Saturday, October 3, 2009

One cup of coffee

So tomorrow my family is going to join a good friend Layla with type 1 diabetes, age 6 on a walk to raise money to cure diabetes. Her mamma is an Etsy friend and the best mom I know. I am just tossing it out there that maybe you have $5.00 or $1.00 you can donate to help find a cure. If you can spare the cost of one cup of coffee that would be grand, it all adds up. I know I worry every day about my kids and they don't have any life threatening diseases. Here is my 6 year old's donation page to help her friend,

and here is a letter from a friend who has a daughter with this dreadful disease

Imagine you're 4, or 3, or even younger, and you are diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes.

You're likely too young to know what's happening to you, but onset of this disease is rarely forgiving. The two big symptoms, unquenchable thirst and uncontrollable urination, appear, growing in intensity each day as your blood starts to become more and more acidic. Your parents won't have any idea, because they'll think your wetting the bed is a *result* of the constant drinking and tell you to drink less.

The diagnosis usually occurs when blood glucose (BG) and ketone levels are so high that you present symptoms of a bad cold, or the flu, and the doctor sends you to the ER - because you are way too sick to get out of this unassisted. By this time your BG may be 500 mg/dL or higher - normal is closer to 100 - and you'll need a night or two hooked up to an insulin IV to get it back to normal. You have no choice because your body no longer makes insulin, or no longer makes enough of it to matter.

That's bad. But there's more.

You NEED insulin. Eat without it (and eating is quite important no matter your age), and you'll just end back up in the ER again, likely within a day. Insulin isn't particularly effective when inhaled or ingested. It must be released into your bloodstream, just as it would if your pancreas were working properly. That means injections. Needles. Shots. You may not yet know how to read, or ride a bike, or jump rope, but you will know all about getting poked by tiny, sharp objects. Several times a day. Without those BG checks and injections, you'll die.

Imagine that this is your new reality. That's *really* bad.

Imagine you've gotten used to that routine for several years. As much as you can, at least. But - you guessed it - there's more.

Imagine you're sick, as Caitlynn is right now. Fever, vomiting, no appetite. Your body starts making ketones again - a normal part of fighting your illness - but to remove them, you need more insulin. Since you're not eating, that extra insulin also makes you hypoglycemic. You tiptoe that thin line for as long as you can't eat or keep anything down. BG constantly swinging too high or too low; there really isn't much in-between on sick days.

Now imagine looking into your parents' eyes, hoping they'll be able to fix it as they do other things, but the look they give you back lets you know that they are just as helpless as you. Now you, the child, know that all you can do is be strong, because this is your battle and no one else can fight it.

That just sucks.

Imagine the realization that this is your life, because Type-1 diabetes has no cure. Yet.

Now, imagine a cure, and making this a story no kid ever has to know.


janina said...

*280 children in the United States have been diagnosed and handed a life sentence with diabetes this week alone. Tomorrow we gather together to say this is more than enough! JDRF walk to cure diabetes tomorrow at Oaks Park in Portland. See you there.

woolies said...

One of my best friends growing up had diabetes. We watched her go into insulin shock many many times, and convulse on the floor. Because she was a child, and growing, her levels had to be adjusted all the time. Of course, this was 100 or so years ago, now they've gotten better about it. A terrible disease.