On May 18, 2010, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes. We have no history in our family, so the diagnosis scared my family and me. Over the next several days we made multiple trips to Blank Children's Hospital to learn more about Type 1 Diabetes.
Our family had always thought Diabetes was a result of being overweight or elderly. We, like many people, did not understand the difference between Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes. We quickly learned that I did not get Diabetes because of anything I did wrong, any bad eating habits or eating too many sweets. My juvenile diabetes is a result of my body attacking the cells in my pancreas that creates insulin.
Sadly, unless they find a cure, there is nothing we can do to stop my body from attacking these cells. As a result, I will need insulin injections (or have to wear an insulin pump) the rest of my life. I also have to prick my fingers to check my blood sugar 6-8 times a day (over 2,000 times a year) and count how many carbs I eat with every meal and snack.
While other kids can eat as much food as they want, the more carbohydrates I consume, the more insulin I have to give myself in order to compensate. The toughest part is when someone brings candy or treats for snacks at school or a birthday party, I can only have a small portion while others can have as much as they want.
Events like the JDRF Walk help me feel better knowing that I am not the only kid with Diabetes. In fact, each year over 15,000 children (or 40 kids per day) are diagnosed with Diabetes in the US.
Type 1 Diabetes is now part of my daily life, but has not stopped me from being involved in numerous sporting activities like AAU basketball with the All Iowa Attack, USSA baseball with the Ankeny Sharks, and Ankeny junior football! I do however sometimes wish I could go 1 day without having to watch everything I eat, take multiple shots a day and prick my finger. The only way this can happen is if they find a cure!
I hope you will consider taking time out of your busy lives to either walk with us at the 2014 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes on May 10 and/or make a donation on my behalf to JDRF.