I'm a mom of two boys, Daniel and Luke. Both have Type 1 Diabetes. Daniel was diagnosed at age 4 and Luke was diagnosed at 9 months. Daniel had the classic symptoms of T1D: hunger, thirst, weight loss and frequent urination. Luckily for us, Daniel never went into full blown Diabetic Ketoacidosis. We only had a brief stay in Children's Hospital in order to become educated in caring for his diabetes. Daniel had a dreadful fear of needles and shots at that age, but he had no choice but to overcome that fear quickly. His father and I were quite proud as he took control over checking his blood sugar right away. Luke's story was quite different. We could not figure out why he all of a sudden became so clingy and this previously happy baby began crying all of the time. We didn't get much of a chance to wonder what was happening because within a short couple of days he became lethargic and unresponsive. It was an ambulance ride to Children's Hospital this time, with the first two days in intensive care hooked up to oxygen and IVs. The next five days were spent learning how to care for a nine month old baby with diabetes. Luke could not tell us he felt like his sugar was low, he would just start to lose coordination and not be able to hold himself upright or begin crying for no clear reason. There were quite a few scary episodes of low blood sugar and a few hands on lessons in giving glucagon injections, but we made it through to a time when Luke could tell us when he felt poorly. We have done our best as a family to not let T1D control our lives. Our boys’ lives' have been full of scouting, soccer, swimming, travel, sleepovers, and junior theater. As a family, we have also done our best to bring attention to T1D and the need for continued research into a cure for this chronic and yes even life-threatening disease. In 2003, Luke and Daniel were ambassadors for Children's Congress. Both boys had the opportunity to share their stories with their congressman and their senators. Every year, our family walk team raises money for the JDRF Walk for a Cure. Their story has been told on TV news features and in the local newspaper. Luke and Daniel continue to participate in the Promise to Remember Me campaign by visiting their congressman. Having two children with T1D definitely has its challenges. There are too many times we've had to cut our fun short because of running out of insulin, catheters coming out unexpectedly and for symptoms due to low or high blood sugar. Best laid plans don't always work out as you'd hope. We have learned so many lessons. For instance, just because an insulin pump is water-proof does not mean it can't be washed away in the ocean by a rogue wave. Also, the latest in technology cannot take the place of diligence and dedication when it comes to controlling blood sugar levels. And, there is no greater feeling than being at a T1D event and looking around the room at all of the wonderful parents and kids with their glucometers and insulin pumps and realizing that you are not alone in this battle. There are other families out there getting strange looks when they are overheard asking their children "are you high?" Each new stage in life brings with it fresh challenges in dealing with T1D. Our current journey with Daniel is just beginning as he enters adulthood and starts college. My friends talk about the difficulty of letting go. If they only knew the degree of difficulty required in letting your child take the full responsibility of managing a chronic condition like T1D. I have faith in Daniel, but I also realize the unpredictability of this disease. Thirteen years ago, Daniel asked me if the cure to diabetes was waiting for him at the end of the "Walk for a Cure". I had to explain to him that there wasn't a cure yet, that the walk was just a way to work towards a cure. I am hopeful that one day in the near future, there will be a cure for diabetes. Then, we can walk for something else.
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