5 Little Monsters: Type 1 Diabetes Awareness

Type 1 Diabetes Awareness

November is Diabetes Awareness Month so I thought it would be a good opportunity to share our Diabetes story, as well as some of the signs and symptoms to watch for, and a little about what Type 1 Diabetes is (or isn't)

March 4, 2019 is a day that I will never forget. The 4th was a Monday, 4 days earlier on Thursday night my 7 year old complained of some stomach pain. It was bedtime and I kind of just blew it off, thinking she was trying to get out of going to bed. Then she threw up, and I realized she wasn't faking it. I was a little frustrated with the timing of her being sick, not that she had any control over that, but it meant keeping her home from school on Friday when I had a mile long list of things I needed to get done.

My husband and oldest son were leaving on Saturday to go to San Diego for a week and my husband had taken Friday off work to get everything ready. We had a bunch of errands to run and stuff to do and by Friday morning Lucy seemed to be doing ok, maybe a little more worn out than normal but she hadn't thrown up anymore so we decided to take her with us as we ran errands.

Every single place we went she had to use the bathroom. It seemed a little weird but at that point I didn't think much about it besides it not really being normal. She was also drinking a lot. We spent the morning running around getting all of the stuff done that we needed to and then came home as kids were getting home from school. Lucy immediately laid down on my bed and fell asleep. She slept pretty much the entire afternoon and just seemed really weak and tired.

By that night I kind of started thinking, she's drinking a lot, she's peeing a lot, and she is really tired, all major red flags for diabetes. I had the thought pop into my head that I should check her blood sugar, I happened to have a meter in my medicine cabinet because I had had gestational diabetes with my last pregnancy. Unfortunately, I decided I was probably completely overreacting, and if I'm completely honest I was sort of in denial. I really didn't want that to be what it was and I was scared of finding out. Plus I had no idea that stomach pain was another sign of diabetes so I used that to convince myself that she just had a stomach bug.

Saturday morning Jake and Johnny left on their trip and I was on my own with 5 kids for the next week, I really was hoping and praying at this point that it was nothing more than a bug that she would get over. The thought of it being something more serious while my husband was gone was scary. Saturday and Sunday was more of the same. We didn't leave the house much and she spent most of the time sleeping. I kept telling myself that she just needed to sleep it off and the rest had to be helping, but the whole time I couldn't get rid of the thought that I needed to check her blood sugar.

Monday morning after she still wasn't feeling good, was throwing up again, and was missing another day of school, I finally decided I couldn't put it off any longer and I needed to test her blood sugar. I pulled out the meter that hadn't been used in 2 1/2 years and of course the batteries were dead. I pulled them out and put them back in hoping to get enough juice to turn it on. Then I couldn't remember how to use it and after poking her a few times finally watched a YouTube video to show me how. Finally got it to work and it came back reading EXTREMELY HIGH over 600. I started to panic a little but still sort of in denial I thought maybe the meter wasn't working that well since it had been a long time since it had been used. I decided to test myself, came back in the normal range, tested her again with the same over 600 message. I immediately called Jake and her doctor, I called my parents to see if someone could watch my other kids because at this point I knew we would likely be admitted to the hospital. The next few hours were a bit of a blur, I picked up all of my kids from school early, dropped them off with family, went to the doctor's office, they sent us straight to the ER at the children's hospital and told us we would be admitted and plan on being there for 3 days.

By the time we got to the ER and they started running tests she was severely dehydrated and starting to have a difficult time breathing. She was in Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). It was pretty scary to see her at that point because she was so pale and sickly looking, but I was grateful we were at the hospital with doctors and nurses that knew how to take care of her. They got her started on an IV right away and in less than 24 hours she was more like herself than I had seen her in quite a while.

The next 2 days were spent in the hospital being taught all about type 1 diabetes, what is happening inside of her body, about medications we would use, how to give injections, how to count carbs, how to use carb ratios and correction factors to determine doses, what to do if she is high, what to do if she is low, and so much more. It was pretty overwhelming but we tried to take in as much as we could.

Once Lucy was feeling better being at the hospital became a bit of an adventure, she had lots of people coming to visit her and bringing her gifts, she went to the playroom multiple times, got to order food from a special menu, and pretend to be a doctor and give her stuffed animals shots and teach them all about diabetes.

Coming home from the hospital was kind of scary. As long as we were in the hospital we were surrounded by people who knew what they were doing. Once we came home it was all me.

She has been an absolute superstar through everything. She has handled it so much better than I could have imagined. I have been amazed at her strength and resilience. I have lots of moments when I feel like I am not handling it nearly as well as she is. She deals with the shots, the finger pokes, the highs and lows, the feeling crummy, carrying a bag of supplies with her everywhere she goes, not being able to eat whenever she wants without having to get a shot first, and everything else that comes with Type 1 Diabetes so well. She is not ashamed or embarrassed by her diabetes and will talk to anyone who asks about it. She couldn't wait to go back to school after diagnosis so that she could tell all of her friends and classmates about diabetes. Watching her handle it so well has helped us handle it so much better than we would have otherwise. We are grateful for technology that has helped manage better and easier, but we will continue to hope for a cure someday.

For more information about Type 1 Diabetes or to donate towards finding a cure, check out JDRF.org.

1 comment :

  1. All of you are so brave and Lucy is a warrior of the highest caliber. You have been just an amazing Mom and such a strong person. You are truly one of my heroes. Much love ❤️ ❤️