Today let’s borrow a topic from a #dsma chat held last September. The tweet asked “What is one thing you would tell someone that doesn’t have diabetes about living with diabetes?” Let’s do a little advocating and post what we wish people knew about diabetes. Have more than one thing you wish people knew? Go ahead and tell us everything.
1) Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. It is NOT caused from eating too much sugar, too little activity, or poor lifestyle choices. It is NOT hereditary (though there may be a genetic factor involved), nor it is contagious. There is nothing anyone could have done to prevent it, and there is nothing that will make it easier, better, or dormant. It is random, incurable, and deadly if not managed well.
2) It is all encompassing. It takes a colossal amount of time, energy, money, and sanity, to effectively manage diabetes. So if it seems like I talk about diabetes a lot, it is because we have lived with it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for 6 and a half years.
3) It can wreak havoc on my child's body. Lows cause my son weakness, sweats, shakes, dizziness, headaches, and, if untreated, can lead to seizure, coma, or death. Highs in Dylan cause swelling, extreme thirst, nausea, fatigue, and headache. Possible long term side effects include kidney failure, blindness, leg amputation, heart problems, and gum disease. So even though he looks amazingly healthy right now, only he knows what is going on inside his body at any given time.
4) My kid is tough. Really really really tough. He has poked his finger to check his blood sugar level over 14,000 times, received over 2,200 insulin injections via syringe, and had more than 500 infusion set changes. That is a LOT of needles. But where Dylan is really tough is in spirit. He believes in himself, he knows he can do anything he wants, and he does not let diabetes stand in his way. So yes, he has a serious medical condition, but don't you dare count my son out of anything, or ever assume for a minute that he can't do something because of diabetes. He CAN and he WILL prove you wrong, time and time again.