Monday, August 25, 2014

Let's Raise Some Awareness!

One thing I have learned about T1D is that it can be diagnosed much earlier than R2's with a lot less worry and fewer potentially severe repercussions. Type 1 Diabetes is an auto-immune disease that takes several months to be noticed. A simple cold can trigger the immune reaction (or so the theory goes at the moment) that runs amok and targets the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Over the course of the next six months or so, the body stops making enough insulin to pass the glucose (sugar) from food into the cells to be used as fuel. The body instead burns fat which eventually leads up to ketoacidosis, when the blood is poisoned with ketones, an acidic by-product of the breakdown of fat. We were well into the ketoacidosis stage when we went to the ER with R2, spurred by his rapid breathing (we thought maybe he had pneumonia or something like that). This nice, simple infographic from the International Diabetes Federation's Life for a Child program details the main symptoms of T1D onset which can be noticed before it gets to that dangerous point.

We were completely unaware of these signs, and so missed an opportunity for his diagnosis a week before we ended up in the ER when he had a regular check-up (I don't blame the doctor at all. Really, I don't. A first-time mom of a toddler doesn't know what "excessive" thirst is, among other things.). A lot of attention is given to Type 2 prevention and risk factors, while Type 1, which most often presents between age 5 and 21, is overlooked. As of right now, Type 1 is completely un-preventable and un-curable and diet can't fix it. I wish posters like this one, designed for use in third-world clinics, were posted in our doctors' offices as well. Maybe if we talk about it more, and make sure to specify which type of diabetes we are discussing (that's a rant for another time), more cases will be diagnosed earlier, with better care, and less stress for everyone.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Reboot... Here We Go Again!

Let's try this again... I started this blog almost a year ago and didn't get past the first post... shame on me... Now we're getting ready to start a new school year, and that always brings new beginnings, challenges and realizations. We've been living with T1D for over two years now, but that doesn't mean we know it all. Not by a long shot. Last week, R2 started using a DexCom G4 Continual Glucose Monitor.

R2's DexCom
It has been really interesting to see how his blood sugar reacts to food, insulin, and activity, not to mention the wonderful addition of a low blood sugar warning! One of my hopes is that it will help him be able to focus more on school and having fun than on managing his blood sugar (although I'm not sure how much a 6 year old really thinks about it...) and catch any links between focus issues and his levels. As we get closer to the first day of school, I'm thinking of all the new people who need to be made aware and educated, from his new teacher to new friends and a new principal. I'm also thinking about him being at school all day for the first time (pre-K and Kinder were half-day programs for him) and how he will really have to be responsible for making sure to eat his snacks, test his blood sugar, inject his insulin, eat all his lunch, and everything else. That's a lot for anyone, but even more for a six-year-old little boy who just wants to be like his friends. I know there will be more days this year that he voices that he doesn't like having diabetes (and days I don't like it any more than he does) and more awareness of being different, I just hope I and everyone in his life can give him the support he needs and make it as easy for him as we can. We've been trying to teach R2 that he can still do anything he wants to, and right now he accepts that. There is no reason he cannot do anything he wants to (except join the military or be an astronaut, perhaps) and he knows it. We still do all the fun things he wants to, like canoeing in a remote location or going out for ice cream, because T1D did change our lives, but we control it, it does not control us. Soon, I'll be registering our team for the OneWalk LA (formerly the Walk for a Cure) and starting to build our team and fundraise to find a cure and make everyday life that much easier for R2, us (his family), and everyone else living with T1D.

So, that was a bit of a ramble, but I guess I needed to get all of that out there. Hopefully I'll start posting regularly and with a little more purpose, and with some happy, fun things, too! Back-to-school isn't all worry, there's also a lot of good, so next time I'll focus on that. Hope to see you soon!