About 13 years ago, this guy came into my company for an interview. He was a programmer, and clearly very talented. At the time, I thought he was all-business and all about the code. Totally perfect for the job, so we hired him. James just happened to have muscular dystrophy and be in a wheelchair. Turned out we hired one of the funniest people I have ever met and someone who has become our friend for life. We now know his whole family and we still see him regularly even though I left the company I co-founded over five years ago. When the Muscular Dystrophy Association asked me if I knew anyone who lives their life limitlessly that I could honor with a post, of course, I thought of James.
The weather has been crazy all over lately, right? Here in Denver we have had flash floods and tornadoes. Not just out on the plains - but in town! Luckily my son, at nearly 13, has an easy time understanding what to do. How to we help the little ones, though? PBS KIDS to the rescue! Both Arthur and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood will be airing new episodes on September 8th dealing with just this issue. (New episodes of preschool math series PEG + CAT will also premiere that week.)
I don't remember much of 2011. I randomly caught a very serious ear infection during my annual trek to SXSW in March... and poof! There is really nothing left from that year. I spent most of that time in the hospital, in doctor's offices and…
Sometimes you attend a conference that fills you up with so many emotions, and so much knowledge, it takes you some time to process it. Such was the case for the first ever AYA Summit, held at Google's Washington DC offices and hosted by the ONE Campaign along with their new initiative, ONE Girls & Women. I had first heard of ONE about 10 years ago at an U2 concert with my close friend Marabeth. She and I went to college together and have seen U2 more times (together and apart) than I can count. Bono is a co-founder of ONE, and spoke passionately about the organization then, as he does about pretty much everything. But here is the thing, ONE has become a major advocacy group around the world, so it's not just Bono's voice - it's all of ours - speaking out to fight poverty and disease. Given my background in public health and cancer prevention for nearly 15 years, these issues are very important to me. I was honored to attend the AYA Summit with fellow bloggers from around the world, and meet people who are making such a difference in terms of health, economic stability, energy, human rights - particularly in Africa. As many of these problems affect women disproportionally, the majority in attendance and the majority of the focus was on female issues within the scope of global crisis. "Aya" is a hardy west African fern, and the name was meant to represent the resilience and strength girls and women show during times of great stress.
I have had diabetes for over twelve years now. Probably more, because they were pretty sure I had it for several years prior to diagnosis. The first ten years were a cakewalk. I only took a little bit of medicine and checked in with my doctor and really not much else. Then there was that time in my life when things got rough. I call them the Dark Years. It was when my mom got sick and I got sick and other then that bad time in childhood with my dad, it was pretty much the worst period of my life. The good news is when you have a bad couple years, you appreciate the good ones so much more. After I spent nine months on my back with the ear infection my body didn't bounce back easily. Part of this I know is age; when you're over 40, things just take longer to heal. But it just seemed like my pancreas has decided it just wasn't going to work anymore. So I was taking all kinds of different meds and lots of insulin.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.My first surgery on my teeth was at age eight. There was all this extra space and an excess of gums. At that time, dentists could put patients under anesthesia in the office so I don't remember much about it. My second mouth surgery was in 6th grade and the doctor had received a letter just the week from insurance telling him no more in-office operations, which caused complete panic at the idea of being awake while they had another go at making my teeth grow in more normally. That was my first experience with nitrous oxide and my mom still talks about how hilarious I was while high. Unfortunately, it didn't work, either. I ended up with years of braces, retainers, bonding and my smile was still messed up. I had a huge gap between my two front teeth, which in retrospect is really unbelievable, given all the pain I went through. I finally got veneers to fix my smile, but I wish I had access to something like Invisalign because I would have been their perfect patient.
I feel stupid talking about my health because once I get rolling, I sound like I am making it up and/or I am a total hypochondriac. As a child, I wasn't particularly sickly - although I do remember a bad case of pneumonia when I was out of school for so long my mom sewed me a doll. I wish I still had that doll, because it was one of those surprise gifts that mean so much. It would also be nice to hug that doll on days that I try and balance all the things wrong with me now. I've always battled my weight and yo-yoed up and down since puberty. There is rampant Type 2 diabetes on both sides of the family, so it's not surprising they found mine at age 32 while I was pregnant with Dex. They knew it was not gestational - my numbers were so high the diabetes clinic cleared their evening schedule to teach me about insulin and the nutrition of diabetes. I asked if Bryan could give me the shots and the nurse looked at me sympathetically. "You're going to be dealing with this the rest of your life. We really prefer that you handle it."