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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Reed Finally Talks About Children's Congress!

So, it's been a nice summer around here.  Full of highs and lows (figuratively and literally speaking), but I feel like there's something missing....something I was supposed to tell you guys....

Oh yeah.  I went to Children's Congress!

This is extremely delayed, I'm so sorry!  There was so much going on, and so much going on when I got back that time slipped away!  But I'm here now, and through pictures and sometimes snarky phrases, I will relay to the best of my abilities the awesomness that went down.  Here goes.

Day 1

Day one actually started in the afternoon, when we preformed the Children's Congress (henceforth referred to as CC because I'm too lazy to type out 'Children's Congress') song Promise to Remember Me.  This in itself was cool - what was even cooler was preforming it with Crystal Bowersox!  You know, American Idol runner-up Crystal Bowersox, who has albums and fans and stuff?  Yeah that was pretty awesome, and she was so nice!  We all talked to her at one point or another, and she was so laid back with all of it we were all ecstatic (Plus she made the song sound really nice).

We were all organized by height for the video, which in a way forced us all to socialize some.  Friendships were made, and song lyrics were hastily learned, and we all had a good time.  After that, we went by state and took photos with Crystal and Olympic swimmer Gary Hall.  Double awesome!

I'm in the middle, Maxwell on the left, and Grant to the right.
There was a dinner after that where we all got acquainted, and afterwords it was off to bed and onto a new day.

Day 2

Day 2 had so much going on!  There was a 'Town Hall' meeting with a bunch of celebrities, workshops for how to talk to our Congressmen, and a huge social hour where we handed our souvenirs to each other!  I got to meet tons of new people, including;

Mac, a delegate from South Carolina, who may or may not have become a totally awesome friend over those three days (despite a few short jokes), and

Landry, a Colorado delegate and former Las Vegas Youth Ambassador. It was great to see him again, and he did awesome with his stuff there!,

There was also a photo booth with a bunch of props, and well...I may have sported a Batman mask.  It was in the name of a cure and saving Gotham City. Photo barrage, attack!

Town Hall Livestream; an awesome morning!

Trading off with Anders, the international delegate from Denmark
Mac and I handing out souvenirs - Welcome to Las Vegas pins and sunglasses!
I warned you... (with Landry, Colorado delegate)
Tons of time was spent in that photo booth...
...This one is just because I wanted to show everyone Mac with a clown nose sorry not sorry

Day 3

Day 3 was actually going to talk to the Congressmen, and no lie, I was nervous!  But by the end of the day, I was completely at ease.  Everyone I talked to was wonderful, and very willing to fight T1D!  While I don't have very many pictures of the meetings, I did get these a few weeks after CC;

Signed photos from our meeting with Senate majority leader Harry Reid!  It was a great surprise to see, and meant a lot that the Senator took time out of his schedule to not only talk with us, but sign these photos for us.  

After the meetings, we all headed over to take a group photo before heading to the hearing.  And when we were all there, we got a visitor...and by a visitor, I mean Vice President Joe Biden.  As in he came to see us all!  It was so awesome, and quite a few delegates have selfies with him on their Facebook profiles!

Yeah, it was really awesome!
Blown up because there were a lot of us!  I'm in the fourth row on the right.
I, meanwhile, opted for a photo with my new best buddy.  (As soon as I find your email I'll write, Mac!  I swear!)

After that, it was on to the hearing (which I couldn't find a good video of, but if you look around I'm sure you'll find one).  And then, just like that, Children's Congress was over.

Overall, I had an outstanding time at CC.  I met tons of new people, experienced so many new things, and came out of it so proud to represent T1D.  While it was weird without my fellow Las Vegas ambassadors, I know they'll continue on the legacy in 2015 (cough*Blake and Justice*cough).  

As per wrap up, here's an awesome board I put together of some of the souvenirs from Children's Congress.  I've found a few more pins in my luggage since then (New York and Illinois among others, I think), and they'll be added too.  I've also got the autographs from all the people at Town Hall, which will be hung up soon.  And though you can't see it, this hangs proudly next to my Children's Congress rejection letter, partially to confuse people, and partially to prove that sometimes the world can surprise you in awesome ways.

At the end of the day, all I can say is thank you.  It's the only thing that comes close to the gratitude I feel.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Painting Pods

I said earlier I was painting some of my Omni Pods, and I thought I'd share the final product

I did three others, but the stencils didn't work well and meh. I'm not an artist.

Note:  If you want to do this yourself, I used acrylic paint and basic stencils. I also used paint sealers for these pods so they don't wash off in the shower, but I've painted some before without a sealer, and they lasted like 10 minutes in the shower before the paint came off.  So if you're super careful, you can probably make them last all three days.

My Second Children's Congress Blog is Live!

I'm pleased to announce my second blog for Children's Congress is live right here!  With the help of Kerri at Six Until Me, I created a small diabetic slang dictionary, and I'm sorta really proud of it.  Apparently it's been getting a lot of feedback, which makes me really happy!  But if you read that post and you like it, Kerri's got an entire e-book called Diabetic Terms of Endearment you should check out.  Just scroll down on her page until you find the unicorn typing on the computer, and click that.

And now, I'm in a creative mood, so I'm off to paint my pods!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Finger Pricks (Micro Update)

So, my doctor keeps telling me I should start pricking the sides of my fingers instead of directly on the pads of them, and up until now I've just smiled and nodded and gone about my ways. But then this happened:

I mean, I've never seen a scab turn black before. AND, it isn't even raised like a scab, which is even stranger and freaking me out a little. Time to start using the sides of my fingers so my irrational fears of accidentally killing myself don't come true.

Doctor: 1
Sassy Teenager: 0

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My First Blog For Children's Congress Is Live!

I'm pleased to announce the first of my two blog posts is live right now on the official Children's Congress website.  Please check it out here!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I'm Going to Children's Congress!

...Wait, what?

Reed, you aren't going to Children's Congress, remember?  You made that post about being rejected from it.  It contained references to country music and a bunch of 'Never give up!' type messages.  You've got the rejection letter hanging in your bedroom.  Remember that?

Yep!  And I'm still going.

I know what you're thinking; how?  Allow me to answer that to the best of my abilities.  The way I understand it, one of Nevada delegates ended up moving to another state in January.  That delegate still gets to attend Children's Congress, but they will be representing the state they now reside in.  That put Nevada one delegate short for Children's Congress.  And the person they ended up choosing as a replacement was...well, me.

So...yes!  I get to attend Children's Congress this summer!  My entire family is excited beyond words (my mom may or may not have cried when we found out), and I really can't wait to meet everyone!

And there's more news!  I'm going to be working with JDRF to do a few blog posts counting down to Children's Congress!  I'll be sure to post here with links when my blogs go up, but for now you can go read the first post, written by California delegate Jonathan (who by the way, is so eloquent for a third grader I can't even begin to comprehend it.  I've got some serious competition here, guys!).  I also have another blog up on the local JDRF website, so go ahead and check it out too!  Along with that, our Youth Ambassador coordinator Marcy helped me set up a Twitter that I'll be using leading up to Children's Congress and even more when I get there.  To be honest, I know close to nothing when it comes to twitter, but I promise I'll do my best.

I'm so honored to end up with this opportunity, and I'm really excited that the original Nevada delegate still gets to go to Washington with us.  Every kid in world with diabetes deserves to go to Capitol Hill and talk to Congress about the struggles they've faced.  I don't know if I can speak for every juvenile diabetic out there, but I promise to do my best.

Also, one final thing before I go!  If anyone remembers, a few posts back I was posting little bits of diabetic slang here and there.  And I want to know if there's any sort of slang you guys use when it comes to diabetes.  Feel free to leave it in the comments or email me.  I'm using it for a project you'll get to see later.

I hope everyone has a great rest of the week and weekend!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Apple Juice is a Girl's Best Friend (And Gala Updates)

Funny story about my life before diabetes - I hated had a strong dislike for apple juice.  Seriously, I would never touch it.  I was fine with orange juice and stuff like that, but apple juice?  Out of the question.  My 7-year-old self was very stubborn on the topic.

Another funny story; when I was first diagnosed with diabetes, my 3rd grade class room was a pretty long walk from the nurses office.  My teacher was also a diabetic mom, so she knew how to handle things like lows.  And I distinctly remember telling her I didn't drink apple juice, and her response being along the lines of 'well I hope not, because you'll probably have to drink it sooner or later.'

On that note, say hello to one of my best friends!

Last week, my blood sugars decided to play a terrifying game called 'Stay in the 50's and 60's for two straight hours'.  I can't speak for other people, but there are just days when my blood sugar refuses to rise.  I don't know why it does that, but I do know my most recent episode had me missing school and downing juice and Starburst for the rest of the day.  And I came upon this picture I'd texted to a friend, and I figured it could help with a fun new post.

Long of the short of it, I've tried my fair share of juices to treat lows; apple, orange, cranberry, and all sorts of things like that.  I no longer hate apple juice, and since it's the only kind my nurse carries, that's what I'm stuck with in the event I go low.  Or until I get my lazy self in gear and go buy my own low snacks (if I steal another rice cake from Chaz, our 6th grade diabetic, he just might kill me).  Whichever comes first.

So yes, no big deep meaning behind today's blog post, just expressing how angry my 7-year-old self would be if she found out I eventually caved to the sweet, BG-raising goodness.  Because, really, these are big issues to 7-year-olds.  I think.

As far as anything else of interest coming up, I'm getting really excited for the JDRF Gala in a few weeks.  If you're in any way involved in a JDRF chapter where there's a Youth Ambassador program and a Gala, the girls will tell you this is super important!  Now I just have to figure out what to do with my pump.  I glued a peacock feather on it last year, but this year I may just paint it (Yay for expressive OmniPods!).  Along with that, I have some super exciting news I hope to share with you all soon!  Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

1,300 (Or How Not to Listen to Depressing Country Music)

Today, I'd like to tell you a little bit about Children's Congress.

Every other year, JDRF does thing where they get a bunch of kids from all 50 states (and the District of Columbia - yay for remembering the District of Columbia!), and take them to Washington D.C.  From there, these kids get to meet face-to-face with members of Congress, and show them why finding a cure for T1D is so important.  It was sort of an underground thing until 2009, when every tween's favorite diabetic (aka Nick Jonas) went to the event.  Then, boom!  Everybody wanted to be involved.  Because...hey, who doesn't want to bond with a hot singer over blood sugar problems?  I do!

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.  This year, I decided I'd try my hand at applying for Children's Congress.  I mean, I work hard in JDRF, I'm advocating in the community, not to mention sharing my story with my own personal blog (wink, wink).  I can do this!

So anyway, applications were due around November, and earlier today, I today I got my response letter in the mail.  And as you can see, I'm hanging it proudly on my bedroom wall!  Why?  Well, because it had some pretty awesome-sauce news on it!  Yeah, that's right!  This letter is an awesome reminder that I applied for Children's Congress 2013 and I didn't get in!

...Wait, what?

Yes, you read that right!  I will not be attending Children's Congress this year.  Or, well, ever.  See, to qualify for the program, you have to be between 4 and 17.  Since it's held every other year, this 2013 meeting was my last chance to be in it.  And, well, that's not going to be happening.

Alright, sarcasm aside.  Am I upset?  Yes, I am.  I spent a lot of time on my application, working hard to make sure it was perfect, and spending months worrying about whether or not my hard work paid off.  And I got the answer to that question today, and there's no beating around the bush; it didn't.  And that sucks (It probably didn't help that my blood sugar was low when I got the letter.  Low BG's = sensitive emotions = sob fest).

But you know what?  It's ok.

See, according to this letter I received, over 1,500 kids from all over the country applied to Children's Congress this year.  That means that in this country, there are 1,500 people who understand how sucky low blood sugars in the middle of the night are, how annoying it is to hear how your friend's grandpa's cat has diabetes, and understand the alternate definition for the word SWAG (hint: it's Scientific Wild-Ass Guess, which is creating a random bolus/injection amount for a certain food or drink when you don't know how many carbs are actually in it).  Also, I seriously doubt this program will accept more than 150 kids into it, which means over the next few weeks, there are going to be 1,300 kids who understand how much it sucks not to be accepted to Children's Congress.  Even suckier, this may not be their only rejection letter, and I can't imagine that.

So, there are now 1,300 of us in this little club.  What do we do, guys?

We be happy.

I know, I'm not making much sense right now.  Hear me out.  Yes, we're not going to Children's Congress.  But that doesn't mean nobody's going to Children's Congress.  Roughly 150 (estimated by my math skills, which admittedly aren't very good but that's ok for this example) kids are going to be there, and they're going to advocate like freaking crazy!  These guys are not going to leave until every person in Congress can accurately define 'rage bolus' (another hint: it's a large bolus/series of mild bolus's administered to correct high blood sugar, which can sometimes lead to low blood sugar.  I think we need a diabetic slang dictionary).  Diabetes is going to be in excellent hands with these guys.  I know it and you know it.

Yes, we are allowed to be sad.  We are allowed to be angry, and we are allowed to mope around and listen to depressing country music for a few days (Blog title!).  But what we are not allowed to do, let this decision bother us.  Because it doesn't matter if we're going or not.  What matters is that, overall, 150 kids are going.  And they are going to bring us one step closer to a cure.  In fact, just writing in to these guys has brought us closer.  Wanting to be a part of Children's Congress has shown how important this is, and has made other people take it seriously.  Whether we know it or not, all 1,500 of us, together, took a big step in getting closer to the cure.

And that's all we can ask for.