Our managedmoms.com writer, Lisa Walton, always does a terrific job giving us valuable and well-written parenting pieces and her article today is powerful, touching and truly reaches out to those affected by Diabetes. I encourage you to read this story about her good gal pal, Tonya and her little’s girl’s battle with Diabetes. And I encourage you to support World Diabetes Day, which is tomorrow, November 14th. Plus Tonya developed a beautiful nail polish line that helps to fund the fight to combat Diabetes and find a cure. Read on to learn all about this!
Four years ago, my girlfriend Tonya found out that her daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Her life was turned upside-down in an instant. With no family history of diabetes on either side of their family, she and her husband were shocked and quickly overwhelmed. Their life became a whirlwind of blood sugar checks, insulin shots, calculating carbs, and they were in a constant state of worry.
Since that time they have educated themselves on every aspect of Type 1 and taken charge of their daughter’s diagnosis and health care options. They are choosing to fight this disease head-on and now are educating others and becoming advocates for this cause. Please read our interview to learn more about life with Type 1 Diabetes and about a wonderful fundraising campaign that she has spearheaded. Please help support this worthwhile cause and help their family take one step closer to a cure!
DID YOU KNOW?
Diabetes can strike anyone from any walk of life. The numbers are increasing at a dramatic rate, currently 26 million Americans are living with Diabetes, 180 million worldwide. Even more astonishing, the World Health Organization expects that by 2030 those numbers will more than double. Today, diabetes takes more lives than AIDS AND breast cancer combined — claiming the life of 1 American every 3 minutes.
What are the symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes?
Tonya: Knowing the warning signs of Type 1 diabetes could save a life. Some of these symptoms may occur very suddenly:
Sudden vision changes
Fruity, sweet-smelling breath
Sudden weight loss
Heavy, labored breathing
If you or someone you love exhibits one or more of these symptoms,
Call a doctor immediately!
Is Type 1 the same as “juvenile” diabetes?
Tonya: Yes, but they changed its name because it is a misnomer. Contrary to a widely held misconception, children do not outgrow it when they become adults. It never goes away, and it isn’t just kids who are diagnosed with Type 1. People can be diagnosed with Type 1 while in their 20s and 30s.
Is there a cause & cure for this disease?
Tonya: No, there is no known cause for Type 1 diabetes. There is no cure for Type 1. No change in diet or exercise will cure it or reverse it.
How many people are affected?
Tonya: Only 5-10% of people with diabetes have Type 1 diabetes. The majority of people have Type 2; so therefore, most of the diabetes-related news we hear pertains to Type 2. They are very different.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Tonya: It is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body attacks itself for reasons unknown. No one knows HOW or WHY this happens. Type 2 (the most common form of diabetes), is NOT an autoimmune disease.
Don’t you just take insulin & it’s fixed?
Tonya: Sadly, it is not as easy as “taking your insulin in the morning and everything is fine.” I think many assume it is like remembering to take your vitamin. They believe you take the same dose of insulin at the same time every day and then go about your business and everything is fine. However, it’s much more difficult than that. Type 1 needs vary from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute. It is not as simple as merely “avoiding candy.”
How do you treat Type 1?
Tonya: We must count and measure every gram of carbohydrates that our kids consume, all day, every day. By knowing the amount of carbohydrates in food, is how we determine the amount of insulin we need to inject (either with syringe or with an insulin pump) every time our kids eat or drink. It’s a constant regimen of counting, calculating, and checking throughout the day.
Type 1 has to be managed around the clock.. Why?
Tonya: I don’t think people realize the 24/7/365 aspect of it. We must test blood sugar every 2-3 hours around the clock because blood sugar levels are constantly changing, even while we sleep. Blood sugar levels are affected by so much more that just food. Blood sugar is also affected by exercise, stress, growth spurts, illness, anxiety, fear, etc. Emotions play a big, unpredictable role. So, we do the best we can. There is so much going on the body which is unknown, and therefore, out of our control, despite our best efforts. Insulin is not a cure. It is life support that keeps all Type 1 diabetics alive.
Doesn’t an insulin pump solve your problem?
Tonya: An insulin pump is not automatic. Just because we use a pump does not mean that now the pump does all the work of a healthy pancreas. We still have to count, measure and figure out doses every time we eat or drink. The pump does not have a brain. We have to tell the pump what to do and when. It just makes it easier to get the insulin into our bodies – instead of having to take a shot every time.
How can people help?
Tonya: Researchers are moving closer to a cure, but they need more resources and support. One way you can help is by donating to the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) or Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF). A fun way to do that is by buying nail polish. I started a fundraiser called Tips4Type1 selling blue and silver (Diabetes awareness colors) of nail polish. $10 from each purchase goes directly to the Diabetes Research Institute. Visit my site for more information www.tips4type1.com
The Myths – What Type 1 Diabetes is NOT…
- NOT contagious
- NOT caused by an unhealthy diet or lifestyle
- NOT just for kids
- NOT something you outgrow
- NOT preventable
- NOT cured by insulin
For more information regarding Type 1 Diabetes go to: http://www.diabetesresearch.org/
Thank you to Tonya and her family for their help with this article. They continue to inspire me throughout their journey.
To all the D-Moms/Dads and Type 1 kids out there, keep up the faith and the fight!
About our writer, Lisa:
Lisa Walton–Parenting tips
Valley Teacher and Mother
Lisa Walton has been a teacher in the Valley for over 18 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Deaf Education from Illinois State University; and Master’s Degree in Special Education from Arizona State University. She currently works as an itinerant teacher, collaborating with regular education teachers in the public schools.