Think Before You Speak

Think Before You Speak

Not on brand, and my social media gals will not be happy that I posted this here, but as the mother of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, I had to share.

I have no problem with this drink because it’s a treat for f***’s sake! And it’s so pretty!! What I do take issue with is it being referred to as “diabetes in a cup.” (About a gazillion people have said/posted those words. Seriously, just search the hashtag, #diabetesinacup )

As the mom of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, I can tell you that the misconceptions about sugar/fat/carbs being the cause of diabetes are excruciating.

It’s true that people who are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes (the kind most people know about and is referenced in all those drug commercials showing overweight middle-aged people) should stay far away from food high in calories/sugar/carbs.

But there is nothing – nothing! – than can prevent Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 1 is COMPLETELY different as it is an auto-immune disease and attacks people at random from as early as 6-month-old infants to young adults. Perfectly healthy (fit, no weight issue, etc.) children get diagnosed with T1D out of the blue and have to go through hell to stay alive every single day. It is a very manageable disease, but a real pain in the ass.

People also assume that it’s something you did to your child (didn’t watch what they ate, let them lay around the house all day) or your child did to themselves if they are older (they’re fat and lazy) that caused the disease. That’s what drives T1D’s (and their parents) a little crazy. Always trying to fight stereotypes.

Want to see “diabetes in a cup”? Here you go:

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That’s my 15-year-old daughter on the far right, who was diagnosed with T1D almost one year ago. She had been to her doctor for her annual checkup just six weeks before her diagnosis and she was deemed perfectly healthy. On May 31, 2016 she was diagnosed with a blood sugar of almost 500 (normal range is 80-150) and in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which if not treated promptly, can lead to coma and even death. We had absolutely no idea nothing was even wrong and then her life – and ours – changed in an instant.

She checks her blood sugar about eight times a day and must self-inject insulin before every bite of food she eats or sip she drinks (unless it’s water). Oh, and before she injects, she has to figure out exactly how much she is about to consume, calculate the number of grams of carbohydrates in that meal (thank goodness for Google!), then do math (her least favorite thing in the entire world) to come up with the number of units of insulin she needs to give herself.

She also has to wake up every two hours in the middle of the night to check her glucose level if she was running high before bed. If she’s still high (yes “high” – we joke about that a lot here), she injects and then wakes up two hours later to do it all over again until she is within range. Broken sleep is no fun for anyone, but teenagers need all the sleep they can get and this just sucks when it happens.

The carefree life of a teenager of going out to lunch – or ironically, to Starbucks – with friends is not so carefree when you are T1. You have to ask your friends to wait for you while you figure out all that stuff I mentioned above and then go to the bathroom for some privacy since showing one’s upper thigh or stomach isn’t really appropriate in public (though lots of young ladies do anyway – but that’s another post).

She has to carry a ton of supplies with her wherever she goes and being able to carry a cute little purse is not an option. I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but last night I drove her and two of her friends to a Quinceañera and the other high school freshmen had these adorable clutches for this fancy celebration. And then there was my daughter with her big purse that weighs at least three pounds. She didn’t say a word about it, but I looked at the three young ladies get out of the car and walk into the party and my heart broke a little for her.

My point in posting here is not to garner sympathy, but to educate people about the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 and say that comments such as “Diabetes in a cup” are loaded. Would you say, “Breast cancer in a cup?” – I think not.

Sorry for the rant, but I just try to take every opportunity I can to educate people about this disease. So when I see an opening, I go for it!

 

 

 

1 Comment
  • Bill Arenz

    April 22, 2017 at 2:54 pm Reply

    That was a spot on top notch high quality rant!!! And quite educational. Much respect and admiration to your family and especially your daughter!
    Bill

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