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I have made a point of trying to build links with fellow d-bloggers. And I’ve got my all-time favourite support forum on my sidebar too.

But something else occurred to me yesterday. I want to tell you about JDRF. Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. A global organisation which funds research of all sorts into type 1 diabetes. And specifically, into a CURE. Yes, a CURE.

This will happen some day. Don’t get me started, because even though the song I’m going to link to here makes me happy, thinking about how badly we all want a cure makes me cry.

If you don’t know JDRF, you need to. It’s much less well known that Diabetes UK, which also helps fund research and support those with diabetes — though Diabetes UK does spread the it out a bit, and take on type 2 diabetes as well. But JDRF is the core stuff. There’s a branch near you. And a central one in your country. 

We give to JDRF. We can’t leave it to someone else to do. We’re all in this together.

Which brings me to my song for today. All These Things that I Have Done, by The Killers. On my new Killers playlist, put on my iPhone by my son. You know, the one with type 1 diabetes. Who still loves his music, his drama, his politics and philosophy. Who is still infinitely kind and good despite everything he goes through. How we long for a cure sometime in his long, long life to come.

In fact, as I type this I can hear him playing the very same song downstairs on the computer. While doing his homework mind you —  but we won’t go there!

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Despite what OH thinks, I do not  spend my whole life over on Diabetes Support. However, as I have said often enough: there are a whole lot of friends there.

The other thing that happens there is a tremendous rush of single-mindedness. By this I mean people get things done.

An astonishing and extremely important case in point is the development of DiDkA – the Diet Drinks Awareness Campaign.

This movement came into being when the last straw floated down upon a forum member’s camel back (sorry Lou, just have to hang with the analogy here!)… She was served full sugar Coke instead of the Diet Coke she’d requested.

For a person with diabetes, this can be an extremely dangerous error. Just to be clear: lots of sugar entering the system without the person knowing means that it is not covered by insulin. Which means it sits and accumulates in the blood. Which means it can put the person in hospital. Within a few hours.

And so it came to light that MANY people on the forum had had exactly this happen to them too, in restaurants and pubs. Some just caught it, and some didn’t, which was, you remember, dangerous.

Diet means diet, folks!

AND while we’re at it, it has emerged that there is only EVER Diet Coke and water for people with diabetes to drink when out and about. What?!

What ever happened to Diet 7up or Sprite, or Diet Dr Pepper? Or diet lemonade, or even sugar free juice drinks?

Again, to be clear: it’s not that people with Type 1 diabetes can’t have sugary drinks. No, that’s not it. They can, as long as they know they are having it, and as long as it is covered by insulin so it doesn’t sit unmetabolised in the blood.

What is difficult for a person to with T1 diabetes to manage though is big ‘hits’ of sugar. Timing the pure sugar going in with the insulin is very difficult. Sugar tends to be very fast; insulin takes some time. So even if a person takes into account having a sugary drink, and injects more insulin for it, it’s often not very successful: there are blood sugar ‘spikes’ as a result, or an unexpected blood sugar low, when the insulin maybe misses the sugar…

And that’s only for Type 1 diabetes. For those with Type 2, it’s if anything even more important to have access to sugar free drinks. Many Type 2’s do not inject, so must try their darndest to control their diabetes through diet — in this case, you can see, a big-time sugary drink is a BAD idea. And more diet drinks would be very welcome.

SO. There’s this campaign. There’s a facebook page, and the campaign ball is rolling. Something needs doing. Awareness needs raising. Mistakes need to stop happening. And people with diabetes need more drinks to choose from, for heaven’s sake!

Please join us in doing something.

Setting sail

In November 2008 my 12 year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The effect of this event on me -- and on our nuclear family -- was like being thrown overboard and watching the ship leave.

'Dealing with type 1' in the family has morphed into another sort of 'dealing' -- a wholesale resituating of parenting, of family dynamics...of life.

At my son's diagnosis I could not to locate a record of what living with a type 1 child in the family is like. I could not see myself or our family anywhere. I longed for a starting point, a resource and a sense of the future. Being a writer, my instinct is to write it. This space, I hope, is a start.

Blood Sugar Ranges (UK)

<4 mmols = low or hypo, life-threatening if untreated
4-8 mmols = within target range
8-13 mmols = high but not usually dangerous
14+ mmols = very high, or hyper, life-threatening if untreated

Bubbles

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Disclaimer

I am not a medical professional. Any view expressed here is my opinion, gleaned from experience, anecdote or available research.