Dear Victrola Friends and Family,
Some of you may remember us slinging coffee back behind the bar circa 2000 and some of you are too new to Victrola to have known us. We started and ran Victrola almost 10 years ago and recently sold our first “baby” to the wonderful Dan Ollis. One of the best things about Victrola (besides the best coffee in the world!) is the community that it brings together. We met and befriended so many wonderful people over the years who became and still are very important to us. We want to thank Dan and Victrola for their support and allowing us to make a guest appearance on this blog to talk to you all about something not at all related to coffee and for lighting up some blue at Victrola in honor of World Diabetes Awareness Day on November 14.
November 14, quickly approaching, is World Diabetes Awareness Day. This particular date was chosen as it is the date that marks the birthday of Frederick Banting. Mr. Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin in 1921. Why are we talking to you about the discovery of insulin and Diabetes on the blog of a coffee business? 2 months after we sold Victrola, our 15th month old son Addison was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. We were shocked and heartbroken but had no idea what Type 1 really meant. It meant a couple of shots a day, no sugar or sweets ever,a bland diet and maybe he will grow out of it.. right? Oh so wrong. We spent a week in the hospital learning about Type 1 and how to take care of our son and found out none of those things were true. We found out that we have to give our son 5-8 shots a day(I kept saying to the educator, through my tears, that couldn’t be right!). We have to prick his finger for a blood sample to check his blood sugars up to 10 times a day. We have to check his blood sugar in the middle of the night. Every night. Most likely until he moves out of the house. Low blood sugars can cause seizures, fainting, coma and possible death. High blood sugars can cause acids to build up in the blood resulting in coma and possible death. Long lasting high blood sugars can lead to many, many complications down the road such as heart disease, eye damage, kidney damage, thyroid problems and nerve damage. Celiac disease is also a possibility. Despite all of this, he will lead a “normal” life. He will have diabetes for the rest of his life, unless of course someone out there discovers a cure. Insulin is a lifesaver but, alas, it is not a cure for diabetes.
There are 2 types of Diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. Only about 10 to 15% of the cases of diabetes in the world are Type 1. In the words of the JDRF – Although the causes of type 1 diabetes are not entirely known, scientists believe the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It is not caused by obesity or by eating excessive sugar, which are two common myths about type 1. Both genetics and environmental “triggers” are being studied as potential causes of type 1 diabetes. With Type 1, the pancreas is no longer able produce insulin, the key that unlocks our cells to allow sugar in to be converted to energy. Without insulin in our bodies, we would not survive. SIgns of Type 1 include excessive thirst, excessive urination, extreme hunger, weight loss and lethargy. Many children are not diagnosed until they get very sick and many go into the hospital in a coma. We were very lucky that our pediatric team at the Odessa Brown Clinic was educated about Type 1 and they diagnosed Addison before he got really, really sick. He still spent 2 nights in the ICU with IV’s in both hands and one foot and 5 more days after at Children’s Hospital to get his body back in balance.
Our lives were turned upside down by Addison’s diagnosis. We are always calculating carbs, insulin to carb ratios, correction factors. While Addison can eat anything he wants, certain things are really hard on his body (like refined sugars) and we have to count ALL his carbs at every meal in order to determine how much insulin to give him. It is a delicate balance making sure he has just the right amount of insulin in his body to keep him healthy. We are his pancreas and it is a 24/7 job. One of the most frustrating things about this illness is that most people don’t have any idea what Type 1 is. We have had a medical student ask us to tell her 8 year old son not to eat so much sugar so he won’t get diabetes (eating too much sugar does not cause Type 1!!!), We have had a friend tell her child that Addison has “allergies” just like she does (Type 1 is not an allergy!), we have had people say “Well, he will grow out of that, right?” (no, he won’t ever!). We have read stories about Type 1 children in school who were taunted by their schoolmates for “causing” (not possible) their illness and being “contagious”(also not possible). We have also perpetuated some myths ourselves like by telling our elderly neighbor who brought Addison cookies once that he was diabetic and couldn’t have sugar because explaining Type 1 just seemed too complicated.
So, on this day, this week, this month..we want to dispel some myths and educate our community about this illness. So now, if you ever see someone pricking their finger or giving themselves an injection of insulin in public, you will understand. This might be Type 1. You will know, it was not caused by eating too much sugar or sitting on the couch all day. That insulin is keeping that person alive. Maybe you will visit the JDRF and make a donation to help support those searching for a cure. Maybe you will wear blue, light a blue candle or put some blue lights in your window in honor of this day. Maybe, when you hear someone talking about diabetes you will ask “Do you mean type 1 or 2?”. And just maybe, you too will help dispel the myths about Type 1 . We are looking to you, our Victrola Community, to help us educate others, dispel the myths and support finding a cure. No matter how “normal” a life Addison may lead, it will never really, truly be “normal” as long as he needs insulin to keep him alive. And, the more people who understand the illness, the easier it will be for him to be in the world and the less explaining he (and his parents!) will need to do.
You can follow us and find more information about Type 1 here.
Jen & Chris & Addison (now 2.5)
Founders, Victrola Coffee