Monday, November 26, 2007

Why "more than a statistic"?

The one thing I’ve been able to do since 05 April 2005 (the date of Sáin’s diagnosis) is rattle off stats about diabetes. I could tell you that every 10 seconds someone dies of diabetes complications, that everyday more than 40 kids in the US are diagnosed with this disease and that 80% of type 1 diabetics experience some diabetic retinopathy within 10 years of diagnosis.

In many ways the statistics are a shield I hide behind. Statistics can be powerful but they are anonymous. A stat can never tell you what it’s like to be a kid with a chronic disease or what it’s like seeing your child lying scared in the emergency room with IVs covering both her 5 year old arms.

Diabetes forced me to move beyond the statistics and to recognize the face behind them. Sáin is not just a stat, she is my daughter. She’s a big sister, a second grader, a proud Canadian and a math wiz. Sáin is so much more than a statistic and I hope, through this blog, you can see a little clearer what life is like for an 8 year old (and her family) living with Type 1 Diabetes.

Here are a few statistics that really do matter to us… Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. Sáin did nothing to deserve it and, as of yet, there is no cure. Aidan and I both have the gene that has been linked to diabetes so it could strike either of us at any time (or not at all.) Insulin is not a cure; it’s merely life support.

In less than 1000 days, Sáin has had:

over 8500 finger pokes

74 vials of insulin

over 4250 injections

12 visits to the endocrinology clinic at Children’s Hospital

33 days missed from school

4 social work appointments

6 nutrition classes

6 complete lab work-ups

8 research appointments

2 ER visits

2 mandatory flu shots

1 pneumonia shot

3 beat the bridge walks

2 retinal scans

1 test for nerve damage in her feet

(To see more of our life check out our Flickr page. I will be adding more pictures soon.)

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