The weekend was a complete success in every area possible. My parents made it safely to town, we had some great quality time with each other and with my husband's family. One of my oldest and dearest friends surprised me (SHE is not old, but our friendship is... as in, since 6th grade) and showed up for the big fundraising weekend. I am hardly ever surprised so it was really fun for her to show up on my street on Saturday morning. The surprise was pulled off largely due to the fact that my surprise planning husband forgot completely that she was coming, so he wasn't tempted to let anything slip. We ate yummy food. We shopped. We talked. We laughed. We got dressed up. We had a fabulous time.
The Gala itself went off without a hitch and raised buckets of money for a great and, to some, unknown cause. I say unknown because I really think that most people don't believe/know there is anything they can do for people with Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 is not caused by a poor diet. It can not be fixed with a better diet. No, my child did not "get it" because I "fed her sugary cereals".... I know a mom who actually had to field that comment when her daughter was diagnosed. To put it in terms that I understood as a "beginner": Type 1 Diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes) is an "autoimmune destruction of insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas..... it is fatal unless treated with insulin.".... taken from wikipedia. The beta cells make insulin and the insulin breaks down and distributes carbohydrates. If your body can't actually use the carbohydrates they won't give you the energy you need and you will just burn up your muscle and your body will create acid because of this. The acid will get into your blood stream and make your body very angry and poorly functioning. When my Bug was diagnosed she was at this point, it's called Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). The next step after that is coma. After coma, death or something close. All that to say.... Type 1 is insulin dependent. Type 2 is not, and can be controlled with diet and oral medication. They are very different conditions and in order to find a cure for Type 1 it is important that people understand the fact that we can't "fix" these babies/kids/adults with a healthy granola bar and egg whites, we need funding to explore the options that science will present for us.
Ok. I'm getting off of my soap box now to tell you about the amazing people my husband and I are able to surround ourselves with. There were three tables full of our friends and family. We had invited them all as a way to say thank you for supporting us and loving us.... have a fun night out "on us". We were truly blown away and brought to tears by the generosity and support of everyone there. Whether it was a hug, encouragement, or $87.25 and beyond we now feel ready and willing to tackle the medical challenges ahead. After the night of auction items "won" or lost, tearful video, dinner and dancing we hung up our fancy clothes and to quote a friend, went "back to being mommy" I'll leave you with a few quoted items from the JDRF blog about a couple of recent research strides being made. Just as a bit of encouragement to those of you that spent your tax refund this weekend in the name of JDRF research.... they are getting closer and closer every day. Every penny is helping a cure become a bigger reality to families like ours all over the world. Thank you thank you thank you.... you know who you are. *tears again just thinking about that night*
*Excerpts taken from Juvenation; JDRF news blog.... there are big words and even I had to read it 5 times over to understand.... so if you read it and are confused... just know that they are learning more and more about what they need to do to make the body regenerate beta cells and start making insulin on their own... they have only been able to experiment on mice thus far:
"JDRF-funded researchers in Israel found for the first time that a high rate of glucose metabolism - the process in which glucose is converted into energy - prompts existing insulin-producing beta cells to form new beta cells in mice. Published in the April 6 issue of Cell Metabolism, the breakthrough findings give us a new understanding of what actually elicits beta cell regeneration. Regeneration lies not in blood glucose itself, suggests the study, but in the glucose-sensing capability of the beta cell.
So, what does this mean for people with type 1 diabetes? Since glucokinase, rather than glucose itself, was found to be a key factor, the study implies that drugs which activate this enzyme may be more useful in prompting beta cells to regenerate than therapies that raise glucose levels. Elevated glucose levels can lead to complications such as organ damage and can even destroy more beta cells, so the possibility of using therapies that avoid this is excellent news."...*take home point: "excellent news"
*the other exciting thing to us is the development of the Artificial Pancreas, also taken from Juvenation:
"The goal of the project is to develop a closed-loop system to automatically regulate blood sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes. Ideally, an artificial pancreas system will not only monitor blood sugar and dispense insulin, but also perform other functions, such as dispensing glucagon, similar to that of a pancreas in a person without diabetes. (*another piece of equipment but a HUGE step in the right direction)
If you are still reading and made it through all of that... well done. Your blood sugar is probably low now, so treat yourself to a little snack.