When Your Child Has Been Diagnosed With Type 1 Diabetes
It’s been six months since my little girl has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It’s hard to talk about. Those that understand exactly what were going through, your heart would know us just by reading this title.
I have a child that has been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It’s been 6 months and yet pieces of the shocking news are still there. “ I can’t believe this is happening to us! I can’t believe this is happening to her!”
Back track a few years, (alright … a lot). I first heard of the word “Type 1 Diabetes” when I was 13 years old. My cousin and I always went to a summer camp together, but this one year she couldn’t come. She had been hospitalized and was being observed because she had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I remember visiting her at the hospital. She seemed like she was normal and fine, but a few things where different, foreign, strange and scary; like the needles that she now had to take everyday. But she would proudly show me her needles as she took them, ‘educating’ me as she went along. It was kinda neat and different. As the years went by and the visits and sleepovers we would have I would have my supper measured out by my Aunt, the same as my cousin. It was a fun way to be part of her life.
Flash forward some years ahead and I’m dating and marrying my dream man. He’s an amazing guy who works hard and has an great sense of humour. He also has this thing called Type 1 Diabetes. This time around I’m learning more than I ever had and wanted to know about Type 1. “I’m sorry your life span could be shortened by what?!!!” It was a reality check to go with him to his regular checkup appointments any diabetic would have. It was sobering and serious and unreal at times. But it was ultimately his responsibility and his decision to manage his disease. I couldn’t worry about it or make him do anything but be there and support him.
More years later and we are up to our neck in 4 kids, house, and farm to run.
And it happens…
Our daughter is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
It was shortly after her 3rd birthday. It was Boxing Day. My man and I and gone and done the boxing day sales as a date day while my mom not only braved babysitting all 4 children, she was going to keep our 2 older ones at her house for a sleepover! Little did both my man and I know that this would be our last date day for a long time.
So that evening, I was home with just my two little ones. Emma who had just turned 3 and her little brother. My man, was out doing barn chores. We were singing Christmas carols and I was rearranging the furniture as I set up our Boxing Day Sale finds. Dan had quickly fed the two little ones supper and left for his evening barn chores. Emma had asked him for some water and he had given her a cup. Shortly after he left Emma asked me for another cup of water. Sure,she could. But less than 30mins later she asked me for another cup of water. “Didn’t you just drink a whole cup with Daddy too?”
“Yes.” She said.
Something clicked with me. I call it a ‘God thing’. “I should check her blood.” I thought. At this point it NEVER even crossed my mind that she would have diabetes. All I knew was that I should check her blood. It had been drilled into me since I was 13 that unquenchable thirst was a sign, looking back I think that was there in the back of my mind. I knew how to use Dan gluco-meter. I tested Emma. She was 33.3mmol/L. My heart stopped. My hands started shaking.
Maybe I did it wrong.
I tested her again. It read 33.3mmol/L. By now my heart is pounding. I know that any normal person`s blood sugar range is supposed to be anywhere from 4-8 mmol/L.
Oh God! This wasn’t happening… I remember pacing the house in circles 33.3mmol/L! I KNEW what that meant. My precious baby girl couldn’t be 33.3mmol/L. Otherwise she was a diabetic. Type 1!
I took the meter and ran for the barn. I couldn’t stop shaking. I couldn’t describe to Dan what was happening. I just blurted it out. “Emma is drinking a lot of water and I checked her blood. She’s 33.3mmol/L” I shoved the gluco-meter at him. Both of us just stared at that meter. In the middle of our normal routine. Milkers on the cows. Kids in the house. A quiet Saturday evening. And this number glaring back at us. Rocking our world. We both knew what this meant… Emma’s world would forever have Type 1 Diabetes in it!
We were devastated, and ANGRY! Fearful and grieved. How and Why? These are all questions that run through our minds.
Maybe she had sugar on her fingers from the maple supper drizzled over her pancakes for supper. Crazy rational thoughts run through our minds, trying to explain this nightmare away. I knew what ALL the implications meant. Yet now looking back 6m later, I feel like I knew nothing then on Boxing Day.
I went back to the house and scrubbed her hands and tested her again. 33.3 mmol/L. I tested her one last time, and shot a prayer to heaven to change that number. It was 33.3 mmol/L.
Dan had said, pack her up and take her to the hospital. I packed a bag for Emma and myself. Who knew how long they would keep her at the hospital. I called the other grandmother to look after our youngest. I kiss the husband good bye and drop off the baby at grandma house (across the road ) and drove to our hospital.
At our hospital we were admitted and processed. During the processing Emma was tested for the 5th time in her entire life. 33.3 mmol/L “But she looks so good1” was the processing nurses comment. I broke a little. She laid a hand on my knee and told me it would be alright. I broke a little more. It’s easier to keep the a strong face on, then to show the real pain, shock and fear on the inside. Because I had to be strong for my baby girl. I didn’t want her to be more scared and panicked by seeing me crying. I could save crying for later.
After processing we were sent to the back fairly quickly to see the nighttime on call doctor. By the time she was check for ketones, the on call doctor came in, and broke the news to Dan (who was done barn chores by now and had joined us in the ER room) and I.
I`m sorry, but your child has type 1 diabetes. One blood test (taken 5 times over) and one urine test, and she was forever changed, and we with her!
This is the start of our journey through Type 1 Diabetes. I can’t offer advise right now, because we are living in these trenches. My prayer is that our story will encourage you if you are taking care of a child with Type 1 Diabetes. You are not alone!
By: Sharon Schuler