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Posts Tagged ‘juvenile diabetes’

Okay, let’s get this party started off with a refresher course on the basics, shall we? I hear a lot of collective groaning out there, but are you THAT sure that you REALLY know what type 1 diabetes (T1D) is? For my T1D friends, feel free to check my work. But for everyone else, really, read it. You might be surprised at what you learn.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. That right there usually comes as a surprise to many people. This means that I didn’t eat too much or the wrong kinds of foods. I didn’t take poor care of myself and I wasn’t born with it. Well, I was born with a defective gene but that didn’t come into effect until I was seven years old. Many people with T1D remember being sick with a virus shortly before their diagnosis. I am no exception. I remember being on a tennis court with a friend one day that summer and telling my mom I wasn’t feeling well. Sure enough, I had a fever. The fever lasted three days and then all was good again. Until it wasn’t.

My immune system was apparently so proud of the work it did eradicating that virus that it wanted to do more and do it well. My immune system took a good hard look at the insulin-producing cells (islet cells) of my pancreas, determined them to be foreign, and destroyed them.

Now let’s pause there for a second and talk about insulin and why it’s important. When I go around to schools and talk to kids about diabetes I like to refer to insulin as a “golden key”. So imagine that the cells of your body are locked up tight and imagine that when you eat, insulin runs through your body like a magical key rapidly unlocking your cells so that the nutrients from the food you eat can nourish you and allow the glucose from food to enter the cells and be used for energy.

Without insulin, the glucose builds up in the blood stream and never gets into the cells. The cells starve and the build up of glucose in the blood stream can become deadly. When this process began for me, I lost a LOT of weight and I didn’t have a lot to lose in the first place. I was thirsty ALL THE TIME. Not a, “Gee, I’d really like a glass of water.” kinda thirst but a get-kicked-out-of-day-camp-for-pushing-kids-out-of-the-way-to-get-to-the-bug-juice-first kinda thirst. (True story. And if you don’t know what bug juice is, you are a very lucky person indeed.) This thirst is caused by the kidneys’ desperate attempt to create more urine to flush the dangerous build up of glucose out of your system. I was hungry and eating all the time, peeing all the time, losing weight (even though I was eating a ton) and generally just wanted to sleep.

So, I was diagnosed with T1D. This meant that for the rest of my life (or until there’s a cure) I would need to take insulin through shots or an insulin pump in order to stay healthy or even just alive. The body cannot survive without any insulin. Staying alive, however, is not the only goal of living with type 1 diabetes. A person with T1D must do their absolute best to monitor their blood glucose levels, insulin dosages, food intake, exercise, stress levels, illnesses, and thousands of other factors to keep their levels in “target range”. This effort is essential not only to feel good, but also to avoid dangerous long-term complications such as blindness, nerve damage, damage to organs such as the heart and kidneys and a myriad of other health issues.

There currently is no cure, T1D is a chronic disease. The care of T1D has changed A LOT in the almost 33 years since I was diagnosed and keeping my blood glucose levels under control has gotten easier – but it’s still not easy and never will be. I’ll explain more about how I manage my diabetes in another post, but I credit organizations like JDRF for much of the technology and medications I use to treat this disease. JDRF’s highest priority remains funding research to deliver a cure for T1D and its complications. At the same time, JDRF is also focused on developing better treatments that will and have transformed the way people with T1D treat the disease today, in order to help them live healthier lives now and in the future.

This is why I Walk.

Helpful Links:

For more information on type 1 diabetes

To donate to my Walk & 5K Run to Cure Diabetes Team

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Sooooooo, it’s that time of year again. The time when I ask for money. “Wha?!?!?” You say. “That’s not all year round….?”

Shuddap

Anywho. The South Central Texas chapter of JDRF is holding their annual Walk & 5K Run to Cure Diabetes on October 19th, 2014 at the UT Health Science Center. However, that’s not actually why I’m blogging for the first time in a year and a half. Not entirely, anyway.

I’m starting up again because it has occurred to me that in all my efforts to look like I’m living successfully with type 1 diabetes (T1D), in the process I am actually KEEPING many of you from learning about it. A few of my close friends are probably sick of hearing about it, true, but I can think of only one or two who have, on more than one occasion, asked me several really good questions about it.

I just thought that since I don’t really delve into the nitty-gritty of it without being pressed, I might make it a point to write several little vignettes (blogettes?) over the course of the next couple of months to see if I can’t teach someone something new.

And if it makes you maybe want to donate to a really fantastic cause that means a lot to me, then WIN!

I’ve already thought of a number of topics but I thought I’d ask you if there’s anything you’ve wanted to ask but were too cautious or afraid of offending me. Here’s your chance. Comment below. I’ll answer anything – yes, even the question about what I do with my pump during “extra-curricular” activities (it comes off – like everything else). Anything.

And if you do feel like donating to my Walk team during this process, you can do so here.

Thanks as always for reading and stay tuned for an honest look at living with T1D.

 

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Welcome, August, can’t believe you’re here already!

August signifies many things in our family’s life – our daughter’s birthday, the beginning of school, and the anniversary of my being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This year marks my 30th year with diabetes. It’s a bittersweet celebration as I grew up hearing that I’d be lucky to reach age 30 yet here I am, doing relatively well.

In honor of this big diaversary, I created a video to encourage others with type 1 diabetes and hopefully help raise money for my Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk team. I’d never done a video before but figured this might be a good reason to. And as no one in my family seems to remember the exact date that I was diagnosed, let’s just celebrate this milestone all month, shall we? Because even with type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, I feel pretty darn fortunate…

My video:

To donate to my JDRF Walk team, click here.

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So there’s this great video project going on in the DOC (Diabetic Online Community) for those who are newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and parents of children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Well, it’s probably also good for anyone just needing encouragement, really.

Anyway, I started watching a few of the videos and got inspired.  You can view these videos too and get inspired yourself at: http://www.textingmypancreas.com/p/you-can-do-this-project.html. I thought that in honor of entering my third decade with type 1 diabetes I’d do a video of my own. My FIRST video project, I might add.

Since I’ve always wanted to do a Walk video, I tried to combine the two into one. Don’t know how successful I was in doing so, but here’s my story, be nice.

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