This summer, our son Andrew was finally old enough (5!) to attend Camp Wana Kura! 125 young campers with Type 1 Diabetes were able to enjoy swimming, paddle boats, crafts, and our own version of the Olympic games, putting diabetes aside for short periods of time.
Snack times and lunch time meant a return to the inconvenience and burden of Type 1. Three times a day, every day...for all of the campers, it meant getting their fingers poked, their blood sugar checked and recorded, getting their doses of insulin via syringe, pen or pump, and counting every single carbohydrate they ate.
The tolerance and bravery that these kids showed was truly amazing. The poking, testing, injecting, bolusing and carb counting that anyone with Type 1 Diabetes puts up with on a yearly, monthly, and daily basis is staggering. Type 1 requires constant vigilance and never gives you a break, not even for a single day...EVER.
But despite the challenges that Type 1 hands Andrew (and us) each and every day, the 6 to 12 finger pricks every 24 hours to check his blood sugar, the twice weekly pump site changes, and weekly continuous glucose monitor sensor changes, on June 22, we celebrated Andrew's second diaversary.
Type 1 has become our family's new normal. Even though it sometimes astounds us to think about how much Type 1 has changed our existence, and how much sleep we lose because of it, we're still thankful to be able to celebrate each diaversary. It means we've stayed on top of this craptastic disease for another year. It also reminds us of the great support from family, friends and the amazing staff at school who do so much to help Andrew.
We are also so thankful to have the JDRF, an organization entirely dedicated to funding research for better treatments and a CURE for Type 1 Diabetes. The JDRF annually funds dozens of clinical trials and promising research projects including "smart insulin" and beta cell regeneration and encapsulation. Some of this JDRF funded research is going on right here in San Diego. The Artificial Pancreas Project may be the most exciting technological breakthrough for everyone living with Type 1 Diabetes, and it will hopefully be a reality in the coming years, thanks to the efforts of the JDRF lobbying the FDA to approve it.
In November, I'll be riding again (85 miles last year, 111 miles this year!) in the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes. Instead of celebrating diaversaries, we'd love to one day be celebrating the fact that Andrew used to have Type 1 Diabetes. Every dollar raised brings us that much closer to a cure, for our son Andrew, his cousins Emily, Ethan, and Ryan, and everyone else living with Type 1 Diabetes. Thank you for your support!
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Mrs. Heidi Calabrese