Type 1 diabetes: A letter to the Garza’s who raise awareness.
“Type 1 diabetes affects everyone in the family, not just the diabetic. Spouses, siblings, parents, grandparents, even the family pet. The anxiety and fear, if you are type 1 or caring for someone with type 1, is overwhelming and often not spoken of.”
—Christina Costa Fuller
Dear Garza family,
First, I hope you are doing well and that you all continue to be strong because you do inspire on so many levels as a family as well as the trials you face.
Further, thank you for spreading awareness, unknowing mothers might see a post and recognize the symptoms.
The internet is vast and there’s no doubt, you spread awareness in reality, so, thank you.
When looking at pictures of your son, I see a strong, brave young man. I think about the kind of friend you were to me and I knew josh slightly, both of you have amazing personalities.
Recently, you shared a post about it being Victor’s 2-year anniversary:
“2-years ago today our lives were flipped upside down. I’ve told the story a bunch of times so I’ll spare everyone the repetition of it, for now. Lol I know I’ve also mentioned many times how hard of a journey it really has been for us.
From dealing with the high and low blood sugars all day and night to jumping out of bed because you have that pit feeling in your stomach that your kid might not be breathing this time.
And It can happen. They can literally just die in their sleep. Type 1 diabetes has been a ruthless beast LET ME TELL YOU.
Diabeast, as many like to call it. I don’t post everything but rest assured that we’ve been to the hospital with Victor several times since diagnosis and this is only the beginning.
Come what may I know God is gonna get us through it, like he already has these last 2 years. I’ll admit, when we walked out of that hospital for the first time 2 years ago, I was TERRIFIED.
I could not picture us, let alone myself, getting this far and handling it the way we have been. And I am so, so beyond proud of Victor! He’s been handling it like a true BOSS!
And a lot of the times he’s had to remind me to be strong! Like I told him this morning, diabetes has really shaped him into the person he is today and the person he is becoming.
Victor is gonna change the world as a diabetic! So today, I am so, SO incredibly thankful that diabetes didn’t win and it NEVER will. 💙💪🏼
2yeardiaversary #typeonestrong #victorstrong”
And throughout those two years, Victor has been a positive voice in the community.
Therefore, I can only assume you have taught your children to be even better of a person in this world, that way… when we do leave it, we left it better than we found it.
And I just want to say, I’m proud of you and your complete beautiful family.
Because of you, I’ve been able to spotlight different charities and organizations.
I mean, my estranged father has type 2 but for some strange reason, type 1 diabetes didn’t cross my mind… that’s why it’s important to always be a voice.
I won’t spare people the details because you’ve been a voice and now it’s my turn.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the system attacks it and destroys the cells that produce insulin.
Further, kids and teens with type 1 diabetes are at risk for other autoimmune problems, but these aren’t actually caused by diabetes…
With that in mind, people underestimate that any autoimmune disease including type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, etc have to face secondary problems.
Your brave young man faces fevers, fatigue, rashes, achiness, weight loss, concentration issues, insomnia, and even abdominal pain.
The worst part of having an autoimmune disease is the fact that it’s invisible.
Unfortunately, then people attempt to sell you “cure-alls,” and it really pisses (at least me) off.
BY TALKING, YOUR RAISING AWARENESS
You use your platform to teach and raise awareness, and you stay as strong as any mom, father and family can be facing the circumstances of type 1 diabetes.
“Type 1 diabetes is for life, type 2 diabetes is a lot more manageable and can go into remission with good lifestyle changes. “
With that in mind, type 1 diabetes does not go into remission and having low blood sugar levels are instantly an immediate threat to the health of those like Victor who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes…
Your brave Victor faces a “new normal,” as I call it and every day he does his best to spread awareness, he’s a true celebrity.
I have to say, he’s already changing the world, just because it’s not on a billboard or on stage, doesn’t matter.
As mentioned, I knew nothing about your son’s disease until I researched it because you spoke.
And, you are a mother with a voice that speaks up because it means so much to you, it’s close to your heart and your selfless, loving and kind.
Truthfully, I feel as though type 1 diabetes can be scary, overwhelming at times, confusing, and even cause you to feel extremely sad and angry.
And certainly, those who face these problems go through a grieving process.
Garza’s, you are the ones in this world who continue to raise awareness and change lives.
Every day that your son wakes up and goes to school, he gets to teach other peers about type 1 diabetes.
This time in life is so fragile and it wakes you up to be thankful for the little things, literally… I’m thankful when I have a good stomach day.
PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES
How would I be able to prick my finger every day, especially in front of people at school…
Then, the shots, those are horrible and something I can relate to with Crohn’s but my shots aren’t every single day, they are bi-weekly.
With that in mind, I’m going to be doing my first manual shot for Crohn’s in April.
Gosh, then there is the counting carbs, and staying healthy in order to avoid malnutrition.
THE 12 SPOON THEORY
“The Spoon Theory”, a personal story by Christine Miserandino, is popular among many people dealing with chronic illness. It describes perfectly this idea of limited energy, using “spoons” as a unit of energy.“
To those who don’t know about the spoon theory, it’s incredibly helpful.
Presently, it has been a lifesaver on the Crohn’s side of the world.
In addition, wouldn’t it be fun with a whiteboard, the whole family could try it out if you haven’t yet.
FACTS ABOUT TYPE 1 DIABETES
- In type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t produce insulin.
- In type 2 diabetes, your body produces insulin, but it doesn’t work properly.
- Because of their different causes, the treatment plans for type 1 and type 2 diabetes are also slightly different.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF LOW BLOOD SUGAR?
People who take insulin may have times when their blood sugar level is too low. This low blood sugar is called hypoglycemia. It can show up in any of the following ways:
- Feeling tired for no reason
- Yawning a lot
- Being unable to speak or think clearly
- Losing muscle coordination
- Suddenly feeling like you’re going to pass out
- Becoming very pale
HOW DO PEOPLE WITH TYPE 1 PREVENT COMPLICATIONS?
- Keep your blood pressure below 130/85 mm Hg (and lower if you have kidney disease).
- Keep your cholesterol level under 200 mg.
- Take one aspirin a day.
- Take care of your feet and check them every day for signs of infection.
- See an eye doctor every year to check your vision.
- See your dentist twice a year to check your teeth and gums.
“It’s insulin or death. No pills, no diet, no exercise will make it go away.”
—Kelly Connelly Enriquez
Admittedly, Kelly’s quote is quite blunt but it is the truth. And the only way a cure will be found is by speaking up bluntly.
Equally important, don’t be the person who starts judging a person’s food decisions (with Crohn’s disease it drives people crazy).
For example, Sue Langdon has a fitting quote.
“Over the years, the one thing that really annoys me is when people ask ‘should you be eating that.’ If someone with diabetes is eating something, you can be sure they know what they are doing.” —Sue Langdon
They have done more research on type 1 diabetes than providers currently going to school, therefore, they know their disease and body, not you.
“Appearance does not show that every week [a person with diabetes] has to endure an average of 42 injections of insulin and an average of 56 fingers pricks. This is not optional because not doing so would be fatal.”
Regardless, life still goes on like the water flowing through a stream, rapid, and sometimes steady, but it’s not an easy swim.
As mentioned, there are a lot of secondary issues those with autoimmune diseases fight hard.
Sadly, we weren’t given a choice… but we do have the choice to fight, and teach others who might have been just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
As has been noted, Victor has spent time learning how to manage his disease with the help of his loving parents, siblings, and provider.
They are the perfect example of what it takes to manage a disease and still raise awareness.
That takes strength.
This letter, not only to my friend but to anyone seeking advice about type 1 diabetes, you got this and your far strong than you can imagine.
The days come and go, but, you’re going to be okay, your disease doesn’t define you.
In fact, you have a disease it doesn’t have you. And Positive Celeb is incredibly proud of the Garza’s, they deserve the absolute best, don’t you agree?
I mean… it takes an army and strength to battle any autoimmune disorder.
From heart to heart, thinking about school and our growth, you have been one person (and family) who stands out among the rest because of your voice.
Please, never stop using it because your saving lives simply by sharing your story.
Thank you for being a positive influence and for teaching me about another autoimmune disease, it helps me face mine as well as teach others.
To the families out there looking for support, don’t be afraid to talk to a friend, a provider, your parents, and if you feel like you are having a hard time mentally, there is nothing wrong with you, you are strong and you will get through what you are facing.
Positive Celeb asked Ana Garza what she feels people don’t understand about type 1 diabetes.
She opened up about the seriousness of type 1 diabetes and how difficult it is to watch her son go through the process daily.