Laura's Story: National Diabetes Awareness Month

Nov 20, 2023 12:06:00 PM About Blue Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Posted By: Laura Stewart

Various medical supplies used for those with diabetes | November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

In January 1971, shortly after my 8th birthday, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and spent two weeks in the hospital learning how to give myself multiple daily insulin injections by practicing on oranges.

I learned how to check my blood sugar and how to recognize the various, and sometimes scary, symptoms of a low blood sugar. I learned how this disease affects not only me, but my entire family. I also saw my father, with fear in his eyes, cry for the very first time.

My younger brother ran away during those two weeks because he felt our parents were spending much more time with me. He packed up his Legos, two pair of underwear and walked to his best friend’s house at the end of our street when he decided that was far enough! He was back home that evening when he watched our mother return from the hospital where she’d been staying with me. Mom and Dad got the nursing staff to sneak him up to my room and closed off the hallway so we could have wheelchair races! With wide eyes he saw all of it - the syringes, IVs, medications, etc. and quickly understood that he hadn’t been abandoned but that my diabetes was something bigger than he was and it was affecting our entire family… and it was never going away.

Diabetes, whether it’s Type 1, 2 or Gestational, is a life altering disease. I would encourage everyone to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of the disease and to be understanding. People with diabetes are sometimes unaware of their blood sugar level, which may cause irrational behavior, or even coma. Those of us who have had the disease for many years may no longer exhibit signs, until it’s too late. If you need immediate assistance, call 9-1-1.

Remember, Type 1 Diabetes:

IS NOT the same as Type 2 Diabetes.

IS NOT caused by eating too much sugar.

IS an autoimmune disease that attacks the pancreas.

IS a 24/7 disease that CAN be escalated by foods, hormones, and stress.

DOES NOT discriminate and affects people of all ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities.

CAN cause other health problems such as heart disease, nerve damage, eye and kidney disease.

CAN be controlled with insulin.

CANNOT be cured through lifestyle changes and exercise.

SHOULD NOT be ignored.

About National Diabetes Awareness Month

In November, people across the globe come together to shine a spotlight on National Diabetes Awareness Month, a significant event that raises awareness about a disease that affects millions of lives.

To learn more about how you can help fight to end diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association

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