"Type 1 Diabetes is a life-threatening autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops producing insulin - a hormone essential to the ability to get energy from food. It strikes both children and adults suddenly and changes life as they know it forever. It cannot be prevented and there is no cure."
Two weeks after his 7th birthday, the unthinkable happened, my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It was unthinkable because Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), doesn't run in our family. What I didn't realize is, Type 1 is an autoimmune illness often kicked into play by a virus, and it's raging at epidemic levels throughout our community.
In the minutes after diagnosis, I sat alone with Pierson in the pediatrician's office. We were there that day on mother's intuition. They hadn't said, but by their absence I knew. I knew that in the other room calls were being made, protocols being put into place and our hospital room being reserved. I sat there steeling myself in the quiet strength I've cultivated over the years, thinking survivalist thoughts. "We will control this with food and proper exercise" I thought. "This just means we will have to be much more regimented. I suppose there will be some sort of pill that he will have to swallow". Like many people, I was confusing the two types of diabetes, and the reality of our diabetes was far worse than I could have imagined. Unlike Type 2 Diabetes where you are trying to keep your numbers down, with Type 1 Diabetes you have to keep them down and up. It's a high wire act with bodily damage or death on either side.
I really knew nothing about Diabetes or what living with the disease would mean to Pierson and to our family. I didn't know that his finger would be pricked over 3,000 times a year. In my vague familiarity I thought "Doesn't the pump do that"? I had no idea that sleeping through the night might mean not waking up in the morning, so Rob gets up and checks Pierson throughout the night. I didn't know that the common cold or a simple stomach bug would wrench his disease out of control so quickly that it would mean frequent trips to the emergency room.
I didn't realize every morsel of food would have to be counted and considered and that the phrase that would graze my lips most often would be "when did you check your sugar last"?, or that we'd be constantly wondering how his blood sugar got so high or so low. Blood sugar in a type 1 diabetic defies reason, it's it's own country and will not be controlled by food or anything else. There isn't a day off, and sometimes you can find yourself lulled into the normality of an afternoon only to wake from your haze with adrenaline running and think "how long has it been?" "He's quiet, is he still conscious?"
I hate Diabetes and what it makes of us. This is a disease that can and should be cured. We are so close to so many innovations that would ease the impact of this dreadful disease but reasearch is costly and complex. We will be taking part in this year's JDRF walk to raise funds for Pierson and for the millions of others living with and affected by T1D. Every dollar that JDRF gives to reasearch comes from donors like you. You can link arms with us by joining us on October 26th for Walk day and raising or giving money on our behalf, or by just donating to his Walk team.
At the end of the day he's just a kid wanting to have a normal life, a kid having to learn far too early that life isn't fair and carry worries that are far too great for any child. Please support him and donate to our Walk fundraising campaign. Your gift will make a difference for Pierson and for the millions of people affected by this devestating disease. Won't you please give to JDRF as generously as possible today?
Thank you so much for your support.
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Bev and Jim Jutry
Lori Mark Ben & Jack
Mrs. Jennifer Moore
Mrs. Mary Lou Thomas
Ms. Kanchana Narendran
Ms. Miriam T Johnson
The Smith Family
Wasko Family (Smith's Grandparents)