Learning to Live with Type 1 Diabetes

By Nicole Irving, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief
Bottle of insulin

This past May, our oldest son Tyler graduated from high school. This past May, he also hit another milestone. It was his five-year “dia-versary,” the anniversary of the first day of his Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis. And while we didn’t throw a party or blow out candles to celebrate, as I would have rather not welcome this day at all, it is a reminder of how far we have come and how far we are going to go.

Through the years we have managed his diagnosis with as much positivity and grace as we could. We have welcomed faulty devices, climbing insulin prices, a minor “almost emergency” event, educating family and friends on the difference between Type 1 and Type 2, and just about everything in between (insert pandemic and teen hormones here).

The hardest part for me when Tyler was diagnosed was understanding that there was no clear-cut answer to why my son’s pancreas decided to stop producing insulin one random day in 2018, resulting in his Type 1 diagnosis. Researchers still don’t know exactly what causes it. While the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) lists a series of factors that are considered to be linked to acquiring Type 1, such as hereditary conditions, environmental factors and viral infections, there is still not a 100% cause as to why Type 1 happens.

Today, this is still hard to wrap my head around, especially as we hope to protect his two younger brothers from getting it, but no answer exists. I live with the knowledge that this too could affect them at any time. To this day, I live with that fear.

But, as we have grown to understand and accept this hand that Tyler was unfairly dealt, we know sadly that he is not alone. According to the organization Beyond Type 1, 64,000 people are diagnosed with Type 1 each year in the United States. In addition, the disease is unfortunately growing at a rate of 2.9% per year. While one might not be able to prevent the onset of Type 1, education is key. Knowing the signs and symptoms of Type 1 and being able to act fast and get help, is important to saving lives and living a long and happy life.

Today, Tyler is onto the next phase of life as a college student. A college student living with Type 1. And while there are new hurdles and worries for us as parents that come with watching our son grow up and become more independent with this disease, I couldn’t be prouder of how he has accepted his health and continues to educate those around him about Type 1, while living out his dreams and his full potential.

Warning Signs of Type 1 Diabetes:

According to JDRF, T1D is identified in children and adults as they show signs of the following symptoms:

  • Frequent Urination
  • Extreme Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue and Weakness
  • Increased Appetite
  • Unexplained Weight Loss
  • Slow-Healing Cuts

If you or anyone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms, please see your doctor right away! Without proper diagnosis and treatment, Type 1 diabetes can be fatal.

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