As a mom of a type 1 diabetic, I hope...

“Wow, they really throw everything at you. Diagnosed with diabetes and one hour later learning how to test blood sugar and inject insulin. I can’t believe I injected my kid with insulin today.”

That’s from an email I wrote to a friend on the day my oldest son, Alex, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 12 years old.

November is diabetes awareness month, so I thought I’d go down memory lane with you all…

Alex had fairly typical symptoms of diabetes, but it was easy to dismiss them for something else. I remember bouncing between being convinced that he had T1 and being convinced I was just overreacting.

Here are the most common symptoms of type 1 diabetes:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Wetting the bed
  • Extreme hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Irritability and other mood changes
  • Fatigue and weakness

I was concerned enough to make an appointment with our GP, who spent 30 minutes trying to get his blood sugar meter to work. Pricked Alex twice, himself twice, bought new batteries at the next door drug store, bought the wrong size batteries so bought another set, got advice from other docs in the clinic, and then finally gave up and sent us to the local hospital for blood work.

(A GP should know how to use a blood sugar meter. That’s shameful.)

Soon after we got home from doing the blood work, we got a call from the hospital: Get to the emergency room NOW.

Alex’s diagnosis story is fairly uneventful, thankfully. We caught it early.

You quickly learn there’s no end to diabetes.

Like so many chronic diseases, it’s stressful, scary at times, expensive, and exhausting. He’s 17 now, and even with an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor, it’s a lot of work to manage this disease and stay alive.

As a mom of a T1, I worry for him. One a day-to-day basis – is he going low? did he treat his low? why is he still freakin’ low? – and for his future. As a mom of a T1, I act as his pancreas at night because he still doesn’t wake up when his blood sugar goes low. As a mom of a T1, I wish that ‘keeping himself healthy and alive’ wasn’t a thing my son had to deal with, but I’m proud of how awesome at it he is.

As a mom of a T1, I hope there is a cure soon.

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