Posts Tagged ‘Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’

Based on some of my earlier posts or tweets on Twitter, you may have surmised I have some personal connection to diabetes.  I revealed some information in an earlier post, Looking forward to the artificial pancreas .  So I thought I would take a moment to share some more information with you.

My grandfather, who is deceased now, had diabetes.  His perspective of diabetes was very different from how it is today.  In the 60’s insulin was the main treatment for diabetes and urine test strips had just been invented.  The single use syringe was introduced in 1961.  Prior to that diabetics had to use glass syringes, which had large needles and had to go through a  sterilization process each time it was used.  The first portable glucose meter was created in 1969.  The way my grandfather had to manage his diabetes is entirely different that how it is done today.

As a child I knew my grandfather had diabetes.  I also knew that he restricted his diet from sugar products or that is how it was perceived by me.  I don’t recall other dietary restrictions.  I know he was insulin dependant.  I don’t know how old he was when he was diagnosed, and I never saw any evidence of his diabetes.  No testing.  No shots.  They may have been happening; I just didn’t know anything about them.  I did know that at Thanksgiving my grandmother made him a sugar-free pumpkin pie.

My mother was diagnosed with diabetes in her late 30’s. She has type 2 diabetes.  She started her treatment with medication and dietary adjustments.  Later she was put on insulin.  She has always struggled with her diabetes.  Testing and taking insulin shots has been a normal part of her life. 

My father has type 1 diabetes.  He was diagnosed in his 60’s.  Initially they treated him as if he had type 2 diabetes.  At that time, type 1 diabetes was considered a disorder only for children.  After battling to control his blood sugar levels for a while, his doctor finally did a test and it was determined he had type 1 diabetes.  He was immediately put on insulin. 

As a side note, my parents had a dog who became diabetic, which was late in his life, and he was insulin dependant.  At one point my mother, my father and the dog all took injections of insulin.

So, with this type of family history I was waiting for the day when I would be diagnosed with diabetes.  Two years ago my doctor said I had pre-diabetes.  I was introduced to testing my blood and adjusting my diet.  Then in July of this year, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  Obviously, I am monitoring my blood, adjusting my diet, and taking metformin. 

Even though I knew it was coming, this diagnosis caused a big revelation for me.  I realized I needed to make some major changes in my life. Memories of my parents dealing with the disease flashed before me.  I also recollected the situation of one of my uncles with his diabetes.  Eventually, he had become partially blind and ended up on dialysis because his kidneys failed. 

More importantly, I thought about my son.  What if something happened to me and I was not able to help him?  He has numerous health issues including:  epilepsy, Tourette syndrome, an anxiety disorder, sensory integration syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, and non-epileptic seizures.  In addition to all of this he has learning disabilities.  His life is not easy, and I wanted to make sure I would be here to support him into his adulthood, if need be.

So I took my diagnosis very seriously.  I test my glucose levels religiously.  I also drastically changed my diet.  I started an exercise routine. As of now I have lost 35 pounds.  Hopefully I can keep this momentum up.

To be continued . . .

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is in partnership with Animas and are developing an artificial pancreas, which is fully automated system to dispense insulin to people with diabetes based on real-time changes in blood sugar levels.  It would be the most revolutionary advancements in treating type 1 diabetes.  

“If successful, the development of this first-generation system would begin the process of automating how people with diabetes manage their blood sugar,” said JDRF President and CEO Alan Lewis.

This system could drastically improve the quality of life for the three million people in the U.S. with type 1 diabetes.  It would free kids and adults from testing, calculating, and treating themselves throughout the day and night.

The continuous glucose monitor would be partially automated by using an insulin pump which would be wirelessly connected to the monitor.  The monitor would test glucose levels through a sensor.  The sensor would send the results of the test to the insulin pump, which would then administer insulin to the individual.  With a system such as this it would help prevent hypoglycemia and extreme hyperglycemia, both of which are very scary circumstances for an individual with diabetes.

JDRF is designating $8 million in funding for this project.  Their goal is to have the first generation version of this within four years. 

The possibility of eliminating the high or low blood sugar problems that send people with diabetes to the hospital could make living with diabetes less difficult.  By having better control of the glucose levels would lower the key risk for developing the associated long-term complications of diabetes, including eye disease, kidney disease, nerve disease, or cardiovascular disease.

My son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in August.  He has been hearing about the possibility of an artificial pancreas and has declared he wants one right away.  Even though he was just diagnosed with diabetes, he is frustrated with how this disease has completely changed his life and it has not been a positive change.  He hates it always being present and needing to be attended to at all times.  He hates testing his blood glucose.  He hates taking the shots of insulin.  Hopefully he will have the opportunity to have his wish come true. 

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.  Please help JDRF to develop the artificial pancreas.  Just by giving a donation, you are giving my son his life back.

What You Can Do

Register and Spread the Word
When it comes to fighting type 1 diabetes, there is strength in numbers.  We are all working together to build bonds-bonds among those personally affected by type 1 diabetes, as well as with our Members of Congress.  These relationships strengthen our community, provide support for those who are living with type 1 diabetes, and deliver our message–the need for a cure–faster and more effectively. 

You can help us build critical bonds and achieve our goals by doing two important things today:

  • Register as a JDRF Advocate by clicking here or by texting ‘ACTION’ to 37420.
  • Spread the Word  to your family, friends, neighbors, and others you know who are affected by type 1 diabetes.  The more people who are involved in supporting funding for type 1 diabetes research, the more powerful JDRF’s voice will become.  Learn how you can turn your efforts in recruiting new advocates into bronze, silver, or gold.
  • Attend a Conversations for a Cure event near you! 

Thank you for becoming a JDRF Advocate.  Your time is the most important contribution you can make.

Social NetworkingJDRF Advocacy has built a following on Facebook and Twitter.  Click on the badges below to become a part of our online community.  We use our social networking presence to keep everyone updated on important issues, get your feedback, answer questions, celebrate our successes, and highlight the amazing work of our Advocates.


You can also sign-up to receive JDRF Advocacy updates via text message.  Click here to learn more about our mobile program or text ‘ACTION’ to 37420 to get started.  If you’re new to the Advocacy program, texting ‘ACTION’ will add you to our list.  If you’re an existing Advocate, it will add your mobile number to our list. 

Our Mobile Advocacy Page also includes widgets you can use to spread the word in your favorite social networks.

Take ActionJDRF has built a nationwide network of Advocates who are dedicated to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.  JDRF Advocates work together to build bonds with other advocates in their local communities and with their Members of Congress to help move our cause forward faster. 

As a JDRF Advocate, your personal story takes on added impact when you join forces with thousands of other Advocates across the country.

You can become an Advocate by registering today if you haven’t already done so.  Once you’ve registered, there are several ways you can take action to help move the search for a cure forward:

For additional tips and resources, visit our Advocate Resource Page.

* The information provided on this post is from JDRF