Welcome to Mason's JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes team page!
November 25, 2013 is a day that I will remember forever. It was the day that changed my life and not in the "I just won the Super Bowl" sort of way. That was the day I was diagnosed with Diabetes. My mom took me to the doctor because I had not been feeling well. They did some tests and later called saying that I had Diabetes and needed to go to the hospital where I would stay for a few days.
My first thought was "What is diabetes?", but what I asked my mom was "Do I need to take a shot?" She replied "Yes". Then, I started to cry and so did she. She promised that we would figure this out and that I would be ok. I realized later what "ok" meant.
I am "ok". I am an active, growing, little man. I go to school. I play with friends. I am on the baseball, football, and swim team. On the outside I am "ok". On the inside my body is fighting a war everyday. I have Type 1 Diabetes. It is an autoimmune disease. This means that my immune system is killing part of my pancreas.
The pancreas produces insulin which cells use to absorb glucose. Cells need glucose for energy. Not just energy to move, but even to think, see, and breathe. Since my pancreas has been sent on a permanent vacation, I have to take insulin shots at least 4 times a day to help my cells get the glucose they need. Imagine each cell is a room with a door. In "normal" bodies the glucose opens the door and walks in. My cell doors are locked, so I use insulin as a key to open the door for glucose. Without insulin I will die, other bad things will happen first, but the result is death.
That is not all I must do. I check my blood sugar levels by poking my finger around 10 times a day. If you have ever had this done at the doctor’s office you know how it feels, not exactly painless. Let’s be honest, shots and finger pokes hurt! That is what I must do to survive.
Survivable, that is a good way to describe Diabetes; it is survivable. As long as you keep your blood sugar in your range. Too high and you damage your vital organs, nerves and eyes. Too low and you pass out and die. I am fearful of this many nights when I go to sleep. My parents promise that they will check in the night to make sure I am not too low. Sometimes they need to wake me up to eat.
Diabetes is a constant in my life. I count the carbs of every food I eat to determine how much insulin I must take. No snacking or I have to take an extra shot. It affects how active I am. If I am too active, my glucose levels go too low. If I am not active enough my glucose levels go too high. It is a balancing act that I perform everyday.
I follow all the rules and many days it still does not work. Those are bad days! Good days I get to stay in class all day, go to recess, and practice that night. I celebrate small victories, like the last shot of the day.
This is why I walk for JDRF. I walk so one day I won’t have to count or take shots or poke my fingers or worry. I walk for a CURE! Please walk with me!