Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Chloe's pancreas does not produce insulin and it never will (unless there is a cure!). This disease cannot be reversed or fixed, and while there is great hope for a cure, the time frame is totally unknown. Type 1 Diabetes is not a result of poor diet or any kind of lifestyle choices and it does not get better and cannot be outgrown; it is a lifelong autoimmune disease.
There are many side effects to this disease, short and long term. The scariest of these is the constant threat of death. If Chloe's blood sugar plummets without her knowing or being able to alert someone she can have a seizure or worse. One scary challenge is controlling blood sugars overnight. Low blood sugar is dangerous in the short term and especially can go unnoticed overnight, leading to seizures, coma or death. There are long term effects of having high blood sugar as well. If blood sugars are high, diabetics can get something called Ketones. If the right amount of insulin isn't administered Ketones can lead to Ketoacidosis, which is a killer. It can cause loss of eyesight, nerve damage, heart attack, stroke, amputation and death.
A Diabetic Alert Dog would be trained to alert us when blood sugars are rising and falling. These dogs are more accurate and dependable than any technology on the market. They can sense low and high blood sugars anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes before any symptoms or before a Blood Glucose Monitor can even register the change!
We don't dwell a lot on the threat to Chloe's life. Instead we do our best, which is pretty darn good, and enjoy the amazing time we have together while we have it. However, it is a constant fear. I don't think Chloe, her twin brother Max, or I ever really sleep the way we need to. I am in and out of their room testing her at night and it often wakes them up. Chloe's family at her Dad's house are vigilant too, and also worry constantly while trying to lead healthy and happy lives together.
We are all dog people too! We love all animals, but maybe dogs especially. Well, and horses and chickens too.... We understand the care and responsibility necessary to add another member to your family in this way. Please consider making a donation in any amount so we can get started training with a Certified Diabetic Alert Dog. It will take about two years, and then Chloe will have this amazing buddy by her side through high school. Thank you!
- Ric Widenor
- ginette moorhead
- Kathryn Jill Johnson
- Bethany Kwan
- Ric Widenor
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