World Di­a­betes Day on Novem­ber 14

Seaway News - - OPINION - SHaWNa O’NeIll [email protected]

I still re­mem­ber the mo­ment I found out I have type one di­a­betes when I was 10-year­sold. I was in my liv­ing room play­ing with Bar­bies when my mom ap­peared from up­stairs, phone in hand, hav­ing re­ceived a call from my doc­tor. The next thing I knew my dad hoisted me up in his arms, cry­ing. I started cry­ing too be­cause I didn’t know what was hap­pen­ing to me, but I knew that I was sick.

I re­mem­ber my mom gen­tly ex­plain­ing to me that my life was about to change for­ever and that it would be­come a lit­tle bit harder. She said that I couldn’t have as much sugar any­more. While my mom was in the shower and my dad went to get gas for our trip up to the Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal of East­ern On­tario (CHEO), I thought to my­self ‘This is it, I can never have sugar again.’ I saun­tered over to my fridge, dra­mat­i­cally swung the door open, grabbed a large bot­tle of Dr. Pep­per and sa­vored every glass that I knew I shouldn’t be hav­ing.

For months prior to my di­ag­no­sis, I had been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the tell-tale signs of hy­per­glycemia: ex­ces­sive thirst, ex­ces­sive uri­nat­ing, ex­treme fa­tigue, weight loss, trou­ble con­cen­trat­ing and blurred vi­sion. I was in grade five at the time and I would bring money from my piggy bank to school for ex­tra wa­ter from the vend­ing ma­chine. I would get in trou­ble for ask­ing to go to the wash­room too many times. Hav­ing just fin­ished sixth in Canada in my age cat­e­gory for high­land danc­ing, I sud­denly bar­ley had enough en­ergy to walk on stage; I felt like I was let­ting every­one down.

Type one di­a­betes is an au­toim­mune dis­ease that cur­rently has no cure. In 1922, Cana­dian sci­en­tists Fred­er­ick Bant­ing and Charles Best suc­cess­fully de­vel­oped in­sulin in­jec­tion treat­ments, ul­ti­mately sav­ing the lives of mil­lions. Prior to the use of in­sulin in­jec­tions, type one di­a­bet­ics could live up to two years from di­ag­no­sis through a ‘star­va­tion diet’. Type one di­a­bet­ics rely on the use of in­sulin to sur­vive; I per­son­ally take six in­jec­tions daily. Type one di­a­betes is of­ten con­fused with type two di­a­betes, but type two di­a­betes may be treat­able through diet and ex­er­cise.

Type one di­a­betes presents daily chal­lenges, in­clud­ing mul­ti­ple in­jec­tions and fin­ger pricks, bal­anced rest, diet and ex­er­cise and deal­ing with symp­toms of hy­per­glycemia and hy­po­glycemia. It is es­ti­mated that cur­rently over 300,000 Cana­di­ans live with the dis­ease. I en­cour­age every­one to be aware of the symp­toms, ed­u­cate them­selves and con­trib­ute to or­ga­ni­za­tions fight­ing for a cure and the bet­ter­ment of qual­ity of life. Novem­ber 14 marks World Di­a­betes Day an­nu­ally, hon­our­ing Bant­ing’s birth­day.

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