The beginning of being six- without a care in the world. Playing with friends, going to school, stopping the ice cream truck for a treat, laughing from the bottom of his toes, and a love for a t-shirt with a big fat F on the front.
The tail end of being six-sudden weight loss, extreme tiredness, constant thirst, constant need to use the restroom, quiet, reserved, keeping to himself, not playing, not wanting to be with friends, no laughing, no joy—not even for the F shirt. What is this? What is wrong?
We found out on August 23, 2010 that THIS was type 1 diabetes. An autoimmune disease –his body attacking itself and shutting down insulin production in the cells of his pancreas. We found out that this was his new forever-shots of insulin to keep him alive, math to figure out the dose of insulin, needle pokes to his little fingers to check the glucose level in his blood stream, counting carbohydrates in each drink or bite of food, and testing urine. Nothing we could have done to prevent this, nothing we could do to end this.
This is why we try to put the ‘KNOW’ in every November since 2010. As Frankie’s parents—we did not know the signs and symptoms of diabetes—and absolutely would have had him in the doctors office sooner if we had.
Diabetes is one big huge tree—with many different branches—types. Some types, are quiet and unsuspecting—no signs, no symptoms—maybe you feel a bit off—but you press on—it’s nothing. Other types are noisy—going to the bathroom a lot, weight loss, constant thirst—but would you see them as signs if you didn’t have a clue about diabetes? We didn’t. Bringing Frankie to the doctor that day in August—we thought the flu, a virus…and then “What is type 1 diabetes?” Clueless, scared, and rushing to the diabetes center.
Common symptoms of diabetes:
Urinating often, Feeling very thirsty, Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating, Extreme fatigue, Blurry vision, Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal, Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1), Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
If you have any of these symptoms—consult a physician immediately.
If you don’t have symptoms: find out your family history—is there diabetes in your tree?
Ask for a finger stick glucose check at your yearly physical and your child’s well care visit.
Someday we hope for ‘NO’ in November. No more diabetes—when a cure is found. Until that day—we want a ‘KNOW’ in November—because Diabetes is: your coworkers, your classmates, your family, MAYBE YOU?