March 10, 2015 is a date that we will always remember. The date that we went to a regular doctor’s appointment looking for answers as to why our son was sooooooo thirsty….all….the….time. Within 15 minutes of being in the doctors office we were sent directly to the emergency room with hints of ‘he was weeks away from being in a coma’ and being diagnosed instantly with Type One Diabetes. There was a lot of shock and denial (mostly from me) and once it wore off a bit I looked forward to finding out as much as I could about this disease. Realistically I was completely ignorant in regards to it and I felt like I had thousands of questions. The nurses at the Peterborough Hospital are fantastic and were so quick to let us know right away that “He WILL lead a normal, healthy life”. As a mom, this is exactly what I needed to hear. Currently he has to inject insulin 5x daily and has to test his blood up to 8x daily. (so if you see him in the hallway at school, no he is not a drug addict, and NO he is not contagious) Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic, autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Type 1 is never caused by diet or lifestyle, the onset is rapid and it cannot be prevented or cured. All children and adults with Type 1 require insulin 24 hours a day, by means of multiple daily injections or infusion through a pump, to stay alive. Having been newly diagnosed we were subjected to hearing almost all misconceptions about his diabetes. We heard “if he just stops eating sugar he will be fine”…”I thought he was a healthy eater”….”when will he outgrow it”….”that sucks that you can never eat sweets again”…”oh my grandma Sally has that, it’s no big deal”( she likely has type 2 diabetes, there IS a big difference ). None of these are true. People with type 1 diabetes didn’t do anything wrong. Doctors believe the cause of the disease is a combination of genetics and some external environmental trigger (but not junk food or lack of exercise). No foods are off-limits to people with type 1 diabetes, including sweets and chocolate, they have to make insulin adjustments accordingly (but like the rest of us benefit from eating a healthy lifestyle). He can still do everything he did in the 16 years leading up to his diagnosis, none of that will change. Type 1 diabetes only accounts for 5% of all diabetes diagnosed. There are only 1-2% of gingers in the entire world. And it’s even rarer to have blue eyes and be a ginger. So here we are with a rare ginger that gets the rare diabetes. (leave it to you Dawson) I’ve always loved the quote “People laugh cause I am different, I laugh because they are all the same”. This fits perfectly for him. I just wanted to write this to help get even a little bit of awareness out there about Type 1 Diabetes. If you’re curious, don’t make assumptions, just ask. It is very frustrating living with a disease that not many people understand. He would love to tell you about his experience. Although new to the diagnosis, he is already full of so much knowledge. His Diabetes does not define him. There are soooo many more things about him that are much more interesting. He is still the same amazingly awesome person. If you haven’t met him yet, take the time to get to know him. I promise you will love what you find inside.
If you’re looking for information about Type 1 Diabetes, click HERE I have found this link to be quite helpful.