METERS founder Lindsay Moreland is a mother who raised a son with the childhood disease. She found it to be a very lonely disease because most everyone thinks it is the same as Type 2.
“It is nothing like Type 2,” she said.
Moreland said most people think the kids are overweight or eat too much sugar but it is an autoimmune disease causing the body to turn against itself.
“When your child is first diagnosed, it is very scary,” she said. “They have a three-day stay in T.C. Thompson’s Children Hospital. You’re learning as family members, how to give your child a shot in the stomach, how to give your child a shot in the leg, how to measure insulin, how to stick fingers (for blood-sugar measurements), how to count carbs and how to educate teachers.”
People with normal functioning pancreases produce insulin. These children, she said, have no insulin. They are constantly injecting themselves every day. It is easy for sugar to drop and/or elevate.
“There are times when they will go really low, and that’s scary because you are trying to rub cake gel or icing on their gums to get them to be coherent,” she said. “There are times when they go really high and they become very combative, very agitated, very angry — and it’s a constant roller coaster.”
Parents of toddlers or 20-year-old young men like Moreland all have the same fears.
“You still wake your child in the middle of the night to make sure he or she hasn’t lapsed into a coma,” she said. “But, there is nothing they can’t do.”
For example, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has Type 1 diabetes. The disease is manageable. It’s doable, but every day is not the same.
“If they are excited, adrenaline will make their blood sugar go from 100 to 600 — it’s just a roller coaster,” she said.
Moreland said the one common factor among all of the mothers in METERS is they are sad and scared.
“A lot of Type 2 diabetes in adults is self-imposed, but with these children, that was just taken out of their hands and it’s a huge, mammoth disease for a child.”
A rummage/bake sale is planned for Saturday at 4400 North Ocoee St. beginning at 7 a.m. All proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. For more information, please contact Moreland at 423-650-2752.