Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We Now Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Competition Video Fest

Tune in tomorrow for yet another video and yet another NaBloPoMo post; today, though, we'll pause to honor D-Blog Day, started five years ago to promote diabetes awareness.

"Six Things You Want People To Know About Diabetes" is the theme. Given that I didn't know much about diabetes on August 1, 2010, but learned a great deal starting the next day, when Theo was diagnosed, I bet I know a little of what you don't know.

Type 1 is not Type 2. You hear about type 2 in the news because it's brought on by diet and exercise and can be controlled by same. Type 1 is not brought on by one too many candy bars; instead, it's...well, they don't know exactly, but genetics and possibly viruses play into the causes. It's not contagious. As for control, we can manage the diabetes, but we can't get Theo to a point where he doesn't need insulin, until those smart people come up with a cure.

Theo can eat anything. Because type 1 is confused with type 2, people think Theo can't have sweets. He can--we just have to count the carbs and give him insulin first. Now, it's true that certain foods, such as soda, can cause his blood sugar levels to spike despite an accurate counting of carbs, due to the timing of the absorption of the shot vs the sugar kicking in. But this happens with foods like pizza, too, where the fat slows down the carb absorption.

We're always on our toes. We control the diabetes; it doesn't control us. Theo will live a productive life. Yet, when people ask me if we've settled into a "routine," it's hard to know how to answer. Sure we have, but the factors change constantly. We keep a running log of his levels, carbs eaten, and units of insulin given; we look to this to determine patterns when things start going awry. Which they do, usually after we're seeing great levels for a few days; suddenly the numbers get all funky, and we have to seek out patterns in times of day, kinds of foods eaten, amount of activity surrounding the shot. There's no relaxing.

Diabetes is all day, every day. People will ask, Oh, do you check his sugar about twice a day? We wish. Think more like six times a day, plus an insulin shot before every meal. Plus a different kind of insulin given before bed, which, so far, has meant that Greg and I have not had an evening date since July. Other daily events tie in, as well. Did you know that a warm bath just after a shot can cause insulin to absorb too quickly? We have to time out the baths to an hour after a shot, ending at least ten minutes prior to the next shot. And that one cream I like to put on his eczema after baths? Might absorb through the skin and spike his sugar up. Once we get him to bed, we have to be sure to get up around the same time next day, or his sugar could be low. No sleeping in, even if we had to check his blood sugar at 2am. It's all day, every day.

So it's sad, yes. We tire of having to carry all this stuff with us everywhere we go. We hate when the shot makes him bleed. It kills us when he's left with a bruise. And we don't go near thinking about long-term consequences. I've called it grief here before; it's a sorrow that has no long-term relief.

But we're fine. Sometimes I think I really should have a separate blog for all these very specific topics I address: a weightlifting blog, a diabetes blog, a theatre for the homeless blog. But I like them all mixing together in one place, because that's what my life is like. Bench pressing doesn't define me, and homelessness is not my only cause. I have a diabetic child, yes, but we don't sit around and weep together all day, as this makes perfectly clear. Life is filled with ups and downs, and even the downs can have an up side. Diabetes has sobered me, and I now appreciate life more than I ever thought I would.

6 comments:

  1. #7. They didn't name it diabetes because of the word "die."

    Theo told me at the bus stop one day that some kid at school said it's called diabetes because it kills you.

    "Dad" he asks, "Am I going to die?"

    I told him that everyone is going to die, but as long as we stay on top of his insulin, he'll live a long, healthy life.

    Then I looked in his eyes and told him, "Son, the next time someone tells you that diabetes is named for dying, you just tell him, 'no, it's named for beating.' Then punch him as many times as you can before the playground monitor pulls you off."

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  2. Around here, we train em in the way they should go.

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  3. I love that your blog is a hodgepodge of your interests. That's exactly how mine is too! I may have found you because of your diabetes, but I'm sure we have other things in common too. People are never defined by just one thing, so why should blogs? Unless you're trying to be a "teacher" blog, I say, don't bother! Glad I found you on DBlog Day. :)

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  4. Thanks, Allison! I'm glad you dropped by. I reciprocated by commenting on your blog just now; so glad to make your acquaintance.

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  5. Actually type 1 and type 2 are more similar than you realize. The causes are different, but the treatments are much the same. Type 2 can benefit from the oral meds that don't do much for type 1's, but beyond that we all have to watch our carbs and check our blood sugars regularly. There are even type 1's who need to lose weight. I just dropped in from NaBlo to say "Hi." I like to check out other bloggers during November, and hope to make some new friends.

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  6. I hear you, Eve. I guess what I was reacting to is summed up in an interaction with an adult who has type 2, who was commiserating with my son because she has to check her sugars once a day--about 9 less pokes/needles per day than my son gets.

    Because folks mostly hear about type 2 in the news, I want them to know that (a) we're not sitting around eating donuts all day here, and (b) there's a big difference in monitoring, equipment, medication and management between the 2. Otherwise, yes, there are basic similarities, and we should all eat a healthy diet and pursue regular exercise.

    Thanks for visiting!

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