Because it is Diabetes Research and Management Month, I wanted to share my Mom’s Message from,
Purr-fect Pals: A Kid, A Cat and Diabetes©, my picture book for children with diabetes with you.
“Someday, you will never want to change what has happened to Joshua,” my friend Joyce told me as she and I stood outside my son’s hospital room. It was Thanksgiving 1985, and I had just driven 150 miles to admit Joshua to a diabetes clinic after a routine exam showed he had a blood sugar level of 500 mg.
Joyce’s words shocked me. Even though she had prefaced them with, “I hope you will trust that what I am telling you is because I love you,” I still felt confused and angry. “What a thing to be telling me now,” I thought, holding back tears while she hugged me.
As it turned out, Joyce was the only person I knew who could relate to what I was going through. Two years earlier, her youngest son, Barclay, had been diagnosed with Type I diabetes, just like Joshua. In the twenty years since that Thanksgiving weekend, Joyce’s insight has given me strength, reassurance, knowledge, and support. I have shared her advice with others, who, like me, were first stunned and later appreciative of her candor and wisdom. Now, when people ask how I feel about Joshua having diabetes, I tell them, “Absolutely, I want a cure for diabetes. But I would never change what has happened to our family. I would never change what has happened to Joshua because of the man he has become. I am thankful for the bond we have in our family, the relationship Joshua has with his brother, Noah, and the marriage Joshua shares with his wife, Sheryl, who is the answer to my prayer for a perfect partner for my son.”
Our family’s journey began with Joshua’s diagnosis and the urgent need to find a diabetes clinic. At the time, my husband, Jordan, and I were living with our sons in Mammoth Lakes, California, a ski resort village in the Sierra Nevada. The nearest diabetes clinic was in Sparks, Nevada—a three- to six-hour drive, depending on the winter weather and mountain roads. It was sheer determination that fueled my nerve-wracking trip along the mountain road to the clinic with Joshua. Our family soon learned that all of us would need the same determination to navigate the curves and detours of diabetes itself.
Decades later, the road remains demanding and disappointing because there still is no cure for diabetes. Happily, however, Joshua has become the driver—a healthy and accomplished husband, father, sky diver/jumpmaster, and attorney. I am the passenger—a wife, mother, grandmother, and author of books that educate children and families living with diabetes.
I have written Purr-fect Pals: A Kid, A Cat and Diabetes©, my picture book for children with diabetes is a tribute of my love and admiration for Joshua. But I have also written Purr-fect Pals for you. I want to offer you and your loved ones comfort and perspective while living with the “highs” and “lows” of diabetes. Think of me as your Joyce, a Purr-fect Pal.
The foundation for Purr-fect Pals is the true-life experience of Joshua and his cat, Luke Skywalker, who also was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. Within the story, “Josh” and “Sky” share many of the same challenges with “purr-fect” understanding for one another, which assures children diagnosed with diabetes that they are not alone. Every child has a “purr-fect pal” who knows exactly how he or she feels.
Purr-fect Pals is designed to make it easy and enjoyable for readers and listeners to learn and understand more about diabetes
I know how difficult it is to be courageous when you are frightened, strong when you are exhausted, prepared when you are overwhelmed, composed when you are angry, supportive when you are disappointed, encouraged when you are frustrated, communicative when you want to cry, self-caring when there aren’t enough hours in the day, and patient when you are confused.
I want to encourage you to keep your eyes on the road and believe in yourself. Eventually, you will recognize the value and contentment of seeing your child take good care of him/herself, feel loved and esteemed, and make healthy decisions about his/her life.
Meanwhile, I will continue to keep extra orange juice and diabetes supplies in the kitchen. I will wake each morning and go to sleep each night, thinking about how grateful and blessed I am for Joshua, our family and friends like Joyce. I will write books to help other families on their journey. And I will wish the same birthday wish when I blow out the candles on my cake each year― that soon there will be a cure for diabetes, for your child and mine!
Alarmingly, each year an increasing number of children are diagnosed with diabetes.
My goal is to ensure that every child diagnosed with diabetes is to provided with a Purr-fect Pals book, companion “Cat” (plush toy) and diabetes medical ID bracelet, to help them understand and manage the many challenges of diabetes.
My commitment is to help the children and their families understand and manage diabetes by offering them education, encouragement and comfort!
As a mother who has raised a child with diabetes, I understand a caregiver’s anger, fear, confusion, and frustration when their child is diagnosed with diabetes. I also know the urgency of medical, emotional, and spiritual assistance from family, friends, and health care professionals. Therefore, I have also included “Comfort Companion” stories as a source of strength and support, to accompany caregivers, on their tenuous journey with diabetes.
Whether you have a personal stake in diabetes management or are a member of an organization committed to helping children with diabetes, the Purr-fect Pals Project offers a unique, one-of-a-kind patient and family support program and “good-will” marketing opportunity within the diabetes community.
I am still searching for a “Partner” to “Sponsor” my Purr-fect Pals Project. If there is anyone reading this post who knows of a diabetes pharmaceutical or device company, who would be interested in the sponsoring the Purr-fect Pals Project and making it available in doctor’s office, please send me a comment. I will be thrilled to explain the all details and benefits of the projects to you.
Photo credit: Joshua wearing his skydiving suit on the cover of the Spring 2001 JDRF Countdown magazine.
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