For many of you, this title is unfamiliar, but for some of us, it is as everyday as bread and butter:  Type 1 Diabetes.

It happens to be World Diabetes Day today (November 14) but I don't take too much stock of such things since for families who have loved ones with Type 1 Diabetes (formerly known as Juvenile Diabetes) EVERY day is Diabetes day.  You don't get to celebrate it once and then forget about it the other 364 days.  Well, I guess you could. But then your body eventually exhausts itself by eating the energy created by said body and then, while sugar is building up in your blood, you go into a ketoacidosic coma and die.

In fact, until Frederick Banting discovered insulin, kids did just that:  died.  (and if you're a reader, I highly recommend this book.)

Praise God we now have insulin that allows cute kids like this guy stay alive, healthy, and growing in mind, body, and spirit.

I heard just today that my cousin's granddaughter was diagnosed yesterday.  My heart swelled with memories of our 'discovery' day:  the joy, the fear, the stress, the sheer overwhelmingness of everything - our world had been completely turned upside down but I also was getting my skinny, sickly son (who had lost 19 pounds and was a skeleton but couldn't eat - Ketoacidosis at it's finest) to start to see clearly, bouncing back and actually saying he was hungry within 15 minutes of the very first shot I gave him with shaking hands and tears in my eyes. 

Our family went through a major transition.  We had a crash course in carbs (suprisingly a typical teenage boy breakfast can have 60+ carbs - and they are healthy carbs) a long lesson in well-intentioned 'advice' (some just wrong, some silly, and some dangerously wrong), and a life-long love/hate affair with insulin (and the smell).  It's what keeps my kid alive but can be so tricky and frustrating to work with trying to hone the dose to match the numbers with activity and growth.  It's downright maddening at times.  

In light of this National Awareness Day, I'll share a few tips from our life and things that we have learned along the way:

Type 1 Diabetes is NOT the Same as Type 2. They are vastly different, treated differently, and basically, every single thing about them is not the same except they share a name. For instance, Some Type 2's are on insulin.  ALL of Type1's are.  Please know the difference before offering advice.

T1D has gone through many trials and research - it's amazing how differently we treat kids even from 20 years ago - with pumps and CGM's and all sorts of fancy things, kids can be active and still do kidly things and eat regular foods. 

Except when they can't

When you have one in your family, you will find lancets (sometimes, but not preferably, sticking out of the bottom of your foot because you stepped on the little bugger) tubing, boxes of test strips and cartridges.  You will also become instantly familiar with the smell of insulin.  

And These. You'll find lots and lots of these.

The kids develop their own network and you realize that sometimes what looks like someone who brazenly takes a needle into a public area isn't a crazy drug addict after all, but likely a fellow T1D!  Or oddly shaped bumps on their belly (CGM) and tubing sticking out of a pocket (from a pump) can cause that look to be shared and a simple nod says 'hey, I know you'.  They are "in the club". 

These last few memes are for my Jacob and for all the fellow T1D's around - you know who you are - and I hope you laugh as much as I know he will.  May you all one day go to bed and not have to wonder if you might go low and not wake up the next morning.  

Because this happens.  For the record, insulin brings DOWN blood sugar.

Ahem. Jacob??  



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