Category Archives: Advocacy and Soap Box Rants

Diabetes Insipidus: It’s the Other Diabeedus

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The semester I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a student of mine started experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia. Anyone with type 1 diabetes knows the symptoms too well: confusion, shakiness, hunger.  One day she stumbled into my office her hands shaking so hard she could barely check her blood sugar with the new meter she had just gotten from the drugstore. But when she did check, her blood sugar was in the 70’s; low enough to make most people feel hungry and perhaps cranky and confused, but not enough to cause the symptoms she was experiencing.

A string of doctor’s appointment and blood tests followed. But despite the obvious and increasingly severe symptoms she exhibited, all of the tests came back normal. Nothing appeared to be wrong with her pancreas.

By the end of the semester, she seemed to have symptoms of high blood sugar too: she was always thirsty and always needed the restroom. Even though she constantly drained and refilled her water bottle, her lips and skin were dry and cracked.

Still, all of the tests that the doctors could think to run indicated that she was perfectly fine. Clearly then, it was just all in her head.

After much research and pushing for an accurate diagnosis, she made a trip to the Mayo Clinic that revealed the true cause of her symptoms–a little known condition called diabetes insipidus. This form of diabetes has nothing to do with the body’s ability to make or use insulin; instead, it’s caused by the inability to make or use another hormone, vassopressin, which controls the body’s ability to concentrate urine. Because diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus are unrelated with the exception of a common symptom–excessive urination–people with the condition avoid putting the word “diabetes” on a medical alert jewelry. This former student and current friend now takes DDAVP, which helps regulate her body’s fluid levels.

You can read more about her insights and her journey to diagnosis at her blog, Diabetes Insipidus: It’s all about water.

 

 

 

 

Let he who is without sin, cast the first hamburger.

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A pair of In-N-Out cheeseburgers.

A pair of In-N-Out cheeseburgers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No one ever judges me because I have diabetes. I’m young. I’m skinny. I have type 1 diabetes, a socially acceptable disease. Because I’m young and skinny, no one judges me when I eat less-than-healthy meals either.

But I’ve noticed that people with type 2 diabetes get judged all the time.

The idea out there is that people with type 2 diabetes brought it on themselves. They’re experiencing the just deserts of one too many desserts, so they don’t deserve sympathy or at least not as much as others. If they would only lose weight, or watch what they eat, or if only they didn’t drink so many sodas or eat so many ice cream sundaes, they wouldn’t be dealing with this disease. Right?

I understand that we do experience the cumulative effects of poor food choices. What I eat does affect the state of my health, so I can cause health problems by choosing to eat unhealthy food on a regular basis. From what I understand, type 2 diabetes isn’t caused by unhealthy food choices, but these choices do play a role in the development and aggravation of the disease.

I also think there are moral implications to our daily food choices. Since I believe that life is precious, I also believe that I am obligated to care for my own life. Part of that obligation includes watching what I eat.

My big, beefy hamburger with this issue of food judgment is that people are so busy judging what’s on someone else’s plate that they don’t notice what’s on their own.

When was the last time you ate a hamburger and fries? When you ate it, were you conscious of the amount of refined carbohydrates and saturated fat you were feeding your body?

Or when was the last time you had a loaded baked potato and bread and a generous dessert portion at the same meal?

Why beholdest thou the french fry that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the Big Mac that is in thine own eye? Or wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull the ice cream cone out thine eye; and, behold, a banana split is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast the unhealthy food off thine own plate; and then thou shalt see clearly to cast the unhealthy food off thy brother’s plate.

Let he who is without junk food cast the first hamburger.

A Rose for a Child

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I sometimes complain about how little money I have. I often complain about how much my diabetes supplies costs. In reality, I know I have more than enough. Some people don’t.

A coalition of diabetes bloggers has come together to create the campaign “Spare a Rose, Save A Child” to raise support for the International Diabetes Federation’s Life for a Child program. The initiative is simple: buy one less rose and give the money you save to Life for a Child. Think about all the costs associated with managing diabetes: the insulin, the test strips, the meter, the lancets, the doctor’s appointments and consider making a small donation this Valentine’s Day. You can learn more about Life for a Child and donate to the program at the International Diabetes Federation website.

 

Be a Blessing

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Sunday, I was frantically getting ready to teach the next day and wondering why schools decided that 8 am was a good time to schedule classes.

Ryan was dying of brain cancer. 

Puts some things in perspective.

I didn’t know Ryan or his wife Meri or their four boys. I have been reading Meri’s blog since this summer, so I’ve gotten a tiny taste of what life with three diabetic boys is like. Yes, you read that right. She has four  boys and three of them have type 1 diabetes.

She’s now a  single mom of four boys, three of whom have type 1 diabetes. I was challenged with this call:

GiveForward: Schuhmacher Family Miracle

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  • Consider the medical bills related to three boys with diabetes.
  • Consider the medical bills related to a courageous battle with cancer.
  • Consider the bills related to daily living – house, electricity, phone, gas, car, etc.
  • Consider just the food bills related to four growing boys!

Ryan was the sole source of income for his family. Please help us support Meri through her financial needs so that she and the boys can focus on what is really important.

As a college student, I don’t have much. But I do have a little, and small things add up. Consider being a blessing for this family in their time of need. I promise you won’t regret it.