A couple of months ago, I shared a video of my kids and I talking about Type 1 Diabetes. You see in my family both my husband and daughter are Type I Diabetics. The question I get asked most often is “How did you find out your daughter was diabetic”? Were there signs that you noticed”? In honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month, I thought it was the perfect time to share my story of my daughter’s diagnosis.
Morgan – 9 Years Old
Morgan was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes two months after her third birthday. Since my husband is a Type 1 Diabetic, it was always something I was very aware of. As most children her age, we started to have issues with her wanting to get out of bed at night to go potty, a lot (frequent urination is a symptom of Type 1 Diabetes). At first, we thought it was normal, she was excited about new freedoms that come with being “officially potty trained”. Almost as an aside, I remember asking my husband what if she’s diabetic and we don’t know it? Since he got very sick before he was diagnosed, we decided to use his glucometer and check her blood sugar.
279! Her blood sugar was 279 – in those few minutes I cannot articulate in words all the thoughts that ran through my mind. For those of you that don’t know, a regular blood sugar is between 70-120. The emotions that we felt were overwhelming, we knew what that number meant. We knew from that moment forward that our life would change. It took everything within us to muster up enough courage to remain calm in front of our daughter. She didn’t know nor could she comprehend what we had discovered. So, after lots of extra snuggles we tucked her back in bed prayed for her and called her doctor. We were told to monitor her through the night, and bring her in the next morning. To say that it was a sleepless night was an understatement. It was all I could do not to lay beside her and stare at her all night. If she wasn’t such a light sleeper I probably would have but to be honest with you I cried most of the night.
The next two days were a blur. At her pediatrician’s office the next morning we heard the official news. Although I knew her blood sugar was high the night before, I had hoped with everything within me it was a glitch. That wasn’t the news we heard. Instead, the next day we were to go to an endocrinologist to begin learning how to care for our daughter. At the time my husband had been living with diabetes for 11 years, however pediatric diabetes was and is a different ballgame. The next day we spent 6 hours at the endocrinologist office meeting with doctors, nurses, diabetes educators, nurse practitioners, and nutritionist. Thankfully, we had caught her diabetes extremely early before she got sick. Many times, children get very sick before a diagnosis is made that’s why it’s so important to know the symptoms (see list at the bottom of this post).
Morgan, her brother Caleb, and friend Leah at this years JDRF Walk for Diabetes.
Since that day, our lives have changed dramatically. What rocked our world almost 6 years ago has become our normal. So much so that we don’t really remember what it was like before. Morgan is an absolute trooper. She rarely ever complains. She’s been pricking her own finger for a long time, and is now learning with our guidance how to operate her insulin pump. Morgan is happy and healthy. She’s passionate about life, smart, giving, kind, a good student, a great athlete, a caring sister, and so much more. Notice I didn’t mention diabetes. Yes, it’s a part of her life……..not her whole life. Diabetes doesn’t define her or our family. As long as we take good care of her, and teach her how to care for herself diabetes is manageable. We have much to be thankful for!
What are the signs to look for? I have copied the symptoms below from JDRF.org.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes (T1D)?
The symptoms may occur suddenly, and include one or more of the following:
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Drowsiness, lethargy
- Sugar in urine
- Sudden vision changes
- Increased appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath
- Heavy, labored breathing
- Stupor, unconsciousness
If you think you or your child has diabetes, call a doctor immediately, and drink fluids WITHOUT SUGAR, if able to swallow, to prevent dehydration.
In honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month, there’s an app you can download to your phone to experience what it’s like to be T1D (Type 1 Diabetic) for a Day.