1097942_796944757000425_1646531716_nI posted this picture yesterday on both my personal and the Guardian Angel for Stella Facebook pages. All this week at my children’s school has been a book fair, and each day they have done a little different promotion as a way to drum up interest and much needed money. Tuesday was “muffins with mom”, today is “goodies with the grandparents”, and yesterday was “doughnuts with dad”, hence the picture.
Not soon after I posted that picture, on my personal page, I got this comment:

“I’m confused. . . I thought she is diabetic?”

If you’ve been around this page long enough, you know that one of the things we battle daily is the public misconception of type 1 diabetes. We also love to take every opportunity to educate and advocate. Media portrayal, the prevalence of type 2, all of the usual suspects are at play when it comes to either not knowing the difference between type 1 and type 2, or not even realizing there are different types. The basic misconception starts with this premise:

“Diabetes is a self inflicted disease due to a lack of exercise and poor eating habits”

That description above is what makes it so hard for us to raise awareness, raise support, and raise funding. When people believe that you are at fault for your own illness, that you are to blame, it makes it very difficult for anyone to understand just how devastating this disease is. And for type 1 diabetics, that description couldn’t be farther from the truth.

So what is the difference between type 1 and type 2?

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and—at present—nothing you can do to get rid of it.

Type 2 (T2D, non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset) Type 2 diabetes typically develops after age 40, but can appear earlier, and has recently begun to appear with more frequency in children. In this form of diabetes, the pancreas still produces insulin, but the body does not produce enough or is not able to use it effectively.  Treatment includes diet control, exercise, self-monitoring of blood glucose and, in some cases, oral drugs or insulin.
(both definitions provided by JDRF from their web page)

Now when my daughter eats just about anything, whether it is an apple, broccoli, quinoa, twinkies, or a doughnut, she needs to take enough insulin to cover the carbohydrates in the food she is eating. Yes, she CAN eat that doughnut. However, I will reiterate what I said on my Facebook page:

“The reality is, it plays havoc with her blood sugar. The glazing shoots her blood sugar straight up, and super fast, and then the fat takes longer to process, so this 1 doughnut will create a high BS issue for awhile, with the possibility of a crashing low later. So while she CAN eat them on occasion, and we do, we don’t make this a habit. But guess what? That should be true for ALL of us, diabetic and non-diabetic alike.”

We try really hard as parents of children with a serious, lifelong disease, to allow our kids to have as normal a childhood as possible. We want them to participate in events like doughnuts with dad, birthday parties, and going to get ice cream on a hot summer day. We want them to know that they can eat anything they want, because problems seem to arise when we have a hardline NO! If we allow our kids to have things like doughnuts on occasion, then when they start to have some more independence, we hopefully will have instilled in them a sense of responsibility, and eliminated the need to rebel against everything and start to sneak snacks, lie about BS readings, and start to ignore their diabetes management. And one of the ways we do that is by explaining that this isn’t just the way “they” eat. It’s the way ALL of us should eat. None of us should be eating doughnuts and fastfood every day, drinking soda with every meal, finishing off breakfast lunch and dinner with a desert or snack. When 80-90 percent of your food is healthy and good for you, you can occasionally snack on the other stuff, within reason. Yes, there will be consequences. We know that, and we work really hard to minimize/eliminate them. But sometimes we allow them, even encourage them. So that when the kids are on their own, they are more likely to do the same.

And yes, Major was with us. She went from 140 to 185 in about 10 minutes, and an hour later was 299. Good high Major. Thank you buddy.1798707_796944787000422_1661037291_nAnd here was Major, under the table while we were eating our doughnuts. He is saying: “um, dad? The sign says doughnuts with dad. I’m a dad, where is MY doughnut?”579233_797192310309003_1129818874_n

So yes, my daughter DOES have diabetes. And yes, it IS the bad kind. The kind that will never go away. No amount of diet or exercise can fix it. There is no cure. Yet. And she did nothing to cause it. And yes, she CAN eat that. Just like we can. In moderation. Just like we all should.

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Team Blackdogsrule

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1 Comment

  1. Wise advice. My son had a very restricted diet as a young child, but when birthdays rolled around, whether it be in the family or in the classroom, I relaxed the rules and let him have that cupcake. You have to respect their illness and also respect their need to be a kid and their desire to fit in. It’s a balancing act that takes real effort, and one our children appreciate even if they seem not to notice at the time.

Speak!