“That’s your puzzle, Birdy. The puzzle has cats and horses and cows on it. What does a cow say?”
“Mooo … ooon?”
“Okay, ‘moon’ is totally close enough.”
“That? Honey, that’s Mommy’s pump. For my medicine. What does a pump say?”
“Not quite. The pump says, ‘Beep! Beep!’ and then it just sits there with the lights on for a few minutes, right?”
“Sweetie, it’s not yours. It’s Mommy’s pump. Not yours. But that’s okay because you have all of these toys! Where’s your book? Let’s read a book!”
My daughter toddles off, still unsteady on her chubby legs but working on increasing her mobility. She grabs a book off the bookshelf and nods vehemently. “Boooooh.”
“Good girl. Bring the book over here, please?”
She brings it to me and sits on my lap, patting my leg with one hand. I start to read the book to her while she helps me turn the pages and points at the pages, asking “Whaaas daaaaat?”
I reach over my hip to grab my pump and check the time. My daughter gets distracted by the lit-up display screen, and she grabs at the pump.
“Baby, you can’t have the pump. It’s stuck to Mommy. Can we go outside now and find the kitty?”
She stands up, my pump in her hand, and tries to walk away. I gently take the pump from her and re-clip it to my waist.
“Baby girl, this is my medicine. You have to leave it alone. But I love you! Let’s go outside!”
Sometimes I have no idea how to explain this to her. How do you explain something invisible, yet so pervasive, to a little kid? How do I show her that diabetes is her mommy’s serious disease, but that it’s going to be okay? I don’t want her to be scared. I don’t want her to be stoic. I want her to achieve a level of informed and comfortable that keeps her feeling safe.
Sometimes I’m at a complete loss.
Passions: Diabetes advocacy, social media, health 2.0, the Red Sox, books, cats
Daily mantra: “Diabetes doesn’t define me, but it helps explain me.”
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1986 when she was six years old, Kerri gets her diabetes game on every day.
One of today’s most passionate advocates for diabetes awareness, Kerri is the author and creator of “Six Until Me” one of the first and most widely read diabetes blogs, read by patients, medical professionals and those living with chronic illness. Her blog has been spotlighted on WebMD, The Lancet, AOL, US News and World Report and CNBC. A firm believer in the power of social media to promote diabetes awareness, she is a popular speaker at new media conferences nationwide.
But there’s a LOT more to Kerri than the “diabetes stuff.” Besides being a natural-born communicator, she’s also a new mom to her baby daughter (BSparl), photographer (passionate dabbler), book club leader (avid reader of other people’s dog-eared favorites) and cat lover (big time!). She roots for the Red Sox (there ARE no other teams), is married to a “brilliant man” (her words) and does cardio and resistance training five days a week (really!). A self-confessed coffee “addict,” Kerri appreciates her coffee more now after taking nine months of pregnancy off from caffeine. Decaf or not, Kerri’s living proof that diabetes doesn’t have to slow you down.