I am in shock. Complete disbelief. I just needed somewhere to get my thoughts out, and here it is… A was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes last week. How can this be?!?
For the past month or so, A has been famished and thirsty almost constantly. Husband and I have been thinking she must be going through a growth spurt… she’s 3! And on top of that, she constantly wanted water at bedtime, so our immediate first thought was that she was stalling. Here’s how we found out…
- Saturday morning (June 17): A complained that her lower back hurt and asked for a bucket because she thought she was going to throw up. Sure enough, she throws up right after drinking her milk. The rest of the day she’s really tired, ASKING to take a nap BEFORE lunch time. Very unusual. We just assume she’s sick. No more throwing up that day.
- Sunday (June 18): A seems back to normal, but needs to pee every 30 minutes. No complaints about anything though and seems in good spirits.
- Monday morning (June 19): A complains that it hurts to pee. My immediate thought is that she has a UTI. No big deal. Schedule an appointment with the doctor for 9:00 am. Husband takes her. They do the pee test, no sign of infection, but sugar level is high. They follow up with a finger prick glucose test. Sugar level is OFF THE CHART! Doctor says A must be admitted to the hospital, she has all the signs of Type 1 Diabetes. Husband calls me to tell me over the phone. I’m in disbelief. I keep telling him this must be a mistake. The hospital is going to check her and then we’ll be sent home, right?
- Monday afternoon (June 19): We arrive at the hospital. They immediately draw blood and check her urine for ketones. All levels are high: Blood glucose, urine glucose, ketones. There is no doubt. A must stay for 3 days for monitoring and husband and I must stay for “training.” What?? Training?!?
I had no idea that T1D was going to be such a life-changer for our entire family. I did not realize that T1D meant that my poor little girl would be forever dependent on insulin injections and constant monitoring of her blood.
I was ignorant of the facts about T1D, and now I must face the ignorance of others when they hear about A’s condition. No, we didn’t do anything to CAUSE THIS. No, it cannot be cured. No, there is no pill. Yes, she must receive insulin injections EVERY DAY for the REST OF HER LIFE. There is no simple solution. Every action she takes will have a direct effect on her glucose levels: How much she exercises, how much she eats, how healthy or sick she is… And we must be vigilant in checking her, and treating her, and feeding her. Yet, we must also make sure that she does not feel alienated, or ashamed, or too “different.” What a complex balance this life will be!
But A is a sweet and vivacious and smart and charming little girl. And if anyone can live with this, I know that she can. She is starting to come to terms with it. She understands that before every meal we must do a check (blood glucose check) and a poke (insulin injection). She tells me every night, “tomorrow I will have a waffle and yogurt and banana for breakfast but first we must do my check and my poke!” And she doesn’t complain when I tell her she can only have peanut butter or cheese for a snack (rather than goldfish or cookies). She still wimpers a bit before we do her poke, but she’s getting a little better about it. And we ALWAYS do Rufus first. Rufus is her little diabetic bear friend that we got at the hospital (thanks to JDRF).
Though these last 2 weeks have been quite the shock, we are doing the best that we can. We are surviving, because that’s what we do. And if anyone can do this, it’s us.