Wednesday, September 3, 2008

JDRF Walk for the Cure

For the past three years, I've been participating in a walk for Juvenile Diabetes. I'm usually not they type of person who does multiple walks a year or does fundraisers. But this one is a little different. I myself, am a Type 1 (or Juvenile) Diabetic. I feel like it's my personal responsibility to support and raise money for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

A lot of people think that I can't eat sugar or that I'm "too skinny to be Diabetic" Well, there is a difference between the two types of Diabetes:

Type 1--Type 1 Diabetes usually develops due to an autoimmune disorder. This is when the body's immune system behaves inappropriately and starts seeing one of it's own tissues as foreign. In the case of Type 1 Diabetes, the islet cells of the pancreas that produce insulin are seen as the "enemy" by mistake. The body then creates antibodies to fight the "foreign" tissue and destroys the islet cells ability to produce insulin. The lack of sufficient insulin thereby results in diabetes. It is unknown why this autoimmune diabetes develops. Most often it is a genetic tendency. Sometimes it follows a viral infection such as mumps, rubella, cytomegalovirus, measles, influenza, encephalitis, polio or Epstein-Barr virus. Certain people are more genetically prone to this happening although why this occurs is not know. Thus, two people may be infected with the same virus and only one of them who is genetically prone will go on to develop diabetes. Other less common ( very rare) causes of Type 1 Diabetes include injury to the pancreas from toxins, trauma, or after the surgical removal of the majority (or all) of the pancreas.

Type 2-Type 2 Diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. Whereas Type 1 Diabetes was characterized by the onset in young persons (average age at diagnosis = 14), Type 2 Diabetes usually develops in middle age or later. This tendency to develop later in life has given rise to the term "adult onset diabetes". The typical Type 2 Diabetes patient is overweight although there are exceptions. In contrast to Type 1 Diabetes, symptoms often have a more gradual onset. Type 2 Diabetes is associated with insulin resistance rather than the lack of insulin like seen in Type 1 Diabetes. This often is obtained as a hereditary tendency from one's parents. Insulin levels in these patients are usually normal or higher than average but the body's cells are rather sluggish to respond to it. This lack of insulin activity results in higher than normal blood glucose levels.

So there you are. Now you know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2. I didn't get Diabetes because I was over weight or because someone in my family had it. I once read somewhere that the chance of getting Type 1 Diabetes was something like %.008. I guess I fall into that tiny percentage huh?

I was diagnosed when I was 5 years old. My Mother took me into the doctor for my Kindergarten check up. Back in 1985, Diabetes wasn't a disease that you had and did well in life. I was in and out of the hospital a lot as a kid. I went to my first Diabetic summer camp in 1986, where I learned how to give myself shots. To this day, I give my shots the same way I learned how to 22 years ago.

I'm pretty lucky tho with all of the advancements they've made with research. I use a Omnipod for my insulin pump. It's completely cordless. So I don't catch my tubing on doorknobs or have my dogs accidentally rip it out. And have a CGMS (Continuous Glucose Monitoring System) by Dexcom that I love. It is a little wire that is inserted into my side that I wear 24/7 and it gives me a rough estimate of my blood glucose trends.

8% of the 24.2 MILLION Diabetics in America are Type 1. We are few and far between!

So, as I started out, I'm participating in the JDRF Walk for the Cure, in Plano, Texas on Sept. 27, 2008. Here is a link to my personal fundraising page.

Oh and a bonus pic of me, Jovie and Thew at last year's walk. :)