November is Diabetes Awareness month. I’ve never known this before. I didn’t know this a year ago. But 11 months ago, one of our kids was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and I now know things I never dreamed of knowing, such as how to give shots, how to analyze blood glucose numbers and insulin ratios, how to check for ketones, what ketones even are, and an abundance of worst-case-scenario preparedness measures.
It kind of sucks.
That’s true and it’s not.
I’m tempted to dismiss the hardness of T1D by saying it isn’t a fatal diagnosis, it isn’t some rare, exotic disease that no one knows how to treat. You can live with it, and one of the first things the ER doc said to us when we were in the initial throes of diagnosis, was that with all the advancements they’re making, it’s entirely possible it will be cured within our child’s lifetime.
That’s absolutely wonderful, encouraging information.
That doesn’t change the reality of living alongside T1D now.
Because it isn’t my diagnosis, I’m protective of sharing too much, protective of putting out there something that isn’t mine to talk about. I would never want any of our children to feel like we’d “talked out of turn” with information that was theirs. Therefore, I’m going to leave her name out of this. It’s important to me that you know I’ve talked to her about it, that I’ve asked and received her permission to talk about it, and my husband is also comfortable with me writing about it.
This month I’d like to try and share a little about what it’s like to have T1D, but I don’t have it. My child has it. So I’ll do the best I can to share what its like to support someone who has it, especially since you never grow out of T1D, the children who are diagnosed eventually become adults. And you will probably know someone with T1 at some point in your life.First off, Type 1 Diabetes means insulin dependent diabetes. It is different than Type 2 Diabetes/adult onset diabetes. An adult can have Type 1 but usually they were first diagnosed before they hit adulthood. I’m not even going to address Type 2, because I know so little about it — it’s very different from Type 1.
Type 1 is not managed by exercise or diet.
Type 1 is not caused by poor diet or lack of exercise.
Type 1 is considered an autoimmune disorder.
When you have T1D, the pancreas quits making insulin. Everybody needs insulin. It is the key to working with the glucose (also called sugar) in our blood. A person with Type 1 has a pancreas that is not producing enough insulin and will eventually stop producing it at all. Without insulin, our bodies can’t unlock many of the nutrients needed from our food. People with Type 1 require insulin to be administered before taking in carbohydrates (which turn into glucose in the blood). This means every carb needs to be counted and the insulin must match the carbs, but every body is different and we aren’t static, so the amount of insulin it takes frequently changes. It can feel like a constantly changing target.
Next Monday I’ll write more about our story, what this looks like in real life. Our daughter is healthy and well, and coping marvelously with her diagnoses, which is more than I could say for myself for quite a while. More on that next week. See you then.
Do you know anyone with Type 1 Diabetes? How did you find out they had it? Are there any misconceptions you may have had before getting to know more about T1D?