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.