The Stakeholders Meeting – Management of Diabetes in Schools

I was invited, as a parent of a T1 child in Maryland public schools, to attend a Stakeholder’s meeting to discuss school management of diabetes. I was really excited to go, anxious to hear what issues they were tackling, and eager to share my thoughts and concerns as I had heard them through the DOC (Diabetes Online Community). The meeting was jointly convened by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), and the Children’s National Health System.
 **Let me clarify that I do not represent these organizations, I am not speaking on their behalf, and I did obtain permission to write this post from the officials spearheading this initiative. I am simply a T1 parent volunteer with a stake in the goals set forth by the meeting, and my goal in sharing this is to reach parents in other states who are struggling with diabetes management in school. As I mentioned in a previous post, there is a breathtaking gap in Type 1 management in schools across the US. The information contained here I hope will serve as inspiration for parents in asking their own schools and states to step up to provide the best possible care and safety for Type 1 students – parents can and should demand legislation and more state involvement where it is lacking. **
The agenda was comprised of perspectives from the diabetes care provider, the State Board of Nursing, School Health Services, and the Parent/Family, to include management challenges, needs, and opportunities in the school setting. After introductions, we broke out into workgroups made up of members from the various stakeholder groups represented that day, each to discuss a different focus area. Obviously I don’t need to tell you that there were a number of Very Important People in attendance that day.
The topics on task for the day included communications between Providers, Schools, and Parents regarding medication orders, the School Health Services Form for Diabetes Management, the implementation of 504 plans and IHPs, issues related to the training of school nurses and other staff, the training and oversight of unlicensed persons, challenges regarding care on field trips and other school-sponsored activities, promotion and support for self-management and essentially what that looks like at each school level. Each workgroup was given a specific focus area to discuss, with very focus-specific questions. The workgroups – again, each comprised of diabetes care providers, school nurses, representatives from the State Board of Nursing, Parents/Caregivers, and government representatives – were tasked to come up with recommendations for these issues.
These focus areas can serve as a foundation for parents nationwide to open dialogue if and where it is needed:
The School Health Services Form for Diabetes Management – how orders are written and transmitted, whether it is standard or individualized, best ways to transmit orders, whether a new order is necessary for every change in insulin dose, and ways to improve the form.
Communicationsbetween providers and schools – including provider accessibility to schools, the parents’ role regarding medication orders, and strategies to improve communication between all parties.
Training of school nurses and other school staff – including unlicensed persons who may be needed to fulfill diabetes needs of students (carb counting, calculating boluses, managing care on field trips, and strengthening policies for self-management), with recommendations on how state and local programs can enhance this training to unlicensed persons. Here too, the focus is on the child’s safety in the school setting, and what happens when a school nurse is unavailable.
Communication with and oversight of unlicensed persons providing diabetes care, strategies to address barriers for how and what school nurses delegate, and how communication is achieved when nurses aren’t on location. In addition, how schools promote self-care at the age-appropriate level, what care and management looks like in elementary, middle, and high school settings, how this determines the location of diabetic supplies, and effective collaboration with parents and providers on these issues.
Educational supports regarding 504 plans, Individualized Health Plans (IHP), how much and what type of information is needed on those forms, accommodations regarding standardized tests, challenges with regard to implementation that students and parents encounter, how these challenges were addressed, and what communication regarding education supports has been effective between the school nurse and other personnel.
Diabetes Management Challenges as relates to diabetes care on field trips and school-sponsored activities, what parents’ concerns are regarding safety in the school setting, how these concerns were addressed, what expectations parents have of school personnel, as well as what additional training/education might be needed to support students and parents.
The end result of this Stakeholder’s Meeting, as well as ongoing committee meetings (on which I continue to participate) is to have a new and updated Management of Students with Diabetes Mellitus in Schools, a Maryland State School Health Services Guideline to be completed and in effect for the 2016-2017 school year. I am not at liberty to discuss the specific outcomes and recommendations stemming from these meetings at this time, though I hope to share the final product once it is officially implemented.  But I have learned so much.
Being the “parent” often means feeling like we’re being judged on everything from helicoptering to being the demanding or hysterical parent to being judged on our child’s management. That’s not to say that schools make us feel that way, though I’ve heard many a parent tell some tales that would curl your hair… I have been gloriously blessed with a fantastic school nurse who needs absolutely no supervision from me. Type 1 parents don’t sleep very much. We are frustrated and angered by the blurred distinction between Type 1 and Type 2, the lack of understanding from our friends and even from family of how scary this disease is, and how it is life-threatening on a daily basis. That may sound overdramatic, but the fact is, and remains, that our children are alive only through our tireless diligence and a drug that can also kill them. It’s no small wonder that any of us can function while our children are away from our care.
That being said, I have also now heard perspectives from schools and providers. I met people that genuinely care about the safety, well-being, and education of students with diabetes. Someone said she had actively pursued a pharmaceutical company to market a half-dose of glucagon for children under 6 years of age to make it easier for licensed personnel to administer the correct dose if necessary. Someone commented that in an emergency situation where glucagon is warranted, there is no such thing as overdosing. I’m not the only parent who would agree that it’s not worth arguing details when it comes to glucagon, because notgiving it is not an option. I have heard that some parents haven’t even provided glucagon to the school, and the reason is affordability – because some insurance companies are not covering it. The cost of glucagon out of pocket is over $100 per kit, and I know we have at least 4 – one at school, one in my purse, and at least one each at my house and her dad’s.
There was mention of having education and training for all school personnel with regard to glucagon – that in many schools they are already trained in the use of EpiPens, so why not glucagon as well? Shouldn’t everyone know how and when to use it, just like the EpiPen? Should schools require it, or request volunteers to learn how to administer it? When we were still in Pennsylvania, our school nurse had a fit over anyone but her using the glucagon kit. Her concern was liability, and she may have been right, but it was always my feeling that I don’t give a rat’s ass WHO gives my kid glucagon, so long as somebody DOES. I would never sue somebody for attempting to save my child’s life. Alas, there probably is someone who would and therein lies the problem the “officials” face.
Also among the conversations I heard was of one kid whose parents didn’t want to manage his diabetes at all, and his A1c was 17. Imagine that the person who knew this information had to decide what to do with it. It’s certainly a different perspective, something I urge all parents to consider when they’re feeling sensitive about how they’re treated by school personnel. Unfortunately there are children out there with diabetes who do not get proper care, either due to lack of parent education about Type 1 diabetes or accessibility to health care, or both. Consider how school nurses and other personnel who DO understand diabetes handle situations like these. What is their responsibility to this?
What’s really exciting and coinciding with the Stakeholder’s initiative is Maryland Senator Ronald Young’s Senate Bill 71, Public and Nonpublic Schools – Student Diabetes Management Program, which will require “the State Department of Education and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in consultation with certain other organizations” to provide for all of the aforementioned focus areas (I’m really overgeneralizing here). Senator Young is very passionate about diabetes management and safety in schools. He expressed his concerns over the gaps in diabetes care in some counties (sidebar: Maryland public schools are organized by county, ie: Cecil County Public Schools, Baltimore County Public Schools, etc.) with regard to safety both in the school setting and on school buses, as well as field trips, after-school care such as extracurricular activities, and the absence of diabetes care providers in some schools.
There are far too many points to mention for the purpose of this post; however, it will provide for training guidelines for staff and employee volunteers to become trained diabetes care providers, although not to be “construed as… practical nursing or registered nursing” (the liability side of training diabetes care providers). The bill will provide for a Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP) meeting for the student and all individuals charged with care.  It will establish, among other points, where and how the student will manage diabetes tasks, as well as allowing the student to carry supplies and “possess a cellular phone to ask for assistance when necessary.”
While my workgroup focused on policy related to unlicensed personnel providing diabetes care to students, one nurse asked me my feelings on my child’s safety on field trips, either in a self-care situation or with an unlicensed person managing her diabetes. I expressed serious reservations about someone making decisions about her care without communication with me, and especially because in some locations cell phone service is compromised. Senator Young was in my workgroup, so he heard my concerns. Still, his efforts with the above bill have merit in the general sense, where some parents have few options due to work constraints.
There is so much more and in the interest of time and space, I will wrap this up. I don’t pretend to know what kinds of legislation have been enacted in any other states, but I strongly urge you to have a look at this bill. Senator Young expects to have it enacted by July 1, 2016, and I hope by that date to have more to share.

 

Snowfalls, Remembered

Over a glass of Knob Creek, and after an impromptu cleanup of an overflowing toilet in the kids’ bathroom…
 
All this snow – and a Facebook post by a friend who lives in New York City – had me thinking about snowfalls past.
While I was a student at NYU, I loved the days it snowed and blanketed the city in pristine white. There was this one magical snow that I have never forgotten. It was the end of 1990- the beginning of 1991 – I was home on break but returned to the city one weekend to spend time with this guy was I was dating. We decided to go to the movies – we saw Awakenings in an intimately small midtown theatre and I was blown away by Robert DeNiro’s performance. I was feeling hormonal and particularly emotional, and tried so hard not to cry and embarrass myself.
It had started snowing during the movie so that the scene outside the theatre was positively beautiful. The side street was white and unadulterated by tire marks, and there was the occasional cab skidding by on 3rdAvenue. Otherwise, just the snow falling silently all around us, ghostly steam rising out of the manhole covers, and people leisurely walking –so black and white, like a scene out of a silent film. I could hear the sound of my own heart beating. He took me by the hand and together we walked the distance back to our dorm. I don’t remember what we talked about, or even what I felt – other than overcome by the magic of a silent, white New York on a snowy night, telling myself I never wanted to leave. If you’ve lived there, you know those moments don’t last. The next morning would be brown and potholes full of icy, dirty water would have to be navigated, along with slippery sidewalks and cold, gusty winds.
I don’t often remember whole events in my life, but certain scenes just stand out. Kind of like old photographs in an old dusty album. They are memories, but only tell a tiny part of the story.
Another snippet – a frigid, snowy night on 3rd Avenue again. My roommate and I were distracted from our studies by the sounds of our neighbors in the suite next door, making a ruckus from their window catty-corner from ours. They had started an impromptu baseball game with a stranger in an apartment across the street, baseballs crafted from snow collected from the rooftop above the 12th floor. Snow they carried down the elevator. Our friend was pitching the snowballs across 12th street and the stranger was hanging out his 4th floor window hitting them with a frying pan.
Most magical snowfall ever? The night Todd and I stole a kiss under the moonlight while the snow fell silently all around us, just a few weeks before we went public, the second time.
What’s your most magical snowfall? Tell me, I wanna know.

 

5 Things Your Mom Didn’t Tell You About the 40s

Weight gain. It’s terribly painful to experience superhuman metabolism for most of your life, only to be bitch-slapped after 40 with cellulite that makes the moon look smooth. It doesn’t happen right away either…it’s sort of a gradual, sneaking up kind of phenomenon where one day spring day you can pull your summer shorts out of the closet but not up over your thighs. And then, to actually tear your jeans in the seat. TWICE. Extra points for not realizing it while you were walking around the bowling alley for 2 hours.
Vision Changes. My mom always wore glasses, so I’ll give her a pass on this one. However, not even my dad (who wears readers) told me I’d be damn near blind in my forties. Can’t read a book, can’t read the computer screen, can’t read medicine bottles, or nutrition labels on all the foods I need to count carbs for. And no more staring romantically into Todd’s eyes, unless he’s standing on the other side of the room. Any closer than two feet and he could be a gorilla and I wouldn’t know the difference. Well, except for all the hair, but…
Libido. Seriously, WTF??! Why, oh why did NO ONE ever mention the forty-something libido that goes to light speed and is as relentless as a mosquito bite?? Who has time for this but a 14-year-old boy with a lock on his door?? If this gets any worse, my husband will stop coming home. Well, maybe not.
Whose body IS this? Mom failed to mention all the aches and pains, especially the unforgiving ones like back pain and sciatica. She didn’t tell me that the mere act of trying to get out of bed would be an Oscar worthy performance. At the very least, it’s a feat of magic on some mornings worthy of a Facebook mention… if only nearly all my friends with the same problem actually gave a damn. The body used to be able to do all sorts of things, which are now nearly impossible without the musical accompaniment of pops, creaks, shrieks, and grinding noises. Pinched nerves, shoulder pain, sore knees, carpal tunnel… I don’t have time to list it all.  And while we’re on the subject of foreign bodies – who in the barnacle invented hemorrhoids?! Dear God – wasn’t natural childbirth punishment enough?
Memory Loss. Walking into a room and forgetting what you went in there for? Used to be funny – maybe somewhat annoying – but now? As an everyday occurrence I now understand why Alzheimer patients get so freakin angry. Looking at my medication bottle trying to remember whether I really took it, just moments after I’ve thought of it. Trying to remember the name of that person, the date of an appointment, what year we went to Greece, how old I was when mom got remarried, what I ate for breakfast, and especially remembering all those bodily symptoms when the doctor asks and – ready for this? – the date of my last period. Because – we’re not quite old enough to discount pregnancy, which they can and will ask before every Goddamn diagnostic test. (And, while it’s not relevant to this post, I just have to mention how much it pisses me off when any chance of pregnancy? answered with a firm “no” is then followed up with, how do you know?)

Respect, Accountability, and a New Name

It’s 10 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, the day after MLK, Jr. day. Not a sound in the house… because my children are still sleeping. That’s because they were up late partying with their uncle Matt, playing Wii, until Veruca came and woke me at midnight to announce she was going to bed.
Why Veruca, you ask? Because I’m changing her name. (As for the late bedtime, you can address my parenting skills or lack of them, later. Just after you explain to me what a perfect parent is.)
I actually started a blog post 2 weeks ago about this very topic… and it looks like this…
~I have decided to rename everyone in the house. Out of frustration, it’s all I can do to cope with the ridiculousness that is my house.
I’ll start with the youngest. My daughter will now be known as Veruca. Little Veruca wants what she wants and she is none too happy when things don’t go her way. Little Veruca is worse with daddy, which isn’t “really” funny but in a way I feel like karma has been served up rare and tangy like my tuna tartare. Veruca doesn’t get away with much here. Plus her evil stepfather calls her out on her bullshit in a much calmer way (read: not screaming like a lunatic and foaming at the mouth) than her mother.
This morning she laid in bed until the last minute. We did an insulin pump set change and after 7 years of pumping you would think that would go smooth as flan. Not. She will twist herself in a panic over where I’m putting the site, and then insist the spot isn’t a good one – as if I have no idea what I’m doing. It is positively maddening. Then she wanted a sweatshirt that was in the wash, and complained she had “nothing to wear.” Or, rather – that the sweatshirt was the only one that goes with her outfit.
As I walked out of her room and back to the kitchen, the door slammed shut. Back down the hall I went, took a deep breath, and reached for the door handle. She opened it suddenly, and tried to tell me it was “an accident.” That’s her favorite excuse for missteps these days, like on New Year’s Eve when I called her and she ended the call telling me that Owen couldn’t come to the phone right now because “he’s taking a shit.” Oh yes, she did. It was an accident.  I can only guess where she learned the phrase above – she certainly didn’t hear it here.
Nevertheless, we had a long, one-sided conversation where she learned that the next time she complains about her clothes not being clean and/or slams her door at me, she’ll be doing her own laundry. And then I reiterated that communication (without raising your voice, too) is key to getting what you need without conflict. Pat me on the back. I know Todd would be proud. ~
Anyway, I guess I had planned to continue reassigning names, but I got stuck on#2. I don’t really have many complaints about my firstborn – other than his inability to say he’s sorry and his annoying habit of interrupting. Which, for the record, are not meant to be downplayed.
I hate being interrupted. It’s a peeve I’ve had as long as I can remember – one of the most memorable being my 17th birthday. Every time I opened my mouth, someone else would start talking. It pissed me off so much, I just stopped talking. I mean, it was MY birthday and they wouldn’t have been enjoying this fine dinner on a deck overlooking South Street if it weren’t for ME. (The only-child syndrome notwithstanding. Which I was, until somebody decided it was a great idea to give me a brother when I was old enough to be his mother.) (Did that sound sarcastic and ungrateful? It wasn’t meant to be. I love my big little brother – and his ability to put away an expensive bottle of single malt.)
Todd remembers it differently – and snickers as he recalls how every time my mom went to take a bite of her chicken I’d start clucking under my breath. I think he’s wrong. I do not remember this at all.
Anyway, the “I’m sorry” issue is a big fish to fry. My son, at fifteen, will always respond defensively to any accusation and then make excuses why he did the offensive thing, rather than apologize. His dad is notorious for placing blame on others, rather than be accountable himself. I don’t recall the words ever leaving his lips in the 13 years we were married. As for me, and being always the target of blame, I rarely apologized to him. The reasons may be wrong, but they are quite clear. To apologize to him meant he was right to blame me, and that led to more accusations and more opportunities for me to BE wrong.
What O took away from that? You don’t have to say you’re sorry, there’s always someone or something else to blame, and – especially when you’re the unfair target of blame – you refuse to be made further wrong. In dad’s house, he is blamed a lot for Veruca’s reactions. As a young child, he was chastised for not giving her what she was screaming for. In our house today, everyone is accountable. However, that doesn’t make the “s” word come any easier. It’s a work in progress.
The house is quieter these days. Neph has taken his leave and moved home. I have mixed feelings about it. It was nice to have a “third child” but he is, in reality, an “adult” with very definite ideas of what he does and doesn’t want. He is the oldest son in his household, and with that comes a sense of entitlement that is difficult to grasp at times. He has a great deal to learn. As do my kids, but I’m hoping to do it with a lot less drama – God willing. Accountability is high on the list here.
And now, in an effort to keep my posts to roughly no more than 1,000 words, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘ what are you doing for others?’

 

2015 – A Year in Review

It may be a bit backwards to post the year in review after the 16 things I’m looking forward to this year, but I am a Gemini who is rebellious against convention, has an unquenchable thirst for shock-factor, and an unfortunate lack of control over what comes out of my mouth.
Looking back on last year, it had all the appearances of a calamitous beginning but thankfully it was only a temporary spell with no long-term damage. We had a shit-ton of snow early in the year, which led to more snow days than any sane mother should have to withstand, and then there was a relatively short episode of the flu. Todd had it through New Years’, and the kids had very mild symptoms about a month or so into 2015. I brought up the rear as the last one to spend 4 days in bed.
A began her last year of elementary school and O, his first of high school. It’s surreal how fast time goes by – and I know I mention that every year. She had one crush before the 4th grade ended – a “very nice” boy who she said wasn’t the best looking kid in class but he was the nicest and he made her laugh. Whether the sentiment was returned, we’ll never know, but it was heartwarming to realize that she is absorbing what I’ve taught her. Meanwhile, refuses to discuss girls. At all.
Both kids dove into extracurriculars last year. O played community basketball at the Y last winter, and in May – after he informed me that he really wanted to try out for football and we discussed a neurotic mother’s concerns – he began weight-training three days a week until practice began in August.  A returned to cheer after 3 years. So, what promised to be alternately a relaxing and petulant summer became an endless carpool from one practice to another, some occasionally overlapping and creating a new layer of stress for the divergent mom.
Todd and I got away on some day trips over the summer – to Ocean City on the 4th of July, which was a great deal of fun but perhaps not the best day to attempt to get into town – and to Cape May for a walk on the beach, a hike up 104 steps inside the lighthouse which ignited a vertigo I hope to avoid the rest of my life, some window shopping, some great pints and pub food, and a race to the sunset by the water. Lovely.
Our tenants in the apartment moved out! They left a gargantuan mess to be gutted and the unmistakable stench of urine, but the project got finished and the apartment is beautiful now, to be utilized as our “guest house,” rather than a tenant-occupied space. One could say we are slowly learning a hard-won lesson about “giving” of ourselves to others.
I had written about the addition of Neph to our quarters… what first appeared to be an easy transition had its share of rough patches.  One might argue that the immediate family dynamic is delicate – it is young, considering that the four of us have only lived together for 4 years – but it is well-established in routine and expectations. To add a new dynamic – with a dynamic not so subtly different – requires patience and work to keep the cogs and wheels turning smoothly. For reasons I am protective of, as well as those involved, suffice it to say that there just isn’t enough oil and a cog or two is rusty.
Meanwhile, between weight-lifting and cheer camp, the kids and I – along with Nephtoo – went to Cape May with my mom for 4 days. While I swore halfway through the second day of Veruca’s* sour attitude that I would not do this trip again (even if Mom paid me) – I will say that it was lovely to have the boys together, especially Nephtoo, because he softened my mood tremendously.
We threw our first party at the house since July 2011 – when I was just “girlfriend” and we had just gotten back together – invited everybody and it was a blast. The house itself has seen a lot of changes since that first party and while we still have a ways to go on the lower level, I know Todd was proud of the improvements. I loved having my aunts there! I so miss the family I grew up with, as our time together is fewer and farther between, so it meant the world to me that they were there.
Todd was promoted to full professor last year – a well-earned distinction –and continued his multi-committee obligations while simultaneously working on a grant and developing his own product. Meanwhile, I continued my very important work as hospitality and beverage ambassador at the restaurant, in addition to resident baker, and domestic engineer and writer of all things.
Last year I made a decision to step up and into a more involved role in Diabetes world. And, either through this decision or by sharing the same blackballed status, I made several new friends around the country who share my enthusiasm for awareness and education and believe in uniting for our common cause (rather than fighting against each other for what-makes-absolutely-no-sense reasons).
While Diabetes Awareness Month promised to deliver some powerful messages, the unfortunate – not to mention counterproductive – support group debacle really stole some of the thunder from our efforts. However, we were not discouraged enough to quit. I wrote to my governor and acquired a proclamation for November to be Diabetes Awareness Month. I attempted, and failed, to get the attention of my local government for this cause – but, again, I’m not discouraged. I joined my state’s efforts to improve diabetes management in schools, and will continue to participate in this amazing committee – the outcome set to launch this summer. (I will be writing more about this in another post.)
The year ended relatively quietly – even if it was at the restaurant. We didn’t have over 100 like last year, most of the guests were newcomers (!) and the music was great but not wall-busting like last year. And for all of that, I’m grateful. And the best part? Kissing my first love at the first minute of 2016.

 

There Are Few Things I Hate More Than Soggy Cereal

There are few things I hate more than dredging soggy cereal out of a bowl full of warm milk. These.

I hate cleaning out the drain in the kitchen sink. I hate it! It grosses me out, little bits of discolored former food, cheese that somehow melted onto the strainer, soggy pieces of gag-worthy edible rejects. UGH.

And, while we’re on the subject, that drain is rivaled only by the dogfood floaters in the water dish. I literally cannot even look at it. I have to lift it out of the water with a large spoon, which subsequently will have to be washed at 140 degrees inside the dishwasher. That is, after I’ve rinsed it under hot water. Because one does not simply attempt to wash that dumpling-sized nugget down the drain. Because it won’t go down, further intensifying the gag reflex (see above).

I hate the poop that sticks to the dogs’ fur. Or worse – when it’s still attached. If you don’t know what that means, I’m notexplaining it today.

I hate dirty toilets. I never loved dirty diapers either, but poop back then was much smaller, and cuter. And wiping it off the cutest little bottom a mother has ever seen? Just fine. But – splattered, smeared, or stuck in or on the toilet – uh, no. Just NO. Every kid in this house has two hands and at least half the brain to clean up their own shit.

I hate dirty underwear and socks. I do the household laundry. It’s a choice. And I’m not so far gone that I need to wear gloves. However, I will only pick it up by 2 fingers, ready to drop it if it tries to bite me.

I hate moldy, rotting food in the refrigerator. Even when I know it’s bad, I will purposely put off throwing it out because I’m afraid to smell it or look at it, which of course means it will look and smell FAR worse when I finally do.

I hate eating off of others’ plates. I’m kinda throwing this last one in here because I was thinking about how you never know who’s sick, or may have sneezed over their food, or just saliva…. I won’t even eat off of my own kids’ plates. 

16 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2016

Out in the blogosphere, bloggers were posting the 50 Things That Made Me Happy in 2015  (or some variation thereof) and, as I’ve been slacking a bit on the writing, I started jotting down ideas on New Year’s while waiting for the crowd to appear. Stevie B leaned over and asked what I was doing, and when I told him he suggested it might be a lot easier to go with 16 Things I’m Looking Forward To. You can thank Stevie B for making your reading shorter today. 
  1. A vacation. With Todd. Alone. You may be surprised to learn that we have yet to vacation alone together. We didn’t have a honeymoon. This is our year. Cape May, Myrtle Beach, Vegas, Niagara Falls, Vineyard hopping in California…. I don’t care where we go, I don’t care what we do…
  2. Ride. As in JDRF Ride. I told someone fairly influential that I was doing it this year, purposely because I knew there’d be no backing out from that moment on. This is huge – it’s a destination ride – I was planning on Burlington but there are other locations to consider (Death Valley, Tahoe, Tucson, Amelia Island,…)…. It’s a 100-mile ride and there’s a shit-ton of fundraising to do (not to mention training), but I really can’t wait!
  3. A new job. I’m ready to step into something new and I’m knocking on the door of a new opportunity as we speak.
  4. Completing the novel. I really, reallywant to finish writing that first book this year.
  5. My In-laws’ 50th Anniversary party. We’re throwing the party of the century this summer for my in-laws’ renewal of vows and celebration of a lifetime of love. Backyard, tent, handmade chuppah, live music, dancefloor, and only the very best food on the planet.
  6. Dress shopping for the aforementioned event. And also for a JDRF Gala this spring.
  7. Watching my son start in football this year. And staying injury-free.
  8. Paying off my legal fees.  Just $1000 left. Woohoo.
  9. And, while we’re at it, Paying down all our debts so we can breathe easier.
  10. More advancements in the battle for the Cure. Something mind-blowing.
  11. Continuing my own advocacy efforts. And adding Maryland to the short list of DKA-awareness legislation efforts.
  12. The Art Show. *More details to follow. Need to spend some time on this with two people who want to get this off the ground. Very exciting stuff.
  13. An in-ground pool. Yes.
  14. Watching Todd launch his product this year. I can’t wait!
  15. Spending more quality time with the people who matter – friends and family, and new friends along the way.
  16. Love, Laughter, and JOY.