Thursday, March 29, 2012

Is it Worth $1 to Cure Diabetes? Join the Charity Hop and Win $20

There are two distinctly different types of diabetes. In Type I Diabetes (also commonly referred to as juvenile diabetes) the body no longer produces insulin - at all. In Type II Diabetes either your body doesn't produce enough insulin or your cells no longer know how to use the insulin you do produce.

While my giveaway is to promote the American Diabetes Association, I'm going to focus on Type I Diabetes for a very personal reason. In the general population 1 in 400 people under the age of 20 have Type I. In my house, it's 1 in 4. My youngest daughter has diabetes. She's 17.

Lexcie, age 9
She was diagnosed at age 9. In hindsight we can see all the symptoms that led up to her diagnosis, but at the time they were happening, they were all spread out just enough that we couldn't see the writing on the wall, so to speak. Over the year before she was diagnosed, these are some of the things she went through: enuresis, problems with her vision (including her vision going black), lethargic (tired) much of the time, thirsty all of the time, sores that healed slowly. Those things all seem obvious, but none of them occurred together. That added to the fact that we don't have a history of diabetes on either side of our families. It wasn't something we looked for at all. The final thing that made me wonder was when she lost 13 lbs in about 2 weeks. That's a lot for a 9 year old girl! Once that happened, and I started thinking about all the other things, it seemed clear  . . . and yet, unlikely.

When the diagnosis was confirmed, I was stunned. I cried. I raged. I cried some more. I knew that this was life-altering for all of us, but especially for her. Let me give you an idea of what her life was like as soon as she was diagnosed:

She went from eating what she wanted, when she wanted to being on a strictly controlled, carb controlled diet. She had to eat at certain times, and at those times she had to eat a certain number of carbs. She could eat a little extra if she wanted, but she couldn't eat less. Her base medication was set up for that minimum number of carbs. Didn't matter if she was full, she still had to eat. If she finished eating and was still hungry, or wanted dessert, she had to decide if it was worth taking an extra shot of insulin for.

She had to poke her finger at least 4 times a day: at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime. If she was feeling like her BG (blood glucose, or blood sugar, level) was either low or high, it meant another poke to get the drop of blood needed to read her level. If she was high, it required a shot of insulin. If it was low, it required her to drink some juice and then eat some kind of protein (usually peanut butter) to stabelize her.

She had one shot she took every night at bedtime that was the slow acting insulin to sustain her throughout the day. She took another shot of the short acting insulin with each meal. That meant at least 4 shots per day.

As if that weren't enough, it required things like having someone go with her at school if she had to go to the restroom, or walk to the office, because they couldn't take the liability of her going alone. She also had kids constantly asking her about it (and she did not want to talk about it) or teachers telling her to put her phone away when it was her blood meter she was using, therefore calling attention to what she was doing.

She has to worry short term about seizures. She's had 2 because of low blood sugars: one at her friends house at a birthday party, and the other in Wal Mart. Imagine that for a teen girl. A seizure leads to her losing memory of the day of the seizure and usually 1-3 days afterward.

Long term she (and I and everyone who loves her) have to worry about blindness, kidney shut-down, nerve damage, the possibility of an early death if she doesn't take care of herself.

She now has an insulin pump, which has made life a little easier. Rather than having to give herself shots of insulin, she gives herself one "shot" every three days when she puts in a new pump site. She still has to poke her fingers multiple times a day, but it has made her eating schedule much more flexible. She still has lows and highs with her BG's but they're a little easier to take care of. So yeah, it's not perfect, but it's a little better.

She has to think about her diabetes all day, every day. There isn't ever a time when she doesn't have to. If she wants to exercise, she has to prepare differently from you and I. Going out of town, even for a couple days requires a lot of extra packing (of her supplies). Leaving the house for a short time or going to a friends house requires supplies being carried with her. Eating has consequences. Not eating has worse consequences. Stress messes with her BG's, as does euphoria. Being sick with a simple cold requires extra care to keep her BG's steady. There is no escape from her disease.

The costs can be astronomical. Our out-of-pocket for prescriptions and supplies is usually around $7,000 a year. That's with insurance, and doesn't include our insurance premiums. We always tease her that when she brings a boy home that she's serious with, rather than asking how heplans to treat her or what heplans to do with his life, we'll be asking, "What kind of health insurance do you have? Does it cover her medication and supplies? Can you afford the co-pays?"

The ADA is making progress in their studies of diabetes, and there are a few things on the horizon that would not only make her life easier, but also diminish the short and long term problems she may have to face. There's even something new that could possibly spell a cure, something we didn't ever think possible.

As a result, I'm asking for a little help. One of my friends is riding in the Tour de Cure. All money raised goes to the ADA for research. You can sponsor her here. Anything helps, even if it's only a buck.  I'm giving away a $20 Amazon gift card. You don't have to donate to enter, but you'll get extra entries if you do. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter (you mayhave to click on "more" to see it). Then hop on over to the blogs listed below that to read about their worthy causes and win more great prizes.

As they all are, this is a great cause, one that's particularly dear to my heart. In advance, I thank you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. great post :)

    I have an 8 year old niece that was fiagnosed 2 years ago

  2. Siete - I'm sorry for your niece. It's so hard for them. Every time I hear about a child diagnosed it breaks my heart.

  3. Donated.
    Love your brave Lexcie! She's such a sweetheart, funny and witty. Hope one day to see you all again!

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