Okay. Prepare to be startled.
We are... well, really... Dougal is now in the 21st year of Type I. And back when we got that diagnosis... at 5 p.m. on October 29th, 1992... we were told the Cure was around the corner.
There have been a lot of corners since then... and a cross country course full of hurdles, with Dougal handling them all with aplomb. But his being good at all the complexities of blood sugar/pump/exercise/food/stress/travel/supplies and so much more doesn't change the fact that we're closer to that Cure, but we're also not there yet.
With your help though, research has come so far in two decades. When this all began, with Dougal at the ripe old age of 3 3/4, blood glucose testing had been around for just about a decade. Before that, you tested urine... which registered your sugar hours after the actual highs and lows had been reached.
The A1C test to check blood sugar levels over the previous 2-3 months had just begun. His pediatric endocrinologist took us down to the basement of the medical building where this huge piece of apparatus was kept. Now you can do it at home and send in the results.
You had to keep to a strict schedule because there were only a couple of insulins... one covering the next 12 hours... and one to be used before meals with fingers crossed that your child ate so the insulin wouldn't kick in with no food on which to work. The insulin didn't start working immediately so you needed lead time, but not too much, to ensure there weren't spikes of sugar. Dougal was a dream about all this. We had friends with a boy of equally young age who many evenings needed 3 or more meals for him to find something he'd agree to eat. Now there are insulins you can give right after eating or during a meal, so you can even out the food and insulin.
And the pump... yes, the insulin pump. Back in the mid to late 80's, it was table-sized, used, we were told, in hospital operating rooms for someone who needed surgery and had Type I. The nurse who trained Dougal on it when he was about 10 had one in the early 90's the size of a VHS case. She wore it on her belt... or with a harness under her arm. Dougal's is smaller than a smartphone and can be worn on his belt. And it does a lot more too.
Strides are being made: pumps can take blood sugar readings and synch them with insulin needs, but it still requires human input. The artificial pancreas isn't here yet... and even that will just be a patch, not a real Cure.
So, we're asking you again for help via our annual Walk. You can contribute here on line, or send a check made out to JDRF to us and we'll pass it on to our local chapter. And of course, it's all tax deductible.
We thank you so much for your help in this vital work. It, and you, mean so much to us!
Julie, Jonathan & Dougal
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Mariamne and Nancy
Mrs. Ingrid J Wachtler