Diabetes Awareness Month with Samson
Speak Now for Kids is celebrating Diabetes Awareness Month in November to raise awareness about diabetes risk factors and encourage people to make healthy changes. This week, we spoke with Sarah about her experience of parenting son, Samson, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
About 30.3 million people in the United States have diabetes — it is one of the leading causes of disability and death. Yet, one in four people with diabetes don’t know they have the disease. Diabetes can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease and other health problems if not controlled. But thankfully, people with diabetes can properly manage the disease by living a healthy lifestyle.
My son, Samson, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (also known as juvenile diabetes) about two weeks before his second birthday, after we had contacted his pediatrician about to his frequent urination and weight loss. Shocked and confused at first, we were blessed to have a wonderfully encouraging team ready to take care of us when we arrived at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. Our endocrinologist, Dr. Grace Dougan, and our diabetes educator, Juliana Hite, gave us lots of support and listened to our questions and concerns. They reassured us repeatedly that Samson would live a healthy and active life, and he does.
While there are many challenges that go along with living with type 1, or raising a child who has type 1, on any given day Samson acts just like any other normal 5-year-old. He rides his bike, negotiates to get his way and loves to climb up on high surfaces to jump off. He also eats his veggies, but definitely enjoys ice cream — it’s a balance.
Insulin injections are required each time Samson eats carbohydrates, so we have to do lots of carb counting. But, to look at the positive, this has certainly made us more aware of what we eat and has helped our whole family eat healthier. We are so thankful for the times that we live in and the advances that have been made medically in terms of type 1. Samson’s Dexcom, a continuous glucose monitor, helps us keep on top of his blood sugar levels by letting us know if he’s high or low and if he’s rising or falling too quickly. In a few years we will put Samson on an insulin pump which will take the place of injections and give him a little more freedom in what and when he eats. The advancements just keep coming and we are eager and hopeful for a cure.
Our family has no history of type 1, so his symptoms did not trigger any concern with us at first. While there are many symptoms of type 1 onset, the most common are: weight loss, extreme thirst, frequent urination, and blurred vision. Many type 1 diabetics find out they have the disease only after they end up in the hospital in a coma or after having a seizure due to hyperglycemia (or high blood sugar).
We rejoice in the fact that God spared us a scary experience such as that, and while we hate it every time we hear of a new type 1 diagnosis, we hope every family receiving this news hears it as painless as we did.