Embracing Life & the Child with the Disease

Ryan’s Top Six

Today is D-Blog Day.  D-bloggers might use the prompt to write six facts about Type 1 diabetes.  But I thought it might be nice to get Ryan’s perspective, six things from a six-year-old who lives with the disease everyday.  These are his exact words, his thoughts and maybe in some sort of order of importance.  So here goes, from his very lips:

  1. I have 4 shots everyday that has insulin, but I’ll be pumping soon!
  2. I got diabetes because God gave it to me, NOT because I ate too much sugar.
  3. I CAN have candy but I have to have insulin for it.
  4. If I don’t get insulin, I’ll get sick.
  5. I’m different from Type 2 because their sugar is high and mine’s high AND low and I can’t take pills for it. 
  6. My mom has to check my sugar in the night.

There you have it.  I often get stuck on #2.  Sometimes I think he came to that conclusion because he has heard so any that are uneducated; sometimes I worry about what people say to him when I’m not around, like at school.  My dad is a Type 2 diabetic.  I know it’s hard on him to control his sugar.  I know there is a daily regimen of balancing food, exercise and medication to get/keep his diabetes under control.  But I also know what he deals with is so very different from Ryan . . . and so does he. 

As a momma watching her little miracle live with the disease, here are my six things I want you to know:

  1. Ryan does not have diabetes because I was a bad mom and gave him too much sugar or allowed him to eat unhealthily.  Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that is genetically predisposed AND was “triggered” by an environmental factor (virus, immunization, etc) that caused his body to fight off and eventually kill all the beta cells in his body that produce insulin.
  2. On December 17, 2009, our lifestyle changed forever.  We have adapted a new normal to our schedule, our eating habits, our sleeping habits, our everything.
  3. Diabetes goes everywhere with us and does not sleep.  We can take no vacation from it.  We can have no days “off.” 
  4. Managing diabetes is certainly possible but IT IS HARD.  Everything effects blood glucose levels:  food, exercise, stress, sleep, anxiety, excitement, temperature, sickness . . . you name it, your sugar is effected by it. 
  5. Type 1 Diabetes is not terminal but it is lifelong.  It is most daunting to think that Ryan doesn’t grow out of this condition.  We can do nothing to fix it.  His pancreas will never recover.  I pray daily for a cure.
  6. There is life, normal, full and healthy life after diagnosis.  With all its exhausting regiments/routines/therapies/precautions, etc, Ryan can grow up being confident in the FACT that diabetes does not keep him from doing anything he will ever want to do . . . diabetes just has to come along for the ride.

Watch Ryan’s 24 second pledge now . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r14K0GP0NeY

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