What is the one of the most memorable days in your life? The day you were married ? When your children were born? Many parents I know would say it was the day when their beloved child was diagnosed with a chronic disease. That memory will wake you in the middle of the night for the rest of your life. I know this because just about 5ys ago my daughter, who was then 7, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. With those words the course of my child's life was changed forever. Now we had to learn very quickly how to give her a shot of insulin several time a day, poke her finger 6-10 times a day to ck her blood sugar, watch her so she didn't go low or have her blood sugar go to hi, pay close attention to what she ate, learn the words A1C,ketoacidosis and glucagon. Believe me this was a crash course that we learned quickly.
There was no Type 1's in our family and only 2-3 type 2's,so we had no idea this was coming. About 6 months before D Day(diagnosis day) Zoe had had strep throat twice in two months. We had noticed she was dropping a little weight but her Dr. said she was just growing taller. Her energy seemed to be fine, and there didn't seem be any other signs except she had started having nightmares a lot. For the Thanksgiving holiday we had gone to my sister's in Tx. when it hit me that something was really wrong. I was helping the girls with their bath and realized just how much weight Zoe had lost. I weighed her and she was 53lbs, down from over 70. When we came home I made her an apt. with her Dr. for the next Monday and started doing research. The Internet can be a wonderful /terrible source for medical information. I had kind of narrowed it down to diabetes and hyper thyroid when she started getting what we thought was the flu, so I treated her for that and then she started saying her side was hurting a lot.I had taken my husband to work and told him I was probably going to bring Zoe in to the ER just in case it was appendicitis.When we got there Zoe couldn't set up very well and when the guy taking her vitals saw her he called to have her taken back immediately! This is when the pace picked up so fast it was hard to keep up. He was calling for a Dr. as he was taking her to a room and saying they needed blood work NOW! As the nurse and Dr. ask Zoe questions she couldn't answer them,she was slipping into a coma. Her blood work came back and they told me she was diabetic, in severe ketoacidosis and would not have made it to her Dr.apt.I remember crying and waiting for my husband to come upstairs(he worked at the hospital), They put her in ICU for a couple of days until she stabilized and then into a regular room.We were told that the closest Endocrinologist was a Dr. Jelly in Tulsa and that we would have to go there to learn how to take care of Zoe's diabetes.They sent us home with orders to be in Tulsa by 8 the next morning(we live 2hrs away from Tulsa). We were so scared to take her home but were told that the long acting insulin would hold her until we got to the Dr.
In Tulsa we were taught how to give shots, ck blood sugars and given a major crash course in what was happening to Zoe's body. Dr. Jelly seemed nice enough and he explained that Zoe would have to be on a strict schedule for shots, meals and snacks. Now we are not a family that goes by a schedule very much so this was going to be hard to do. Zoe was to get her insulin shot and only eat 45carbs at meals and about 22 for snacks. This kid was starving ALL the time, I couldn't keep enough low/non carb foods in the house for her. We stayed with this Dr. for about year,going to Tulsa every three months for a ck up, when we heard about a Dr.Adam Maass here in Lowell. This guy was a god send! He took Zoe off of her strict schedule and said she should eat whatever she wanted! She would eat and then we would give her an insulin shot based on how many carbs she ate and what her sugar was. Life became so much easier, diabetes became something we could manage, not a huge monster that managed us.
Nov. 30th will mark 5yrs since we started this journey that will last the rest of our lives and yes it does get easier, some days are hard with some being downright scary! We have made new friends who understand because they are having to deal with this disease also, learned a whole lot about the human body and have became closer as a family. While I would never, ever wish a chronic disease on anyone, I do believe the Diabetes is one of the more manageable ones and you stay on top of it.
Here are some links for more info on diabetes,
http://www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/ (ck out the humor section.)