It is a common misconception that type 1 diabetes is a juvenile disease. In fact, a diagnosis can come at any age. According to the National Library of Medicine in 2021, recent epidemiological data have shown that more than half of all new cases of type 1 diabetes occur in adults.
When Pam received her surprise diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in her 40s, she immediately took action. As an event planner, her natural response was to learn everything she could about the disease and create a comprehensive Plan of Action. With unwavering determination, she meticulously kept logs and spreadsheets of her diet, blood sugar levels, and insulin usage. However, she soon realized that diabetes is an unpredictable condition. Even when she ate the same things for four days straight, her blood sugar levels remained inconsistent. She worked hard to meet her goals, but sometimes found it infeasible. This disease has brought unexpected changes to her life. She has lost some of her spontaneity, now needing to carry diabetes supplies and snacks wherever she goes. Additionally, she has learned to accept that despite her best efforts, there will be moments that don't go according to plan due to various factors such as stress, weather, and activity levels. As a result, Pam is excited to be accepted as a candidate for an Early Alert Canines (EAC) Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD). She looks forward to meeting her canine partner and embarking on this new journey to further improve her diabetes management.
As an adult diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Pam has taken a strategic approach to her health and well-being. She utilizes current medical technology, regularly consults with her healthcare team, and diligently keeps logs and spreadsheets when needed. However, she recognizes that additional support is necessary, particularly because she is hypoglycemic-unaware and doesn't experience symptoms of low blood sugar or doesn't recognize them early. Motivated by this realization, Pam applied to EAC. Mentally prepared for the commitment and work required for a successful partnership, she eagerly awaits the opportunity to have a DAD by her side. Pam believes that this canine helper will greatly enhance her overall diabetes management, alleviate her fear of technology failure, and enable her to enjoy solo hikes without worry. She views it as a reminder that there are still paths to explore despite living with a disability. Anticipating a pairing with an EAC DAD in 2024, Pam keenly feels a mix of excitement and nervousness as she embarks on this new path, eagerly looking forward to the experiences and adventures ahead.
Pam wishes the general public had more understanding about diabetes. Firstly, she hopes people can differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Secondly, she encourages others to ask questions rather than assuming they know how to manage type 1 diabetes. Finally, Pam wants people to be aware that insulin-dependent diabetes requires 24/7 management and cannot be disregarded. She highlights the importance of all aids, including diabetic alert dogs, in making this management more tolerable and essential for overall well-being.
After extensively researching diabetic alert dogs for nearly five years, Pam chose to apply to Early Alert Canines due to their passion, understanding of insulin-dependent diabetics' needs, nationwide accessibility, and remarkable support for applicants. Relying on volunteers and community partnerships, EAC provides a cost-effective and meaningful experience for everyone involved. Looking forward to meeting her DAD, Pam anticipates that it will be a life-altering experience. This journey towards improved health, boosted confidence, and normalizing the importance of service animals in her town and workplace has already begun. However, it will become even more significant once she is paired with her DAD. She emphasizes that financial and volunteer support is crucial for EAC to continue their meaningful and life-saving services. Without such help, EAC would be forced to focus on the "business" side of the company instead of dedicating their time to raising, training, and preparing dogs for insulin-dependent diabetics. Pam expresses her gratitude for any support given to Early Alert Canines.
Thank you, Pam!