Friday, July 31, 2015

Our T1D Story, Part 1

A few weeks ago two children died because of undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes.  Their stories are heartbreaking, tragic and stirred in me a want to tell our own story so that maybe, just maybe, someone out there could know the symptoms of Type 1 and be able to get a child (or adult) checked before they get too sick.

Our Story (Part 1)

Lafayette, LA

    I needed a date for my Junior prom and my friend suggested asking a boy in our math class.  His name was Philip and he was cool (he liked Pink Floyd) and he did make me laugh, so I decided to ask him.  When my mom and I picked him up at his house and I saw him for the first time in his tuxedo I was blown away!  He was crazy handsome!  Soon after prom Philip and I started dating and 4 years later we got married...but that's another post. 
     I noticed a few things about Philip that were unique: he couldn't sit through a movie without going to the bathroom and he drank almost constantly (during movies, phone conversations, etc.).  What I didn't know is that Philip had been losing weight, about 20 pounds in just a few months.  No matter how much he ate he just kept losing weight. He had a big appetite, but I just thought this was part of being a teenage boy.  We still joke about how he use to eat two whoppers from Burger King and still be hungry.  His mom had taken notice of these symptoms and after contacting the pediatrician Philip was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and sent to an endocrinologist.  At his first blood test his blood sugar was over 700.  The normal blood sugar for a non-diabetic is 70-120.
   After diagnosis Philip was put on a special diet that consisted of counting carbs for each meal and two daily injections of insulin.  Later, after we were married Philip got an insulin pump, but he still needs to count carbs at every meal.

   Philip had experienced some of the symptoms of T1D, but here is a longer list:
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination/bedwetting
  • Increased appetite
  • Drowsiness and lethargy
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath I would say their breath smells like acetone.
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Stupor or unconsciousness
    "Knowing the warning signs for type 1 diabetes could help save a life! Type 1 diabetes can often go undiagnosed in its early stages because the symptoms can be mistaken for more common illnesses, like the flu....It is extremely important to receive medical attention—misdiagnosis or leaving your condition untreated can have tragic consequences, including death." -JDRF  The good thing about T1D is that it is easy to test for, as a matter of fact, you only need one drop!

Here are some important facts about type 1 diabetes:
  • It is an autoimmune disease whereby insulin producing cells in your pancreas are attacked and killed.
  • No one really knows what turns Type 1 "on", but we know it isn't diet!
  • T1D patients have a lifetime of insulin injections ahead of them.  It is the only "cure" but we are so grateful for it!  Before the discovery of insulin in the 1920s diabetics would only live for months or maybe a few years after diagnosis.
  • Even though T1D used to be called Juvenile diabetes, you can really be diagnosed at any age.
Philip has now had diabetes for over 19 years and his day to day life looks much like yours or mine!

Tune in tomorrow for Our Story (Part 2)!