World Diabetes Day…My day of thanks! #mgtab by Natalie Ann

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What does November mean to you?

On social media you see all sorts of posts about 30 days of thanks. That’s a great reminder that we should always look for the positive over the negative.

How about Movember? Raising funds for men’s health by growing facial hair. I love this one, but then again I’m a fan of facial hair.

But 10 years ago, the meaning behind November changed for me. It changed my life—my family’s life. Diabetes Awareness Month.

You see, my son was 8 when he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, also know as juvenile diabetes (though adults can also be diagnosed). The simplest way to describe this is that his pancreas is dead. It doesn’t function at all. The body cannot produce insulin and without insulin we will die. There is currently no cure for Type 1. Though there are all sorts of tools in place to make life more manageable, it’s still not a cure.

Type 2 Diabetes can happen to anyone, not just those who are overweight that most assume it to be associated with. The difference between the two is, with Type 2 your pancreas still produces insulin, just not properly. Diet, exercise and medication can control and sometimes ‘cure’ it.

Those of us who have someone in our lives with Type 1 Diabetes know this is a lifestyle. There is no escaping it for one minute of any day. Your blood glucose could go too high, sending your body into ketoacidosis, which in layman’s terms means the sugar stays in your blood stream and starts to break down your fat and muscles, potentially causing long term issues with your organs.

Or your blood sugar could go low causing you to pass out and yes, die. It’s scary to watch someone you love shaking and lightheaded while staring into space as you force juice and candy down them to keep them alert. Because if they pass out, you have to give them this big nasty shot in the thigh and rush them to the ER, praying you got them there in time.

Why am I explaining all of this? Because today is World Diabetes Day. Yes, that is such a thing. And I’m thankful that I’m able to give a little bit of Diabetes Awareness to my readers.

The next time you see someone shaking, looking pale, acting funny, staring into space or slurring their words. Maybe even looking for food or juice. Don’t assume they may be drunk or on drugs, because the symptoms can actually mimic each other. Ask them if they’re okay, and if there is anything you can do to help them. Blood sugar can drop suddenly with no explanation for some diabetics and many (like my son) don’t feel the symptoms until it’s too late. You could save their life.

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11 thoughts on “World Diabetes Day…My day of thanks! #mgtab by Natalie Ann

  1. That’s so scary, Natalie Ann. My handicapped brother got diabetes type 2 from being on a certain type of medication for schizophrenia which has to be monitored with blood work every three months, and wasn’t. His doctor was, shall we say, neglectful, and I had to pull him out of his group home and relocate him closer to me which took 5 years.

    Anyway, I truly hope your son is doing well, sounds to me he’s about 18 years old now, and maybe finishing high school. Sending prayers and blessings to you and your family, and thank you for sharing this very important topic and one so personal.

    Hugs, Sue

    • Yes Susan, he’s 18 and a freshman in college. He didn’t feel comfortable living on campus, so we sold the house we built when he was a baby and moved an hour away so that he could be 9 miles from his college and commute. Thankfully it also put hubby just 5 miles from his job, so it was a win for everyone.

      I’ve been following your stories on your brother. I know you understand how hard it is on a family when one member has a greater need. You sound like such a wonderful sister and I’m sure he appreciates you so very much!

  2. I cry every time I read about the dangers of T1D. It is the most frightening thing on earth to watch your child go from happy and healthy one minute to near comatose the next.
    I hope and pray they can one day find a way to rejuvenate the pancreas and thereby eradicate this horrible disease.

    • Jacquie, I know you understand this all too well! And the frustrations of chasing his numbers twenty-four seven. It truly is a lifestyle and I’m so thankful he is an easy going laid back kid. He’s never been embarrassed or ashamed and takes care of himself with pride wherever he is. As a parent I can’t ask for more than that.

  3. You must be a wonderful mother! I have the opposite of Diabetes–low blood sugar. Luckily, not as serious as Diabetes, but having fainted in many places and scared the dickens out of people who find me on the floor, I make sure to carry apple juice and try to eat protein before I go out.

    • Thanks Alicia. I try, but we have our moments as a mother ha. I have hypoglycemia too. The first time it happened to me was an eye opener to what my son feels like. I carry this big purse around that I call my adult diaper bag, it’s full of treatments for him and me Ha.

  4. Thank you for posting this. Too many people aren’t aware of the dangers. One of my best friends died a few years ago because his kidneys were destroyed by diabetes. He needed a transplant, but he was too far gone before his name came up. My dad had Type 2 Diabetes as did most of his siblings. I’ve always been careful about my diet because I feel I’m probably predisposed to develop it.

    • Thanks, Joan. Yes, we tell my son all the time, “what you do now will determine your future.” Other organs suffer and it builds over the years until it’s too late. A healthy diet is key to both Type 1 and Type 2 and it’s really a simple thing we can do for ourselves.

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