough to bring earplugs for his little girls and nice enough to share them with us.

So cool to see all the motorcycles come in. I’ll have to ask Keith how many people were actually there.. it had to be close to 200 bikes. You can see a video of the event at Keith’s website.

The Ride helped raise money for Juvenile Diabetes, so I’ll give you an idea of what we did to keep Benny under control during the event.

In the car ride down from Davidson to Matthews (about a 45 minute drive) we checked his blood sugar. It was 59 – that’s too low. It was lunch time anyway and we didn’t want to push it. Gave Benny 8 carbs in sugar (a gummy fruit snack he loves. Lea had to have some too of course).

Had lunch in the car. Debated whether to give Benny any insulin when we got to the ride. Exercise and excitement can lower blood sugar and we didn’t want to worry about him going too low. Of course, too high isn’t any good either!

Since we’d already had lunch, Benny didn’t eat much at the Ride. This a poor guy inside Matthews Fun Machines tried to give me change so Benny could have a big gumball out of the little machine they have. He thought that’s why I was saying no. Actually, not much to do with diabetes, more with being two years old and not knowing you’re not supposed to swallow gum. We did let Benny have a cookie.

Took him to the car to check his blood sugar. 430!! Ouch. Way too high, but not too surprising after lunch and a treat. Quick insulin shot and back out to dance to the music & watch the bikes.

We left a little while later, just as Keith was starting to speak to the crowd. It was funny, I got the kids into their seats and I was checking Benny’s blood sugar again just as Keith announced we’d been there. I thought about waving to the crowd, but I had a lancet in one hand and a meter in the other. We got a good number and we hit the road.

Thanks to the Ride sponsors, Matthews Fun Machines, Killingsworth Environmental and Showmars. Thanks again, Keith, for a great fun day and a lot of help in fighting diabetes. Maybe when Benny’s old enough to ride, we’ll have a cure.

Melissa Greer

I got quite a bit of email asking me to write something about Melissa Greer’s untimely death from cancer this past Friday. I wrote here back in February about running into her husband, Roger, while Slade and I were out one night.

To be honest, I didn’t know Melissa very well. WBT is in the same building as WBTV, but since Melissa usually worked on the weekend our paths rarely crossed. The last time I saw her was a few weeks before her moved-up due date. She was still pregnant with Connor and optimistic about a healthy delivery. That was in January, and she was still very hopeful that the chemotherapy had worked. Just a few days later, a scan showed otherwise and they moved up her already-early scheduled delivery date.

WBTV tells her story better than I ever could; they have a wonderful memorial page set up.

So what can be said about the death of a 27 year old new mom, successful in the career she’d always dreamed about with a wonderful husband (who didn’t even realize she was on tv when they first met!)? If you can find the words, credit to you. All I can do is wish Melissa’s family some hope and comfort in her incredible strength and their miracle of little Connor.

$45.22

For all of the wonderful moments we had this weekend, and there were a lot, the best had to be my daughter and her piggy bank.

This was our first Walk to Cure Diabetes, the big fundraiser for JDRF. We decided to be part of another team instead of forming our own, so we signed on with the McFeeley Marchers and set a modest fundraising goal. I basically just hit up close friends and family.

How do you explain raising money for this kind of cause to a five year old? We told Lea that we’d give the money to the doctors so they could try to cure diabetes, so Benny won’t need shots anymore. Or maybe they could find a medicine that would mean no more shots and finger pricks.

After that conversation, Lea went right to her room and got her piggy bank. Actually, it’s her tzedakah box. Tzedakah is Hebrew for charity. (that’s a transliteration – I don’t know how to blog in Hebrew letters). A tzedakah box is usually the first project kids complete in Jewish religious school. Lea’s is a tennis ball can covered over in purple tissue paper and decorated with Jewish stars, glitter and stickers. She’s been filling it with loose change she’s earned for little chores and extras. Plus, I think Grandpa pads it when he comes to visit.

The night before the walk we dumped it out and counted it. Quarters, pennies, nickels, Canadian coins(?) and a twenty dollar bill (thanks, Grandpa!). Forty four dollars and twenty two cents. We were pretty surprised and excited.

Slade gave Lea a dollar, to start a new collection for something else, maybe a toy or something for herself. She said, “No way!” and stuck it in the Tzedaka box. New total: $45.22.

At walk registration on Saturday, Lea was bursting to hand it all over. The wonderful woman who checked us in completely understood how much this all meant to us. She had Lea write her name on the envelope and then we poured all the money in. Lea kept her box to fill up for next year.

Quick note on the walk itself.. we brought our wagon, figured we’d schlep the kids for about a mile or so. I didn’t realize the walk route goes right into Carowinds! As soon as Lea & Benny saw the park, I knew we were done. We spent the morning going on the rides and goofing around at the Nick Jr section, then met back up with the walkers for lunch.

I still can’t get over how many people were there – six thousand! – and how much was going on. You can read more in a great article published in the Charlotte Observer.

We left totally exhausted and very happy.

If you missed the JDRF walk and you’d still like to help, you can this weekend. Keith Larson’s Ride for the Kids is Saturday, April 28th. Click here for more information and how to sign up. Even if you don’t own a motorcycle you can come out and join us. My family will be there for after the ride, for the food and the music. Hope to see you there!

A1c – Not A New Steak Sauce

Since learning my son has Type I Diabetes, I feel like we’re learning a whole language. The latest term is A1c.

When you have diabetes, doctors keep track of your overall blood sugar levels with an A1c blood test. It’s an important measure that tells you how well you’ve managed your blood sugar over the past three months.

(By the way, A-1 Steak Sauce? 3 carbs per Tbsp. Just in case you’re counting.)

Here’s how the American Diabetes Association explains it: Hemoglobin is found inside red blood cells. Its job is to carry oxygen from the lungs to all the cells of the body. Hemoglobin, like all proteins, links up with sugars such as glucose. When you have uncontrolled diabetes you have too much sugar in your bloodstream. This extra glucose enters your red blood cells and links up (or glycates) with molecules of hemoglobin. The more excess glucose in your blood, the more hemoglobin gets glycated. It is possible to measure the percentage of hemoglobin, or A1c, in the blood.

If you don’t have diabetes, your A1c range should be between 4-6%. The goal for adults with diabetes is less than 7% – that’s what you need to avoid complications. The goal for children is often higher, but a lot depends on the doctor and family treatment plan. Too low a percentage may mean the child is experiencing too many lows and that can lead to a whole other set of complications.

When Benny was first diagnosed in December, his A1c was over 11%. Pretty bad. By late January, we had it down to 8.9%. At this most recent visit, we got the great news it was down to 7.1%.

That means we’re doing a good job of controlling Benny’s blood sugar. What it really does is give me some comfort when we get a really high reading or Benny has a scary low. That A1c helps me keep the moment in perspective; I can look at it as just a moment in his overall care.