Here in South Texas, diabetes is a problem. But the kind of diabetes we talk about most is type-2 diabetes, which for many can be reversed.
However, those with type-1 must go through life knowing they'll have that disease forever. We talked to one family, whose 2-year-old boy has type-1, about their struggle in trying to get people to understand the difference between type-1 and type-2.
Ivan, 2, takes many insulin shots daily. Tuesday marks one year since his parents were told he had type-1 diabetes, Ivan's "diaversary."
"We immediately thought we had given him too much sugar but, at the same time, knowing how active and how many vegetables he had eaten, we did all the parenting things right," said Ivan's parents, Richard and Christina James.
They got him to the hospital just in time.
"Once they got him hooked up to the IVs, they then told us if we had waited one more day, he would have been gone," Richard recalled.
Unlike type-2 diabetes, there's no way to get rid of type-1.
"Type one diabetes is an autoimmune disease and it lasts a lifetime," Christina noted.
And the costs add up. Ivan's Dexcom glucose monitor, along with the transmitter and sensors, costs thousands of dollars a year that the family's insurance, at this point, doesn't cover because they say it isn't necessary.
Ivan's parents could prick his finger every couple of hours, but they don't want to put a two-year-old through that, so Christina's grandparents decided not to retire to help out.
"They came to us and decided they were going to continue to stay on the road as truck drivers so they can pay for Ivan's monthly medical devices," Richard said.
"My family actually put the money together and gave us a card on Christmas saying Ivan's Dexcom will be here soon," Christina recalled.
Not only do his parents struggle trying to keep his blood sugar levels just right throughout the day, but they also struggle helping people understand the difference between type two and type one diabetes.
"Comparing type one and type two diabetes is like comparing apples and oranges, but the thing is most people don't even know there is a difference," Christina explained.
It has nothing to do with excessive eating, being overweight or lack of exercise. Its all about family history and genetics. Things you can not control.
"Don't assume it's something someone brought upon themselves," Richard said. We did not do this to our one and a half-year-old baby."
Now, they want to spread awareness of type-1 and its vast difference from type-2.
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