Type 1 juvenile diabetes
This is my little guy, Theo. In 2011, at age six, he was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes while we were traveling in Europe for his first time. Needless to say, it was the scariest, most confusing time for our family. But we made it. We’re okay. Since then, our lives have changed in many positive ways. With one of the steepest learning curves we’ve ever experienced, my husband Ted and I have gathered information, listened intently, and fumbled through the process of caring for a child with high needs. What makes it especially difficult is that he appears so ‘normal’ to everyone else. Diabetes is an invisible disability, and often times people forget just how fragile and vulnerable my son is.
Every day poses a new challenge. Since Theo is growing, this autoimmune disease never stays static. Now eleven, Theo is a natural at poking his finger 8 to10 times a day to test his blood sugar, calculating carbohydrates at every meal/snack, and administering insulin through his pump to accommodate any situation. Active and inquisitive, it’s never dull living with our go-getter super kid. This summer marked his third foray into camp life. The camp is specifically for diabetic children and Theo loves being around others who can relate. He even won the ‘Independence Award’ this year for his ability to self-care. What a champ!
I must mention the huge support team behind one child. Firstly, Theo’s younger sister, Frankie. Through everything, she has been positive, encouraging, and patient with him. We realize there are times when siblings of high needs children receive less attention, but Frankie takes everything in stride. In fact, she will often remind Theo to test his blood sugar or put away his monitor if he forgets. She has turned into quite the mother hen. Our family and friends have been tremendously supportive along our journey. This support branches out to the JDRF Ride for Diabetes Research, an annual charity ride that raises a considerable amount for Juvenile Diabetes research and assistance. We are proud to provide a team and participate each year and are fortunate enough to have every dollar we raise matched by my husband’s company.
When Theo’s sugar is low, especially after running around during an activity, he has some instant sugar (1/4 cup of juice or a Diabetic high fiber biscuit) and sits down to read until he is level again. Usually about fifteen minutes.
Theo does not let Type 1 Diabetes stop him from exploring, hiking, swimming, baseball, participating is school sports and plays, or hanging out with friends. He loves nature, animals, and going out in any extreme weather. If anything, he now tries everything to prove that he still can, even with a life-long disease. It won’t stop him.
Parent's Checklist For Signs & Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes signs and symptoms can come on quickly and may include...
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Bedwetting in children who previously didn't wet the bed during the night
- Extreme hunger
- Unintended weight loss
- Irritability and other mood changes
- Fatigue and weakness
- Blurred vision
(source: Mayo Clinic)