This content originally appeared on Beyond Type 1. Republished with permission.
By Jorge A. Aguilar
My mom lives with type 1 diabetes. Do you wonder what that is? Well, type 1 diabetes is a life condition in which you have to be careful in what you eat, your exercise, and you have to have good control of your blood sugar levels and make a balance with the insulin you need. This is because your body destroys the cells that make insulin and then stops making it.
When I Was Little
Since I was born my mom taught me how to help her change her insulin pump and refill it, I would pass her the things she needed and we pretended that I was a health professional. I learned quickly how to inject insulin and she also taught me how to help her in an emergency.
I remember one morning I wanted to show her something in a video game, to which she said, “Yes, I’m coming.” That’s completely normal except for the fact that she sounded weird in some way. I called my dad and it turned out that my mom had hypoglycemia and I had to help her. Fortunately, I acted in time and she sure doesn’t even remember.
Type 1 Diabetes Is Interesting and Sometimes Worrisome
I find it interesting that it is normal for people with diabetes to inject insulin and endure pain from time to time. Even vaccines scare me, they scare the hell out of me.
It is sometimes scary to think that she could have hypoglycemia while sleeping and might not wake up. It’s also scary to be extra careful with what you eat and to avoid eating certain types of food if you want to have everything under a perfect balance. It seems that living with type 1 diabetes is a lot of work.
Know My Risks
I know there is some genetic risk. I understand that this means that at some point in my life I could develop type 1 diabetes although I also understand, from what I read and my mother has told me, that this risk is small. I think whatever it is I would like to know if I have that risk or not to be prepared later in my life.
I think that if I knew if I had antibodies that would one day attack the cells in my body that produce insulin, I could be calm but also very prepared because I would let my parents know if I had any symptoms like the ones my mother usually talks about at work: thirst, really wanting to go to the bathroom, feeling very hungry, and feeling very tired, among others.
Know Your Risks
My mom helped me ask Indigo for his opinion. Indigo’s mother also lives with type 1 diabetes and he told us that he would definitely have this test done because “knowing the risk, he could take action.” He told us that getting tested would help him get ready by asking his mother lots of questions. He confessed that he would pay more attention to the things his mom does and says and that it would definitely not cause him stress because he has seen her taking good care of herself and succeeding. He does not consider this as something complicated as he spends a lot of time watching his mother do all this and other stuff in life.
I think that if it were possible for everyone to take the test they should do it because, on the one hand, it does not affect you at all to take a test, on the other you contribute to science and finally, it is a good way to prepare yourself mentally for what comes in your lifetime. If it comes.
You should take a diabetes antibody test because you may learn that you are likely to develop type 1 diabetes and you may learn to take better care of yourself with or without risk.