Tuesday, May 24, 2011
It's a lot to take in when your child is first diagnosed with type one diabetes.
We've now adapted to the lifestyle change. We count the carbohydrates, we check the blood glucose, we administer shots. We've even dined out a couple of times. Nothing fancy, no, we're not up to dealing with a dining-in experience yet. We have done McDonald's and a few other 'to-go' deals.
Sawyer has been terrific about checking in with the school nurse before gym class, lunch, and his bus ride home. He is accepting and understanding about not sneaking food...so far.
The saddest moment for me was when Sawyer asked, "Am I ever going to get rid of diabetes?"
Up until now, it was a virus or a flu from his point of view. It came, he takes some medicine, and then it goes away, like an ear infection or bronchitis.
I had to tell him that technically it won't go away. It's hard to tell a child something like that. The good news, I told him, is that it is treatable and researchers are close to developing a vaccine to combat the disease.
With all this adjustment and sad news, there was a bright spot to our days.
I received a call from a diabetic nurse from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Michelle had a gift for my son and she was willing to drive almost two hours to bring it to him. I told her she didn't have to do that and mailing it would be just fine. No, she wanted to come and visit us.
Michelle has had juvenile diabetes since she was two years old. I would guess her to be in her mid-thirties now. She is an inspiration. She has managed her diabetes well and has no complications from the disease. Complications such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, loss of limbs are just a few examples of the complications that can arise if diabetes goes untreated.
Meeting someone who had good diabetes management and no complications was encouraging to a mom who recently learned that her son has a chronic disease.
Michelle shared a little bit about diabetic treatment and also set mom (that's me) up with an endocrinologist (diabetic specialist).
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has a program through which they deliver a bag of informational supplies and other items to a newly diagnosed child. Among the items was a book starring the Pink Panther. It is a child (and grandparent :) friendly book with valuable information on diabetes, how it happens, why it happens, and treatment options. It better informs family members about the importance of checking blood glucose levels, what can happen if sugars are too high or too low, and how different levels of activity can effect blood sugar levels.
Also in the backpack was 'Rufus the diabetic bear', along with his own book, "Rufus Comes Home", an endearing combination that offers support and education to the child and other family members. There was a DVD, information packets, and a carbohydrate counting book along with other literature on diabetes.
This does not replace the health of your child by any means, but it is nice to know that there are others out there who are supportive and care about what you are facing.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is working to find a way to prevent, better treat, and cure type-1 diabetes.
If you wish to donate to the research development through JDRF, you may do so through their Web site: https://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=100903&sitereferer=100686
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