August 21, 2012, is a day that I will never forget. It was the day that my 2-year-old son, Lucas, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). I personally have lived with T1D for 28 years, so I knew when the symptoms started showing up: excessive thirst, urination, and irritability. I decided to use my own blood-glucose meter to test Lucas.
When the monitor read “blood sugar too high,” I knew it meant his blood sugar was over 600. Since normal is between 80 and 120, I immediately called my doctor’s office and was transferred to Dr. Howard Zisser, who urged me to rush Lucas to the emergency room. Upon arrival, Lucas started vomiting, an indication of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is life threatening. After a round of blood draws, it was confirmed that Lucas had T1D.
I knew his life would never be the same. T1D is a disease that requires constant management 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Giving too much or too little insulin can result in serious consequences, even death. There’s no taking a break from this disease, as blood sugar is impacted by multiple factors, including food, exercise, and stress. I was devastated for Lucas and, selfishly, also didn’t want to bear constant worry about his health.
In the three years since his diagnosis, Lucas has proved to be resilient, never allowing T1D to stand in his way of loving life. He’s an active boy who loves T-ball, swimming, Legos, Star Wars, and Ninja Turtles. Most importantly, Lucas genuinely loves spending time with others, especially his friends and family.
I remain optimistic for the future of T1D. The steady innovations are extensive and allow T1Ds to have some normalcy in their life. It is my dream that, in Lucas’s lifetime, there will be a cure for T1D. I hope to be alive to see that day.
More than 1,000 advocates for diabetes research will participate in the annual JDRF One Walk when it takes off from Leadbetter Beach on Saturday, October 10. Join or support them by visiting walk.jrdf.org, or support Lucas directly by visiting www2.jdrf.org/goto/TeamLucas.