Yeah that was the question I was asking the doctors about 7 months ago (Nov. 17, 2011) when they told me that my barely 5 year old son had Type 1 Diabetes.
About a month prior he had gone for his annual well-check. He had just turned 5 years old. He looked great! The doctor said he was doing well. He was growing fine and developing well. Part of the appointment process was for him to pee in a cup. He was so not ok with that so the nurse and I agreed that he could do it at home and I would just return the cup. Things went like “normal” for about 2 weeks after that then some weird/questionable things started happening. I noticed that my son was drinking a ton of water. He would act like he hadn’t had a drink of anything for days – like he was dying of thirst. He was drinking so much water that he was constantly using the bathroom (pee)…even so much where he would have accidents in the bed at night even though he went right before bedtime. It wasn’t like him at all. He was 5 years old and never had an accident in the bed. This went on for about a week and half. I finally got him to “go” in the cup and took it to his pediatrician. On the way there I called the nurse and left her a message telling her I had some concerns (I knew enough about diabetes because I was wrapping up my degree in Nutrition. I recognized the signs and had some MAJOR concerns about it so I spent some time googling it, frequent urination and extreme thirst). I knew that he either has a urinary tract infection (my daughter had urinary problems as a young child so I thought it was possible) or I thought that the only other possibility was juvenile/ insulin dependent diabetes. Looking back now I knew very little about Type 1. I told the nurse to call me before she ran the urinalysis so we could discuss my concerns.
When we got the doctor’s office she told me that she received my message and to hang on and let her run it really fast. After a few minutes she called me back. She said that my 5 year old baby had 2000 ketones in his urine when there should be NONE! She said that you only see this with diabetics. I was FREAKING out! Was this really happening?! Things like this didn’t happen to us! Why was this happening? OMG! She asked me questions about my son and how he had been acting…. If he had been vomiting? Lethargic? No – he hadn’t. His only symptoms were frequent urination, extreme thirst and sleepiness. She told me that the pediatrician was out of the office until the morning so we needed to come back then to see him. The nurse said that since he was functioning, not lethargic and not vomiting that I could take him home – no hospitalization. Hospitalization?! WHAT? Well Thank You Jesus! All I remember her saying was to feed him protein…NO carbs tonight! Me – still FREAKING out! Called my husband after leaving there to tell him what the nurse had said…we just didn’t know how to deal with this. The rest of the day and night are a slight blur. I remember feeling like I was in a dream but definitely didn’t sleep much…..
The next morning the nurse called to tell us that instead of coming to their office that we should head to Odessa to Dr. Ponders (LoneStar Diabetes and Endocrinology) office and that they were waiting for us. My mom ended up calling me about that time and I lost it…I told her what was going on (I wasn’t going to tell anyone until we knew for sure what was going on). We both cried it out over the phone and I then picked her up to go with me to the appointment. We arrived and they took us right in. Checking my son’s blood sugar and talking and teaching us about Type 1. I learned that my little baby’s blood sugar was out of control and had been running in the 500s and 600s…. I still felt like I was in a dream. Q (my son) was very confused. He didn’t understand what was going on (finger pokes, injection and doctors) and I was SO stressed! I learned that he would need daily injections and constant blood sugar checks…so I wondered how the HELL I (a total needle phobic person) was suppose to check my 5 year old baby’s blood sugar 8X per day and give him injections?? I knew this was for real! It was serious! Why did this happen to my baby? We stayed most of the day there learning from Dr. Ponder and Brant and planned to spend many hours and days there over the next week. We went home that day still stunned. Dr. Ponders office called needing blood work done so we had to head to the lab. So we loaded up and went. My mom held him while the tech took 6 viles of blood. He was a CHAMP! That evening I think was one of the hardest of my life. After his blood work all he wanted to do was go with my mom to her house. My daughter was at gymnastics so I had to go get her. On the way I called my husband and had a total breakdown. I cried. I bawled. Asking God why this happened? It wasn’t fair! He’s just a baby! I felt scared, devastated, worried and just plain defeated. Then my mom and him came back over to the house for dinner. Q needed his injections though and this first night was a HUGE task. He was scared, cried and didn’t want to take his shot. (My mom helped me by giving Q his shots for the first week because I was terrified to do them) Finally he caved and let us give the shots…..he cried, I cried, my mom cried, my daughter cried….
The next few days were spent with Brant learning how to manage diabetes. The next few weeks were a huge blur. We tried to figure out how to fit our lives into the diabetes. We basically were just trying to survive, tried to stay afloat. I think we all went through a stage of depression. Sad…we knew this was his life from now on. There’s no out growing it. He will live with this for the rest of his life! (I tell people now that I think the adjustment was harder on us than him). Thanksgiving went by, my daughter’s birthday, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, our first out of town day trip, overnight trip and WE SURVIVED! And will continue to! We took it day by day. Every day does get easier as I learn how to manage this for him….Learning what foods affect his blood sugar and how. It’s a delicate balance between the proper amount of insulin, the proper amount of carbs at each meal and snack, the timing of these foods and injections and his activity level, plus he’s 5 years old. There really are a lot of factors to consider. And I want him to also get to just be a kid!
The key to managing diabetes is learning as much about it as you can from people who know about it, managing the food intake and taking the right amount of the right type of insulin. I am my son’s primary caregiver and I say this often – my son’s quality and quantity of life depends on my knowledge and ability. I am grateful every single day for Dr. Ponder and Brant! They continue to save my sons life all the time! Brant has been my saving grace – I text him often and in the beginning I texted him probably every hour!
My son is a super CHAMP! I know he is destined for greatness because he almost died at birth and then again around 3 months old and then now has Diabetes Type 1. God wants him here because he has a wonderful life planned for him. Q allows me to check his blood sugar 8-12X per day (depending on the day) He allows me to (with no fight or sacredness) give him 3 injections (sometimes more) daily and is ok when I tell him he can’t eat yet (because he has to wait for his insulin to “kick in) or that he can’t have snack yet or that he can’t eat or drink that…..
I don’t want pity for him as he knows no other life and I never want him to feel sorry for himself. He was given this because he is STRONG and because he CAN handle it (sure doesn’t mean he should have to though). I don’t want him to feel limited, unable or disabled because of his diabetes. He can do ANYTHING he wants in life! He is strong, caring, loving, smart, friendly, helpful, sweet, full of personality and so much more! I am in awe of him every day! He definitely doesn’t let his diabetes hold him back!
I know that I wish he would have never gotten diabetes. I pray and wish everyday for a cure – for my son and all the other children! I am participating in the FIGHT against Diabetes! If you want to help find a cure msg me ASAP!! www.diabetes.org/StepOut Team Cure It!!!