Diabetes of the Type 1 variety is this incredibly frightening autoimmune disease people get, often confused with Type 2 diabetes (an entirely different animal) that is especially horrific and terrible and painful when it happens to children.
My child was diagnosed at age 6. Let's just say, for the sake of the fact that this isn't biology class, that without insulin injections, a Type 1 diabetic will eventually (the Internet argues with itself over how long, exactly) slip into DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) which happens to be fatal.
My personal journey with this disease is a tale of heartbreak for both my family and my wallet.
Without health insurance, a small vial of insulin is over $100, depending on your brand, and only lasts a single month. Plus, my daughter uses a long-lasting insulin, AND she requires an extra vial for her school. Oh, and there's the cost of the other supplies: syringes, which can only be used once comfortably, a meter that uses upward of ten test strips a day, test strips that can cost $70 or more for a 50-ct. box, depending on your meter. There's the supplies you don't need everyday, but do need: lancets for your poker, Ketostix for checking urine for ketones, and the ourageously expensive Glucagon pen, a diabetic's version of an EpiPen. They're about $350 per pen and have to be replaced yearly.
We are a typical middle class American family. While the financial hardship was no easy burden, it also wasn't enough to make us homeless, or (I shudder to even think) force us to go without my daughter's medication.
I have this thing where my brain likes to go explore every coulda-been that ever coulda been...what if we lived 100 years ago? Insulin was barely becoming available to the public in the 1920s so, yeah, I would've lost my daughter. Or what if she'd been diagnosed but we lived in a third-world country? A place where clean water and basic medical treatment are luxuries. I imagine what hell that would be, watching it happen and feeling utterly fucking helpless. It stops my heart to think it, and to know without really wanting to admit that it happens, probably every damn day.
So, when this Spare A Rose, Save A Life thing started popping up on my Twitter feed, I felt like here was something I could do to ease my anxiety. 5 bones, a month worth of insulin. A dozen roses is equal to entire year of life for some kid somewhere with a mother like me who's doing more than realizing how bad it could be, she's living it.
Go here and be awesome.
And check out #sparearose on Twitter