Our long story shortened...

20 years of being in love

14 years of marital bliss

5 years of infertility

9 months of a high risk pregnancy

2 perfect boys (at the same time)

1 heart failure

1 type 1 diabetes diagnosis

1 happy life

To see the whole story click on the "about us" tab

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I am a stay at home mom who is raising twins. One of my guys has type 1 diabetes and one does not. I am writing this blog to unite type 1 parents or twin parents. Comment on my posts or in the "what's your high?" and "what's your low?" to join the community of parents just trying to do the best we can!

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National Diabetes Month Day 1

I would like to start out our 30 days of posting to explain what National Diabetes Awareness Month is all about! 

First, the boring but important statistics.

Nearly 26 million children and adults in the US have diabetes. 
Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association estimates the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the US is $174 billion. 

Billion! Raising awareness will help people to understand that research is essential for a cure (obviously, right?). But the more people that understand diabetes, the more money gets raised to help this little guy 

to not have to do this anymore.

That is why finding a cure and helping to create awareness is so important to me. 

I was never really excited to start being one of the people in the pictures, like this. 

 I always felt that if I started becoming an advocate for this disease, it would by default, make it Rocco's task as well. When he first got Type 1 diabetes, I thought about helping do a walk or telling more people about diabetes. However, he was only in his toddler years. It was all just too much of a burden for such a small human being to be the shining example of the disease.  Plus, honestly having two 22 month olds, Michael and I were overwhelmed. Nobody had time for anyone else but ourselves! I should have had a fundraiser for all of those diapers! 

As Rocco and Zeke physically grew, Michael and I mentally grew. Personally, I am starting to understand that helping cure this disease is actually something that I need to do. I have a lot of energy when I care about something. I have a strong heart and I am a self-motivated person. I recently realized that I was sitting back waiting for others to cure my son's disease. I realize now that was a truly selfish act. Plus, no one is better equipped to help their child like a mama! Just ask the grizzlies!  A couple of months ago, I decided I had to get off my dead rear end and start helping to find a cure during his lifetime! Just like caring for him every day, it was my responsibility to help him get rid of this disease, within his lifetime. 

My first step is creating awareness. 

found a cool chart to help explain the difference between Type 1 and Type 2.

Comparison chart

Improve this chartType 1 DiabetesType 2 Diabetes
Definition:Your body makes too little or no insulin. This is called Type 1 diabetes.Your body can't use the insulin it makes. This is called Type 2 diabetes.
Diagnosis:Genetic, environmental and auto-immune factors, idiopathicGenetic, obesity (central adipose), physical inactivity, high/low birth weight, GDM, poor placental growth, metabolic syndrome
Warning Signs:Increased thirst & urination, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision and extreme tiredness, glycouriaFeeling tired or ill, frequent urination (especially at night), unusual thirst, weight loss, blurred vision, frequent infections and slow wound healing, asymptomatic
Target Groups:Children/teensAdults, elderly, ethnic groups
Prone ethnic groups:Allmore common in African American, Latino/Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander
Bodily Effects:Beleived to be triggered autoimmune destruction of the beta cells; autoimmune attack may occur following a viral infectionsuch as mumps, rubells cytomegalovirusAppears to be related to aging, sedentary life-style, genetic influence, but mostly obesity
Common physical attributes found:Mostly Normal or ThinMostly Overweight or Obese
You have this when:Your body makes too little or no insulin.Your body can still produce insulin but does not use it properly (insulin resistance)
Estimated percentage of occurance:5% -10% of the 171 million of people affected by diabetes in 200090% - 95%-of total cases. Although the projected number of Americans that will have type II diabetes in the year 2030 will double from 171 million to 366 million cases
Affected age group:Between 5 - 25 (maximum numbers in this age group; Type 1 can affect at any age)Until recently, the only type of diabetes that was common in children was Type 1 diabetes, most children who have Type 2 diabetes have a family history of diabetes, are overweight, and are not very physically active. Usually develops around puberty
Glucose Channels/receptors:Open and absorb glucose into cell to be utilized by processes after the induction of insulinAre unable to open and absorb glucose, therefore glucose cannot be utilized by processes; as a result the glucose stays in the blood stream
Cure:NonePhysical exercise, healthy loss of weight & diet control
Treatment:Insulin Injections, dietary plan, regular check up of blood sugar levels, daily exercise Goals: optimal glucose, prevent/treat chronic complications, enhance health with food/PA, individual nutrition needsDiet, exercise, weight loss, and in many cases medication. Insulin Injections may also be used, SMBG
Dependency:Insulin-dependentNot insulin-dependent
Onset:Rapid (weeks)Slow (years)

Taken from this website. http://www.diffen.com/difference/Type_1_Diabetes_vs_Type_2_Diabetes

Here is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's information about the myths of Type 1 Diabetes.
We all know a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes (T1D) is hard on families as they learn to cope with a number of changes in their daily life. While people care, it is all too common for them to ask questions that reflect a lack of knowledge about T1D, such as, "When will she outgrow it?" It can be frustrating to explain the battle that all families face every hour of every day, and that can be compounded by having to deal with people's common misunderstandings and misperceptions, including the widely-held belief that T1D is not a serious disease. Here are some of those myths:

myth: Taking insulin cures diabetes.

fact: Taking insulin keeps people with T1D alive, but does not cure the disease. While progress toward finding a cure has been substantial, there is still no cure for diabetes.

myth: Diabetes is caused by obesity, or eating too much sugar.

fact: While obesity has been identified as one of the "triggers" for type 2 diabetes, it has no relation to the cause of type 1 diabetes. Scientists do not yet know exactly what causes T1D, but they believe that both genetic and environmental factors are involved. Eating too much sugar is not a factor.

myth: With strict adherence to a specific diet and exercise plan, and multiple insulin injections each day based on careful monitoring of blood sugar levels, a person with T1D can easily gain tight control over his or her blood sugar levels.

fact: While the above strategy is the most effective way to achieve and maintain tight control of blood sugar levels, optimal blood sugar control can be very difficult for some patients. Many factors, including stress, hormone changes, periods of growth, and illness can easily cause blood sugars to swing out of control. Teenagers, in particular, may be susceptible to this problem, as their bodies go through many changes during adolescence. Also, some people with type 1 find that even though they strive for tight control and follow their meal plan and insulin schedule, they still experience rapid fluctuations in their blood glucose. Those fluctuations do not mean the person with diabetes has done anything wrong.

myth: People with diabetes should never eat sweets.

 Limiting sweets will help people with T1D keep their blood sugar under control, but, with advice from their doctor or nutritionist, sweets can fit into their meal plan, just as they would for people without diabetes. And there are times when sweets are a must: If the blood sugar level drops too low, sweets (or juice, or soda) can be the surest to raise it, and prevent the onset of hypoglycemia.

myth: People with diabetes can't participate in athletics.

fact: Physical exercise is important for everyone's health, and is especially important for people with diabetes. Regular exercise helps lower blood sugar levels and keep them in the target range. There are countless examples of athletes who have had great success, from Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer Gary Hall to ice hockey great Bobby Clarke.

myth: Only kids get type 1 diabetes.

 Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as "juvenile" or "juvenile onset" diabetes, is often first diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults. However, people may develop T1D at any age.

 Kids don't get type 2 diabetes.

fact: Though type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed in adulthood, increased obesity and other factors have led to a recent "epidemic" of this form of diabetes in young adults and children under 10. Still, most children diagnosed with diabetes get T1D.

 Women with diabetes shouldn't get pregnant.

fact: Thanks to advances in diabetes research, the outlook for pregnant women with diabetes is significantly better today than it was a generation ago. However, diabetic pregnancy requires extra effort and commitment, excellent blood sugar control, and education in all areas of diabetes management.

myth: No matter what you do, a person with diabetes for years will eventually get complications.

 Complications are not inevitable. The mechanisms that cause complications are not yet fully understood, and the extent to which they develop varies from person to person. Tight blood sugar control is the only method demonstrated to reduce the risk of developing complications, but their occurrence remains unpredictable in any individual. Some individuals with T1D may be genetically predisposed to develop complications (one of the critical issues being addressed by JDRF's research).

Here is what I would like you to know about Type 1 diabetes:
- Rocco did nothing to get this disease. I did nothing to give him this disease. 
- Rocco can do everything everyone else can he just has to care for himself sometimes.
- Rocco can eat sugar. He needs insulin to help his body process it. Sometimes, if his blood sugar is low, he needs sugar to survive.
- Rocco can not cure his diabetes. Not with eating healthy or exercising. 
- Rocco's blood sugar can vary between 23 to 523, and has. This doesn't mean I am not taking care of him. 
- Every BODY processes food and physical activity differently. One child's blood sugar will vary significantly from another's. The variation is not always indicative of care given. 
- No two diabetics are alike. Because you know of someone who you think takes "bad" care of their condition, it does not mean Rocco or I do too because he has the same condition.
- Rocco is not a brittle diabetic. In my opinion, brittle has a negative connotation. It seems to indicate he is doing something wrong while he cares for himself. 
- I don't care if you call my kid diabetic. However, some people do. Just ask them if it's ok if you want to call their child that. 
- Feel free to ask me questions about how caring for a diabetic child works.  If you haven't figured it out yet, I am an open book and a nice person. I will not be offended. 
- If you find yourself judging how I care for him. Please, don't do that. As Stephen Covey said, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood". 
- I am afraid of his future complications. So, I am doing everything I can everyday to ensure that I teach him well, so they are minimized. 
-Yes, I worry that one day Zeke may get it too. 
- Yes, I wish Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes were called two different things so they would stop getting confused. 
- Lastly, thank you for reading this blog! Thank you for taking your time to understand what Rocco feels everyday. Thank you for caring about both my guys.  It means the world to me! 

Finally, here is a cool article from Diabetic Care Services.  I especially like the part about Zeke only being at a 5% chance risk of getting diabetes!  They are fraternal twins not identical. 

Come back tomorrow! We're posting "everyday" this month! :) 


Bradley Dunlap said...

Shari, this post is awesome...keep up the good work! This is very informative and is great information for the general person to know.

Unknown said...

DO you know where we can purchase the beautiful heart charm at the top of this post?

Shari said...

Hi Kathleen, here is the website. http://www.angel-ids.com. It is pretty isn't it? Thanks for reading EHL!

Shari said...

Thanks so much Bradley! It is kind of hard to explain, isn't it?:) Thanks for reading EHL!

Stephanie said...

Just found this blog. I'm in the PICU with my 16 month old son who is recovering from diabetic ketoacidosis. We found out he was diabetic about 48 hours ago. I look forward to reading about and learning from you and your family!

Shari said...

Stephanie, I am soooo sorry you are dealing with your son's new diagnosis. The first couple of days/weeks are stunning. I will say prayers that he feels better soon. If you ever want to talk off line please feel free to email me at everydayhighsandlows1@gmail.com. If you want to read about Rocco's diagnosis, just go to the About Us section and click on "then comes another diagnosis". I hope it helps if you are experiencing any of the same feelings I did. Please, keep in touch. I will hope for better days for you and your family. Thanks for letting me know about your son.

Stephanie said...

Thank you! We got home on Tuesday and are just adjusting to all the crazy life changes. :) Jameson is back to his ornery little self. I'm loving the blog. Keep up the great posts!