Our sweetie pies

Our sweetie pies

Saturday, April 30, 2011

a group of diabetics

Last night I met with fellow diabetic families. There is a non profit group that just happened to land right around the corner from our house. We have both lived in this neighborhood for over four years now but we never discussed diabetes until we were recently diagnosed. We used to take walks past their house and notice the words on their van: "DiabatesOutdoors.org", but we didn't even understand what diabetes was or is.

Now we are a part of this group. Now we call on this couple in times of crisis. The husband has been living with type 1 diabetes for over 30 years and his son now was just diagnosed a few years ago.

so last night, I found myself at a coffee house table in the wind, outside, as we watched the sun set. There were two other couples there and two other moms. All of us are living with children, minors that have type 1 diabetes.

Most of the kids of these parents are living with insulin pumps but for us and one other newly diagnosed family, we are both still giving many shots a day and checking their blood constantly.

The other newbie was diagnosed in December, us in February. Both of us still in scary phase.

The leader of the meeting last night, brought a topic for us to think about: Diabetes in a disaster situation. Such as: a tsnunami hits in Japan and you suddenly don't have any insulin and you are a type 1 diabetic. what do you do?

For so many uneducated people out there...no insulin for those of us that live in insulin dependent families; that means just like it sounds, they are insulin dependent. If you are oxygen dependent and you suddenly don't have oxygen; the inevitable will happen. For the non diabetic person, your body makes insulin. For the type 1 diabetic, their body doesn't. Without insulin, your body malfunctions and slowly dies.

In the ol' days, type 1 diabetics, would have just mysteriously died. Now we diagnose and give insulin.

In addition to that heavy topic, we also had a side conversation about colleges, since myself and another mom have teenagers trying to fund their colleges of choice.

Other moms discussed the trials and scares of leaving their child at school everyday and getting calls from their children that they are low and need to be treated. Since my child is 3, I just can't imagine yet, leaving her to the care of others for hours on end. not yet.

We also discussed the constant misconceptions of type 1 diabetes. No, it is NOT like type 2 diabetes! I wish they would just rename the two different conditions. Type 2 diabetes can go away. Your body still makes insulin, your body just can't absorb all that it needs, so a pill is taken to help your body absorb the insulin. You have to watch your diet and exercise. In type 1 diabetes, it is an autoimmune disease! your body just stops making insulin. because of this, your kidneys start to malfunction and your body creates acid that is a toxin and makes you sick. this can turn fatal. This disease does not go away. Insulin is given for almost everything that you eat and your blood sugar levels are monitored constantly, forever. very different!

We also discussed the difference in healthcare. some of us have excellent doctors (such as myself) and some are frustrated by decisions their doctors make. so thankful for our insurance and our fantastic doctor!

As I watched the group of us, I realized that we are all people that understand type 1 diabetes. We all have different careers or musical interests or religious beliefs or school of choice for our children. We have lives outside of diabetes. But WE have all had to learn about type 1 diabetes. We all put our cell phones on the table in front of us as we sat down to enjoy our drinks. Not for soccer updates but in case their is a concern from our caregivers about our child or children.

I find myself changing hats all day. When I take my son to speech class, I am an informed parent. I am a trained special ed teacher. I am a seasoned mom. I am a mom of twins. I am a mom of a type 1 diabetic child. I am a writer. I have a teenager deciding on college. I am a Christian. I am a daughter. I have lost my father. I am a friend. I am a sister. I am a wife. so many hats. so many topics to educate others on or connect with others on. It can be exhausting.

Last night, one woman said that she knew of a mom of a diabetic child that doesn't like to talk with other moms of diabetics because she just wants to forget about it for awhile. and then we said how we like talking with each other because part of our life isn't hidden from the other person. we don't have to explain it. we just understand each other and can just start discussing college issues.

support groups are important and thankfully I was gathered into this one. We all would love to trade in our labels and not have this in common anymore but we do and we are.

so please take the time to educate someone on what living with type 1 diabetes really means. start a blog. read mine.

In my spare time, I will tell you anything you want to know.


  1. I *LOVE* D meetups. I love chatting non-stop about it, sharing stories, and watching the kids play together. I love that testing is the norm, carb counting is norm, and giving insulin in norm.

    I *NEED* these occasions so that I can function in the rest of my roles without overwhelming everyone around me with the details.....that's what my blog is for :)

  2. Love meeting up with other D families!! So hard to understand how some people don't want to be part of that. Usually those are the ones that need the support the most. So glad you found a good group...and the DOC!