Thursday, November 06, 2008

Can she have this?

I get asked this question a lot. Its a very valid question. Many people have not had an interaction around a Type 1 diabetic that involved food. And honestly, until I had one in my own family, my knowledge was very limited as well.

The treatment of Type 1 diabetes has changed significantly over the last generation, the last 10 years, and even the last 5, with the introduction of single "24-hour" insulins, fast-acting insulins, and insulin pumps to replace the regimented, scheduled treatments of the previous generations.

For Emma, its all about carbs. She asks me all the time, "How many carbs does this have?" or she tells me herself. Because for a diabetic, its carbohydrates that are converted into sugar. Its the sugar that is poison to her system - IF she doesn't have insulin to counteract it. Its all about the carbs

And in previous generations, diabetics were relegated to eating a certain number of carbs at a certain time to day, to match the action of their insulin. Now Emma can eat any amount she wants at any TIME she wants (or whatever we decide whenever we get around to eating it). Its just a matter of matching her insulin dose to the carbs she eats.

So, it might be grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Or, it might be a McDonalds Happy Meal with Chicken Nuggets and French Fries. Or even a big piece of birthday cake after a couple of greasy pieces of pizza.

Its all ok for her! And we're very thankful for the treatment advances over the past years that have made it possible.

And I'm happy to continue to educate my friends and acquaintances who ask out of genuine concern and love for Emma and a desire to keep her safe and healthy. Yes, its ok if she has that piece of candy, but thanks for asking!

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