Saturday, June 30, 2012

Guest Blogger: Kim Rochefort

When Joli asked me to be a guest blogger, I felt a little panicky. I'm not a writer. I've never blogged. Who could possibly be interested in anything I have to say? I don't think I can do it. All of those things ran through my mind. But, Laila inspires me to do things like climb into a little bitty wooden tee pee at the park & throw a peace sign for the camera. Things that are out of my comfort zone. So, here I am. Out of my comfy little box, writing a blog post for Laila.

Obviously, I know Laila has diabetes. But considering the distance between us, I never really KNEW that Laila has diabetes until their recent trip home. I never really understood what having diabetes means for 


The way Dustin & Joli have handled this makes me very proud. Laila is so lucky to have parents who have the courage and the strength to stand up to this and are determined not to let it control their daughter’s life and define who she is. As Joli says, the only thing Laila can't do is make insulin. They’re making sure she’s able to do all of the things her friends do; they’re not trying to keep her all nestled safe & sound in some kind of diabetes-friendly safety zone. They’re teaching her (and the rest of us!) that she is just like everyone else. They’re teaching her how to deal with the obstacles in her path. They’re arming her with knowledge and knowledge is power. 

I’m so very proud of Laila too. She has more than impressed me, she has amazed me. She is wise and mature beyond her years. Her understanding of diabetes and her ability to manage it is incredible. I just can’t believe all of the things she knows and all of the things she can do by herself. She’s only 6, but this little girl doesn't let diabetes control her, SHE controls her diabetes. It's amazing. I'd be lying if I said that my heart didn't break just a bit every time I saw her check her sugar, count goldfish crackers or check her insulin pump. It just isn't right that a child should have to be concerned with things like carbohydrates before she can even spell the word. Princess tote bags weren’t meant to carry testing supplies. It's not fair and it just plain sucks. Little girls shouldn’t have to do things like this. I try to be a "See things on the bright side" kind of person. I try not to let negative thoughts control my emotions and I'm always looking for the silver lining in every cloud. I honestly thing that there msut be a reason that Laila was chosen to be a Type 1 diabetic. I think she is meant to do great things, maybe as a doctor, a nutritionist, an educator or mayne she'll invent that miracle pump they dream about. She'll most definitely be a role model for other people who struglgle with some sort of unfiar, unwanted, undeserved situation. Maybe this is the silver lining in the cloud. All of the live she'll touch because she has diabetes. Maybe having diabetes is a necessary stepping stone along the way.

So, what is the point to all of my rambling? I guess it's just to let the Smith's know how proud I am of them. I'm so proud of them for making the best of the hand they've been dealt. I'm proud of them for not letting diabetes define their daughter. I'm proud of them for advocating for Laila and getting her the best care possible. I'm proud of them for educating themselves. I'm proud of them for raising their little girl to be independent, self-confident and strong. Dustin & Joli, I know it’s not easy and I know there are moments when you really doubt it, but you’re doing great! You got this.

Traveling With Diabetes

Our family vacation this summer was a planned two week trip to Michigan. We had spent weeks dreaming of the sand between our toes, the sunshine on our faces, and the company of friends and family. I knew this vacation was much more than that, it was a liberating moment for all of us. Since Laila's diagnosis, we've only traveled a few hours away at best, and always comfortable with our surroundings. This trip wasn't merely a hop, skip, and jump away-it was a plane ride and a few hours in the car, if you ask me, it felt like a lifetime. 

Packing for the trip was tedious, five people, two weeks, it was no easy feat. I made list after list of the things I would need, and I still wasn't convinced I brought everything. Packing Laila's supplies made me so nervous, I am always second guessing myself. I knew in the back of my mind I had everything, but as a mother, there's no emergency you can leave the house not prepared for. Especially when you're the parent of a Type 1 diabetic. 

In preparation for the trip, I researched the guidelines for carrying supplies such as needles, insulin, and what Laila would do with her insulin pump while going through security. I had planned on taking everything with us on the plane, my carry-on bag was large enough to hold all of her supplies, there was no way I was letting any of her things out of my sight.

Call me neurotic, but I wasn't going to leave this state until I knew I was, at best, prepared. I packed enough insulin and pump site changes for one per day, even though she changes once every third day. I brought an extra insulin pen, syringes, and ketone strips. I had no idea what the next two weeks would bring, and I was ready!

The flight out wasn't difficult; despite the large airport, they were very accommodating to our needs. We explained Laila's condition before going through any security devices, checked her sugar before getting on the plane, and even achieved "preboarding" status due to a few toothless smiles! The flight home was a much smaller plane, and seemed to go even better than planned. Security was a breeze, the flight was uneventful, and before we knew it we were on the ground, safe and sound.

Now that the trip is behind us, I'm pleased to say we endured no serious troubles. I didn't use even a third of the supplies I packed, but as a mother, you can never be too sure.