In the world of Type 1 Diabetes we refer to the day of diagnosis as D-Day. Once you have earned your membership into this club people's first question is always......How was he diagnosed? Unfortunately, this disease is very difficult to diagnose because it often disguises itself as the flu and in some cases the diagnosis comes too late and an innocent life is lost.
January 11, 2013
This is a day that will forever be etched into my memory, but to be able to give you the entire picture I have to rewind to a few weeks before this dreadful day.
A few days after Christmas 2012 we had to take a trip to Texas for our nieces first birthday. We have travelled countless times with our children and never had any problems, as a matter of fact we had just gotten back from a trip to Hawaii a week prior and had no issues at all. On our flight to Texas J wasn't acting normal and actually got sick on the plane, something that he had never done in his 30 some odd flight career. Like I said, we travel A LOT!!! We didn't think too much of it and just thought maybe he was coming down with something. When we got to Texas, J was very lethargic and had little to no appetite the entire trip. Since we travel a lot we have learned to pack the medicine cabinet to be prepared when and if any illness arrives. We just happened to have an antibiotic for J because he was scheduled to have his tonsils removed the third week in January. When he woke up in the middle of the night in pain and acting like his throat was hurting we decided to start the medication.
December 29, 2012
We attended the birthday party but spent the next day in the hotel room resting as we all were feeling a little under the weather. That evening J started to perk up and while playing with his Grandma spinning in the chair, he fell out of the chair and hit his head on the coffee table. He had a small bump but it didn't seem to bother him and his behavior was normal.
December 31, 2012
On our flight back home Joseph got sick again on the plane and was right back to his lethargic state that he had been at the beginning of our trip.
It was New Years Eve and we decided to cancel our plans and stay in because J was not feeling well at all and started vomiting during the night, but only at night.
January 2, 2013
Once the holiday was over we decided to take him into the pediatrician. We didn't know if he had a mild concussion from the fall, if he was having a reaction to the medication or if he was suffering from the flu. J's pediatrician examined him and ruled out a concussion, said he was fairly certain it wasn't a medication reaction and that it seemed more in line with the flu but decided to send us home with a lab slip and if he wasn't improving in a few days to take him in for some blood work. So we waited........
January 6, 2013
No improvement, and the night time vomiting seemed to be getting worse and we started to worry of dehydration, so we loaded him up and took him to the ER. J was examined by a physician that seemed a little puzzled by the symptoms that he was having so he ordered a panel of tests to be done to rule out a multitude of things. We were on our way to the first of these tests which happened to be an ultrasound to look for appendicitis when the technician got a call that the test was cancelled. We got sent back to the ER room where another physician examined J. He told us it was the flu, he wasn't dehydrated and he gave him a Popsicle and said that if he ate some of it we could go home.......(great thing for a diabetic and often the reason they go into a coma before diagnosis is caught!) So we made him eat the Popsicle and we got sent home with some anti nausea pills and our minds were put at ease that this wasn't a more serious problem, I mean, it was just the flu!
January 7, 2013
The next morning the anti nausea pills seemed to do the trick. J perked back up to his normal self and the night time vomiting had stopped and he was back to eating and drinking, Hallelujah!
January 8, 2013
I noticed that J seemed to be having a lot of accidents. He would be watching television and just urinate in his underwear without even trying to make it to the bathroom. We had been struggling with potty training for some time, so I thought to myself that this was just another one of his backslides.
January 9, 2013
J began to guzzle, and I mean guzzle the liquids. Looking back now, I am so thankful that I don't give my children juice or sugary drinks because this could have turned into a much different story.
January 10, 2013
The drinking and urinating seemed to be getting worse and the accidents more frequent and I started to cut back his liquid intake to help prevent the accidents and I had convinced myself that he was just trying to rehydrate from having the flu. When he would ask for something to drink and I would only give him a half of a cup and when I'd tell him "No" to more he would be in tears, so I would give in and give him more.
D-Day Friday January 11, 2013
This morning I decided that something might be wrong, J's drinking wasn't slowing down and his accidents seemed to be getting worse and more frequent. I put a call in to our pedictrian to go over the symptoms, but he was on vacation. His call service gave me the number of a physician that was on call for our pediatrician's patients. I called their office and spoke with a nurse. I explained to her the whole story. She agreed that he was probably just re hydrating from having the flu but if it didn't improve by Monday then I could always bring him into the office. Whew, again my feelings were validated. We went about our day and when Anthony got off of work he met me at the Hair Salon, I had a scheduled appointment so we exchanged cars and they went on their way back home. During my appointment I got a text from Anthony saying that the on-call Physician from the doctors office that I called had been reviewing the notes from the day and was concerned about J's symptoms and wanted us to bring him into the office that night! He told Anthony that there was a small chance it could be DIABETES and he wanted to rule it out. DIABETES??? What do you mean DIABETES? This was the first time we had ever heard that word and had no idea how our child who was completely healthy could get diabetes. So, I finished my hair appointment came home to load up and meet the physician at his office. By this time it was around 8 o'clock at night and this amazing doctor went out of his way to meet us at his office. He had worked all day and then also worked a shift at the hospital. He told Anthony on the phone that he needed a urine sample, so before we left the house Anthony was able to get one with the cup that they had given us at the ER that was never filled or tested. We sat in this little room while the physician tested his urine for what felt like an eternity. What would be our fate? What does having diabetes mean to a child? In those moments I said more silent prayers than I ever had in my entire life. The doctor walked back into the room and it was written all over his face and then, he said those earth shattering words "the test was very POSITIVE." We sat there in shock as he explained this wasn't a death sentence and that we would have to go to the hospital for treatment and we would to learn how to care for him. He called ahead to the hospital to make arrangements so we wouldn't have to wait once arriving. He told us to make arrangements for E because we might be in the hospital for a few days. We thanked him for opening his office and we left to go home and gather our things and head to the hospital. We had no idea what this diagnosis meant for J's future, or for us as his parents. We notified our immediate family, made arrangements for E, packed a bag and headed to the hospital. Once we arrived we went to admissions and they assigned us to a room. At this point I still had no idea which type of diabetes he had, I just knew that there were two type's. Once they took his blood to find out where his blood sugar was we found out that he was only in the 400s and that he was not in DKA, didn't need to go into the ICU and he wouldn't need any IV treatments. They were all shocked at how early we had caught this. That doctor reviewing those notes and opening his office to test J could have saved his life! We will be forever grateful for him and his deligence as a physician. The nurses gave J his first shot of insulin and he finally got some good sleep. We however, didn't get any sleep that night. I sat up all night Googling what Type 1 Diabetes meant for our son and his future. I sobbed the entire time out of heartbreak, fear and gratefulness that he was still alive. Over the next two days we were taught how to count carbohydrates, give injections and all about Type 1 Diabetes. Then we were sent home with a bag full of supplies and no idea what our futures would hold.
Looking back now a little over a year since D-Day, I have no idea how we got through it. They were the most trying times for us as family, and even more so, for us as parents. At that time I couldn't see past the next blood sugar check and injection but now, we have our life back and Type 1 Diabetes is just a background noise to our daily routines. Our days are never without worry or struggle, but we know that we will get through it together. We will do everything in our power as parents to keep our son Healthy, Strong and most of all still allowing him to be a Normal Kid. We teach him to share his story and be proud of who his is, he never has to be ashamed or hide his diabetes.
Joseph is not diabetes, Joseph is just a kid, who also just happens to have diabetes!