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Friday, June 14, 2013

And, another thing I've learned…

As I go along, trying my best to educate, to advocate, to support…I find myself learning and growing as well.  Type 1, Type 2…yes…I said them in the same sentence.  For a long time, I felt like a traitor, mentioning Type 1 and Type 2 in the same breath…ever understanding that the confusion about the two starts right there…putting them together.  It used to make me angry when people would "lump" them together.

I have worked very, very hard, to educate people on the difference of the two “Types” but they do have a few things in common.  The most obvious, but most often overlooked, is People.  Each person affected, either by Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, is a Person.  That person belongs to a family, and, another thing the two types have in common, is that neither wants their disease.

I'm going to warn you right now, I am going to try to educate you on Type 2 Diabetes.  You all know very well the cornerstones of Type 1.  It is an auto-immune disease.  Nothing and no one can prevent it from happening if they have the markers in their genes.

Some of you may stop reading, some of you may make harsh comments, but, I want to share what I have absorbed, and, of course, you can take it as you will.  I understand, compassion is sometimes hard to come by, when something so unjust, like diabetes, stepped into your child’s life, your life, un-welcomed, without reason or cause.  Compassion for someone else, who seemingly had a choice whether to have diabetes or not…

but, if you take a deeper dive into Type 2, you will see, many, many people have tried very, very hard, to avoid Type 2...they've gotten the warning from their doctor that they are pre-disposed, that they may be at risk, that they have the signs and symptoms...and then they work HARD.  Some, many, are overweight. ( I can tell you right now, I could stand to lose a few..).Some, many, do not eat healthy, good for you foods. ( I can tell you I grabbed a handful of Snickers bites yesterday for my lunch on the go)...Am I a Type 2?  Not everyone who has Type 2 is lazy, or overweight, or just one ethnicity.  Not everyone who has Type 2 "just let it happen". Atheletes, lawyers, doctors ...moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas... many have Type 2 Diabetes.  Your neighbor, your friend...Type 2 is an epidemic in this country.

No one wants to be sick.  To feel awful, to risk losing life or limb.  In the end…we are all still people…and I do not wish hardship on anyone, and I will try to help anyone who is willing to ask, or at least be open to the possibility of learning…whether you are Type 1 or Type 2, another thing we have in common is that there is a struggle each and every day.  I try not to judge in degrees of hardship anymore, I have learned that inside, no matter what the type, or illness, or disability, we should not quantify other people’s challenges.

That being said, I understand that my challenge is no greater than someone else’s, I know.  My daughter’s challenges and struggles are no greater than some others', either, but be sure, they are certainly NO LESS. Recently, on a few different occasions, I have had to explain what it is like to be a parent of a Type 1 child…I see it makes people uncomfortable when they get that glimpse behind the curtain…there is a lot of pain there, a lot of struggle, and, it would seem there is a fine line between sharing what is true, and looking like we are “complaining”…we’re called helicopter parents, over-steppers, micro-managers,  “those” parents…the words hurt…a lot.  We react, strongly, when our children are the focus of mis-information.  We are parents who, every day, run on little to no sleep, constantly planning and coordinating life-saving care and meals, trying our very best to balance letting our child be A CHILD, and, teaching them things many adults could not comprehend or handle, so that one day, they will be able to take care of themselves and keep themselves alive.  Someone recently referred to “us” as a “tight-knit community”.  Damn straight.  We rely on each other not to judge our messy houses or our undone laundry, to support.  We go to each other for guidance, to vent, and to laugh—yes, there is “diabetes humor” and we know we’re the only ones who really get it.  I've got their backs and I know they've got mine.  Thank God for that, thank God for them.

 As people, in general, when we are walking down the street, we cannot begin to comprehend what it is like to walk in the shoes of those we pass…we may think others have it better…or worse…but, in the end, we are all just trying to get by.  I will always want to help, and encourage.   Do I fight for the rights of my daughter, am I more sensitive to her plight?  Of course!  We live this every day, every night.  I know this burden well, so I can speak to it firsthand.  Do I want to one day “get the call”…”the Cure is here!”  YES.  I do.  Very much.  And so, I will go on doing what I can in the meantime, for my daughter, for all living with Type 1.  But, that doesn't mean that others still don’t need our help, service, support.  I will be there for them, too.

I am in no way a medical expert, but, from my perspective, I’d like to clarify some of the misconceptions. The two diseases are listed below (please feel free to share if you think it would help others to understand!):

Similarities:  People are affected.  In each Type, there is impaired glucose metabolism leading to elevated blood glucose.  (in English:  Both are related to blood sugar levels and how the body produces insulin.)
Differences:


Type 1 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Also Known As:
Juvenile Diabetes, Insulin Dependent Diabetes
Adult-Onset Diabetes, Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes
Definition:
An Auto-Immune Disease where the Pancreas makes very little or, more commonly, NO LIFE SUSTAINING INSULIN
A Metabolic Disease Pancreas does not make enough insulin, or body doesn’t use insulin correctly.
Usual Age of Onset
Adolescence, but can happen older.  NO KNOWN CAUSE.  NOT RELATED TO ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS such as diet or amount of exercise.
40-60 years, but can happen in youth with genetic and environmental factors of poor diet and exercise
Symptoms
Appear SUDDENLY (within days or weeks):  frequent urination; extreme thirst; elevated hunger; extreme weight loss; lethargic, moody; blurred vision.  *Nausea, vomiting requires IMMEDIATE ACTION.
**Elevated Blood Glucose
Can come on gradually, may not feel a change in symptoms at all.  Increased thirst, increased urination and hunger.  Tired, sick to stomach, loss of weight, infections that are hard to treat effectively, blurred vision, loss of feeling in hands or feet.
**Elevated Blood Glucose
Treatment
Requires Insulin injections to stay alive.  Daily Multiple Injections of insulin taken by syringe, pen, or pump. 
Healthy diet; exercise, weight-loss/maintenance.  Oral medications and/or injections may be necessary.
Cause/Preventable
 Genetic markers with onset trigger of virus or unknown factors./ Not preventable.
Genetic and environmental factors./ Preventable, delayed onset.
Complications
Hypo (low)
 or Hyper (high) glycemia (blood sugar) that can lead to coma, nephropathy, blindness, heart disease, stroke, neuropathy, amputation, can be fatal if goes untreated
Hypo (low)
 or Hyper (high) glycemia (blood sugar) that can lead to coma, nephropathy, blindness, heart disease, stroke, neuropathy, amputation, can be fatal if goes untreated
Total of “Diabetes” population
10-15%
85-90%
Additional Information:

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