Sometimes I've often wondered if my kids really understand me and my disease. I have always done my best to be positive and make it so that they don't have to worry about me.
With all the pressures and peer influences they each deal with, worrying about me is the last thing I want for them to think about.
The thing is, they do worry about me!
So much so that I was the subject of my daughter's speech in her public speaking class.
After she read this to me I was in "AH"... just amazed and so proud that she was my daughter. It brought tears to my eyes that she knew so much about the disease without even doing any research.
She was living the disease day to day through me.
I wanted to share it with you.........
Imagine life without sugar. No more sugar highs for the fun of it or getting hyped up on sugarey candy to stay up all night. Think about what it would be like if you had to count how much sugar and how many carbs you took in everyday of your life. For most of you, this has never crossed your mind. You've never stopped and taken a minute to think about what it would be like if you ate too much or not enough sugar and passed out and became sick. For diabetics this is an everyday stresser. I happen to live with a type one diabetic. My mom has had diabetes for over 8 years now and still isnt used to it. She is constantly complaining about how her fingers hurt from repeatedly poking them to check her blood sugar, having to change the needle in her stomach every 2 days, and always having to worry about how much insulin to give herself according to how many carbs she eats, everytime she eats. From little snacks throughout the day, to every meal of everyday. Diabetes is a disease that thousands of people have that can not be neglected or forgotten.
Everyone in this room has an organ in there body called a pancreas. You're pancreas produces insulin which is distributed throughout your body and breaks down the sugar that you take in everytime you eat or drink something. Insulin is a hormone that helps turn sugar in your body into energy. Without insulin your cirrculatory system will not work properly and eventually, your organs will begin to shut down. You can not live without insulin. There are two types of diabetes; type one and type two. Type one diabetes is when your pancreas does not produce insulin at all, or in other words, does not work. It is pretty much useless and is just taking up space in your body. If you have type 2 diabetes your pancreas produces a little amount of insulin and still functions but not enough to keep you alive if you do not treat it properly. Therefore, type one is more dangerous.
Believe it or not, there is much more to diabetes than you think. For example, many people think that you get diabetes from eating too much sugar. This is in fact not true at all. Many people assume that an overweight person must eat too much sugar and have diabetes. I'm sure you have been warned by people that you better not eat too much sugar because you will get diabetes. This is the # 1 thing that frustrates my mom. She is constantly having to tell people that diabetes is inherited. For example, someone that has diabetes running in there family is much more likely to get diabetes than someone who doesnt have it in there blood at all. This can be misleading for a lot of people, so keep in mind, no matter how much sugar you eat, it will not lead to diabetes.
Recently, a new device called a pump was created for type one diabetics. A pump is ultimately a portable pancreas connected to the outside of your body. The pump consists of a needle that is most often inserted into the abdomin, which is referred to as the cannula, and a tube that connects the needle to the pump. Which is called the infusion set. The needle needs to be changed every 2 days. When you eat, you use buttons on the insulin pump to give additional insulin called a bolus. You take a bolus to cover the carbohydrate in each meal or snack. If you eat more than you planned, you can simply program a larger bolus of insulin to cover it.You also take a bolus to treat high blood sugar. If you have high blood sugar before you eat, you give a correction or supplemental bolus of insulin to bring it back to your target range. Your target range should be between 70 and 120. If your blood sugar gets too high and you don't treat it properly it causes you to feel tired and weak. But on the other hand, if you give yourself too much insulin, it could result in a very dangerous situation. You could get so low that you hallucinate and you're not all there. Eventually you could pass out. This has almost happened to my mom countless times. It's very scary and makes you realize that this a disease that should be taken seriously and is much more complicated than it seems. One wrong click of a button and it could majorly damage your organs or cost you your life.
In order to know how much insulin to give yourself you have to know what your blood sugar is. The traditional method of testing your blood sugar involves pricking your finger with a lancet (a small, sharp needle), putting a drop of blood on a test strip and then placing the strip into a meter that displays your blood sugar level. Many diabetics fingers are very sore from continually poking them. But they really have no other choice. I have met people and have heard of situations where diabetics dont take care of themselves properly and are ofter missing toes, fingers, and even arms and legs. Diabetes is a serious disease and if you don't take it seriously and don't take care of yourself, there are many consequences.
As you can see, diabetes is more complicated than you might think. Diabetics have to work 10x harder than someone without diabetes. My mom is one of the strongest people I know. Diabetes is not an easy disease to take care of and there is currently no cure. But if you really take care of yourself and take the time to recognize that diabetes is something you can't get rid of, then you will have just as good of a life as someone without diabetes. If you ever see someone with an object hooked to the outside of there body connected by a thin tube, chances are, they have type 1 diabetes. So now imagine your life without sugar, and remember that thousands of people actaully live this way. I hope one day people will finally learn that diabetes isn't from eating too much sugar and people with diabetes didn't ask for the disease. But fortunately for them, new devices such as the pump, have made a life changing difference among those with diabetes. And hopefully one day, they will find a cure.
(14 yr old daughter of a Type 1 diabetic)
I LOVE YOU HANNA!
YOU KIDS ARE THE REASON I KEEP FIGHTING THIS DISEASE EVERYDAY!