Thank you so much Chrissy for this wonderful post.
Don’t you hate it when your kids get sick? I know when my girls get sick, I just want to fix it, to take it away, take on the sickness myself. But what if you can’t fix it? What if you can’t take it away? Ever. What a nightmare!
This is my nightmare. Every day.
Nearly two years ago my little girl was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It started out with her being hungry all the time. I mean STARVING! She’d eat a meal and not even thirty minutes later she would want more to eat. I figured it was a growth spurt or maybe she was bored.
Then, she became thirsty. We have one of those in-the-door water dispensers on our fridge and she’d constantly fill her cup up with water and drink like she was dying of thirst.
She began to go to the bathroom a lot, too. And wet the bed at night. We attributed this to all the water she was drinking. So we tried limiting her on her water intake. A couple of times I found her sneaking water at night. She was SO thirsty.
A tiny light bulb dimly blinked on in my mind… “Diabetes? Nah.” My father has Type 1 Diabetes, so I was aware of the signs, but I didn’t want to believe that my child had it. I started doing internet searches on diabetes and its signs.
- Frequent urination check
- Increased thirst check
- Increased fluid intake check
- Feelings of extreme hunger check, and double check
Uh-oh… These things were starting to freak me out. But wait:
- Severe fatigue nope
Quite the opposite. Emily always has energy, right up to the moment she is forced to close her eyes and give up the fight to stay awake.
- Unexpected weight loss (type 1 diabetes) didn’t find this out until her diagnosis
- Skin irritation in the legs and genital area check
- Slower healing of superficial wounds not really
Emily did have some irritation on her bum, but when we had taken her to the doctor a couple of months earlier for it, the doctor thought it was because of the pull-ups Emily was wearing at night since she was wetting the bed so much. (Keep in mind, at that time she was still three, newly potty-trained.)
I still wasn’t convinced (I was in denial). I called a friend of mine whose little girl had been diagnosed a several months earlier with Type 1 Diabetes and I went over my concerns and Emily’s symptoms and she said, “Go to the doctor!” Dang it.
We arrived at the doctor’s office and when they weighed Emily, she had lost three pounds since her visit a couple of months before. I didn’t really notice. She had gotten taller, but she wasn’t gaining weight. I had noticed that her underwear looked a little saggy in the bum, but I just didn’t think anything of it. The doctor had Emily pee in a cup and they took the urine to the lab to do some tests.
The doctor was asking me questions about Emily and her symptoms and putting all this info in her laptop. All these things were coming together and I was starting to feel some dread. Then all of a sudden the doctor stopped talking and looked at her laptop. She said, “We’ve got the results of her urine tests, but I need to check something...” Then she got up and left the room. I knew it wasn’t good. I knew right then that Emily had diabetes.
I looked over at Emily; she was playing with the toys in the exam room, oblivious to what was happening, not even aware that in a few moments her life would change. FOREVER.
The doctor came back into the room and said that Emily had diabetes and to go straight to the hospital to check her in and expect to be there for three to four days. Okay, so now we knew and all I could do was look at her, my sweet, innocent Emily, and just feel sadness. I was sad for her…sad for me. I knew she was going to be fine and live a normal, healthy life. I was just sad that this was going to be a part of her in every aspect of her life. I was sad that I couldn’t fix it.
She can lead a normal life while living with Type 1 Diabetes. She can do everything anybody else does. She can eat anything anybody else does. She can eat that cupcake at her friend’s birthday party. It’s okay! Really! The only difference is she has to get an injection of insulin. See, someone without diabetes has a pancreas that produces insulin, the hormone that regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. A person living with Type 1 Diabetes has a pancreas, but it doesn’t produce insulin. So instead of her pancreas taking care of that cupcake’s carbohydrates, an injection of insulin will.
There is no cure for Type 1 Diabetes. There is no diet that will reverse Type 1 Diabetes. What we do have is insulin. And HOPE. Hope for a cure.