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November is Diabetes Awareness Month

I remember when playing outside was simply that – playing outside. I didn’t have to watch a Continuous Glucose Monitor with a box of juice on standby for when the activity causes her blood sugar levels to plummet.

I remember when a snack or a meal didn’t require a drop of blood, a blood sugar reading, calculating an insulin dose, drawing it up into a syringe (or dialing it into a pen or sending it to an insulin pump) and giving a shot to a child to cover the carbohydrates to help her body digest what she eats.

I remember when we didn’t have to make quarterly appointments at the pediatric endocrinology clinic.

I remember when the flu wasn’t life-threatening.

I remember a time when I didn’t have to check for ketones and flush a little girl’s body to prevent DKA due to an illness or a high blood sugar.

I remember a time when I didn’t have to guess and hope for the best when trying to fulfill the role of a human pancreas. And most of all, I remember a time when I didn’t pray this imperfect system would be enough. 

The single thought that simultaneously comforts and saddens me, is that Madelyn will have no memory of life before diabetes. This is the only way she knows how to live.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.

Type 1 Diabetes is not contagious. It is not something you can “catch.” Lifestyle and diet have nothing to do with its onset, because Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. For reasons still unknown, the body’s immune system attacks and kills the insulin-producing beta cells on the human pancreas rendering those affected completely dependent upon insulin supplementation.

There is no other way to manage it.

Recently, the FDA approved the artificial pancreas for use in the United States. With its clinical trials successful, the diabetes community has experienced a massive increase in hope, as this is seen as a very important step in the push towards a cure. In less than 100 years, there has been so much advancement in research and treatment for this disease that how can I not believe there is a cure just around the corner? I do not know what a cure “looks” like – a pill? A final shot?

I do know I look forward to the day when Madelyn can say, “I used to have diabetes.”

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