Imagine discovering that the reason your one-year-old is leaking through all of her diapers is not because of a diaper manufacturer’s change, but because she has “the bad diabetes”.  Learning that the “bad diabetes” is called type 1 diabetes and your tiny baby will never outgrow this disease.  Discovering that changing her diet will not prevent her from getting multiple shots a day.  Even after staying a whole week at the hospital, the idea of poking her tiny fingers to check her blood sugar or giving her an insulin shot in her small arm is terrifying.  Bringing home your newly labeled “type 1 diabetic” child from the hospital is full of fear.  Just like when she was a new baby, you have no idea how to take care of her and fear you are doing everything wrong.

Imagine hearing about this new continuous glucose monitoring device.  Your now two-year-old child still cannot communicate when her blood sugars are dangerously high or low.  Maybe this device will help keep her alive.  Maybe you will be able to sleep throughout the night without having to do multiple blood sugar tests.  You eagerly request a prescription for this new device and patiently wait for insurance to approve this device.  You are ecstatic when this device arrives until you open the package.  The applicator that inserts the monitor into your daughter’s skin is terrifying and it takes you a whole week to get brave enough to insert her first continuous glucose monitor.

Imagine having your three-year-old child start preschool.  You train each preschool teacher how to take care of your little one, including giving her shots during class.  Your daughter becomes embarrassed getting shots in front of her new friends and asks for an insulin pump, so she can be more discreet about her diabetes.

Imagine your daughter starting kindergarten and wondering if the school is going to kill her.  You wonder how they can possibly watch her blood sugars well enough with twenty-something additional kids in the class. You hope your daughter is not in the office all day getting diabetic assistance vs. learning in class.  You worry about what the other kids will think of your daughter and her diabetes.  Kids can be cruel.

Imagine when your daughter joins a new sports team, dance class, or attends a birthday party.  You have to train each coach, teacher, or parent about type 1 diabetes.  You have to explain that yes she can have the birthday cake, but how you will stay for the party to administer insulin after she eats the cake.  You have to explain to the coaches and dance teachers that exercise can make her blood sugar drop, so you will be close by monitoring her throughout practice or class.  You tell them not to be surprised that at some point you will have to pull your kid out of class or practice to give her candy to keep her blood sugar at a healthy level.

I do not need to imagine this life; since this is the life I live with my now eight-year-old daughter, Julia.  However, I do imagine two futures for my daughter.

In one scenario, I imagine my daughter leaving for college with type 1 diabetes.  After 18 years of waking up my daughter at night when her blood sugar drops too low, I fear she may not hear her alarms telling her to wake up and take care of herself.   I hope she has a wonderful, caring roommate that can help her when she can’t help herself.

I imagine my daughter turning 25-years-old.  Since she is no longer on my medical insurance, I hope she has a job with good insurance.  The cost of insulin alone could bankrupt her if she doesn’t have insurance.

I imagine my daughter pregnant with her first child knowing type 1 diabetes makes her pregnancy higher risk.

The other scenario is what I really, really hope for, which is a cure for type 1 diabetes. I imagine my daughter saying “I used to have type 1 diabetes and I am so glad I no longer have it.”  Only by financially supporting JDRF’s research efforts can this become a reality.  Will you please help?

-Lia Benn, Julia’s mom

Journey for T1D – Holiday Auction

You can help further the JDRF mission by participating in the Journey for T1D – Holiday Auction. Full of items perfect for entertaining, gift-giving, and spreading holiday cheer the Journey for T1D – Holiday Auction will offer creative and unique holiday giving auction packages. You will also be able to donate directly to research through Fund A Cure. Journey for T1D – Holiday Auction will take place November 9-13. Click the link here and register today!

Journey for T1D – Auction Catalog 

Take a peek through the Holiday Auction Catalog to preview some of the incredible items featured during the Journey for T1D – Holiday Auction. More items will be available for bidding during the Holiday Auction running November 9-13 so be sure to register today! Click the image below to flip through the Holiday Auction Catalog.