Diabetes Awareness Month
Love is greater than highs and lows…….
It was a Sunday afternoon, I remember it just like it happened this past weekend. 10 years ago, and the memory is still so fresh. As parents, we all have those milestone moments that we wait for, that are exciting and that define the continued development of our children. No one ever tells you or prepares you for a milestone, that will mark a development, but not be met with the same excitement as all the others.
That Friday, we left the pediatricians office thinking we were going home to treat a routine case of Strep Throat. By Sunday, I know that we were dealing with something much more serious and I was sure that my heart was not prepared for whatever it was. I can recall the ride to the ER. How he was so sick that he couldn’t stay awake, he couldn’t sit up, and I was scared. I thought I was the scaredest I had ever been, until the doctors started throwing all of these new words at us. Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Immune compromised, BG, Insulin dependent…..and then the number……. 920. 10 years ago, on that day, at that moment, we still had no real idea of what that meant, all we knew was that it was the thing making him so sick. Your son has Type 1 Diabetes. After countless conversations, many rushing doctors, very attentive nurses, 4 days in the PICU, 16 hours of training, we took our newly diagnosed 23 month old son home. Our lives were turned upside down that day and we’ve been on that upside ever since.
We left there feeling armed with all the medical help and news and ideas that we needed. We knew how to count the carbs, draw up the dose and administer it. We know what supplies we could never again leave home without and what additional things had to now become routine for our family. We knew that he was depending on us and that we had to be strong, but what about the emotional toll this was taking on me? What about him? How will he ever be a normal boy? Will he eat, can he have a birthday cake? What child doesn’t deserve candy? School, how will that look? Will he go? Will my momma's heart let him? What about sports and sleepovers and just normal boy life. All the questions that we didn't have answers to. Answers that I felt like I immediately needed to have. This was sure to be the start of a long hard road.
As the years went on, and he got older, things started to get better. They started to make more sense. He went from insulin shots to pens, from pens to a pump and cgm. He went from mommy and daddy (and everyone else that did) being his 100% caregivers to us being his trainers and management supervisors, as he learned very early how to care for and began to do some things by himself. We were slowly getting the answers to all those questions. Life is normal and we have a normal child that just happens to live with Type 1 Diabetes. Lots of support groups and more seasoned moms and dads have also made this all make sense. It has been such a long road, but made easy by the families that we have met, the relationships that we have made and the bonds that will forever be held together.
Looking back, if we had known the signs, we would probably have been better prepared for this life. There are so many times that the diagnosis is mistaken for common childhood illnesses, strep throat, being one of those. We have been a family that has been committed to making sure the awareness gets to as many families as possible. If we can help just one family and they repeat the help, and it continues, we will have helped a lot along the way. Please, know the signs and if you think it is, be sure to ask the doctor to check.
Type 1 diabetes signs and symptoms can appear relatively suddenly and may include:
- Increased thirst.
- Frequent urination.
- Bed-wetting in children who previously didn't wet the bed during the night.
- Extreme hunger.
- Unintended weight loss.
- Irritability and other mood changes.
- Fatigue and weakness.
- Blurred vision.
We have taken a good days and great days approach to living as a Type 1 Diabetes family. The road hasn't always been easy, there have been lots of tears and some pain along the way. More ups and downs than we could ever count. However, being able to be on this journey, accepting the goodness that has come from me, and watching our now 12 year old son live his life, reminds me that LOVE will always be greater than the HIGH and LOWS.