November 14th is World Diabetes Day and we are celebrating full force today! Our son was diagnosed with Type 1 on July 31, 2017 at 21 months old. It is a life altering diagnosis not only for my son, Piet, but our entire family.
Here’s a little educational lesson about diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks and kills off all of the insulin producing cells in the pancreas (beta cells). To replace the lost insulin, shots of short acting insulin are given every time carbohydrates are consumed or a high blood sugar must be corrected. Long acting insulin is injected once a day, usually at night, but Piet receives his in the morning. Too much insulin could be lethal, so it is imperative to be precise.
Along with multiple shots per day, type 1 diabetics must also test their blood sugar by pricking their fingers. This happens at very least 5 times per day. BUT because I’m neurotic, my poor son has to endure AT LEAST 10 finger sticks per day.
It is easy to confuse type 1 and type 2 because they are both under the umbrella term “diabetes” but are actually two completely different diseases. Type 1s no longer produce insulin, whereas type 2s produce insulin, but it does not function properly. So where type 2s must eat a specific diet, type 1s have no such restriction as long as they properly dosing themselves.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic illness, which means Piet will have this for his entire life. Monitoring his blood sugar levels is a full time job, and we are constantly making adjustments to insulin/ food intake. I am not just a mom, I am also a pancreas. But we are hopeful for a cure!
Even though type 1 sounds extremely daunting, we are taking it head on and won’t let it steal our joy for life. It will not slow us down and are amazed at Piet’s resilience and bravery.
So how are we celebrating today? We are wearing our blue and shouting “DIABETES SUCKS!” from the top of our lungs in hopes of bringing some awareness to this awful disease. I hope you’ll join us in spreading the word about World Diabetes Day and wear your blue!
O… and we’re going to eat cupcakes, lots of cupcakes, because… screw you, diabetes!!