October 2012 life was busy with preschool and all the new learning that a 3 year old does. He’d always been a bit intense; full of energy and it would spin off him and get the rest of us spinning to recover as we chased him around. Preschool seemed a good thing, by October he was often content to sit and listen to stories for hours, he wasn’t eating as much and we thought that perhaps he’d just finished a growth spurt of sorts and was cycling through a period of lower calorie demands. We all know how kids grow… they eat everything in sight for a week or so then they sleep and grow.
Something else was up though, car trips, even relatively short ones became torture for him and he returned to diapers in the day. He was drinking so much water. This we knew was odd… we entertained various ideas. Maybe the newish routine of preschool was stressing him and he was regressing… but that didn’t explain the excess drinking. Maybe it was a bladder infection or something of the like. Maybe it was Diabetes.
A trip to the walk-in clinic and 2 simple tests changed everything. The pediatrician on call attended within 30 minutes and proceeded to spend the next hours out in the hall on the phone with various children’s wards securing us a bed for the weeklong hospital stay. We were told we had one hour to get from White Rock to home to pick up supplies for the week and check in to Surrey Memorial Hospital.
Despite the whirlwind of learning that we did… and that we had technical understanding of all the processes at play. Despite all the research into daily management and what’s on the horizon for a cure. Still there was a deep and irrational longing for this diagnosis and the doctors to be all wrong. We needed to wake up from this nightmare and return to our beautiful, relatively carefree and healthy lives together as a family and watch our son grow.
Wake up we do. At least 2 times a night actually. At 5 he is still not aware of his blood sugars and the night presents a special danger. If we catch a low we will sit up and feed and retest and if it’s persistent feed again and retest… this can wake us for an hour…
Did you know everything affects blood sugar? Some things more than others… anticipating where the blood sugar is going is a challenge. Is he feeling anxious or excited… maybe he’s relaxed, is he growing? Maybe he’s getting sick. Hummm I wonder how much fat was in that… how long for it to digest. Counting, counting, counting carbohydrates. Calculating dosages. Pricks and pokes, clean it with alcohol, drink more water, lots of it. We should retest that doesn’t seem right. Is this skin ever going to heal? Just stop and sit, you can’t play ‘til you blood sugar is up.
For all the things we know and all the wonderful technologies and advancements in care for people with type one diabetes there is a lot that we don’t know and it is still not easy.
Well as parents we’ve been asking for a cure since the day we learned his diagnosis.
This month he’s been talking about a cure a lot more… Not like his first walk… where we’d not communicated quite clearly enough. We had finished the TELUS Walk for a Cure and he said “Now I don’t have diabetes anymore because I walked for a cure”. He’d still been agreeable the hour later when we had to give him a needle. Now he has a longing. To be like his friends and not have to prick his finger, not have to wait to eat his food, not have to cram down sugar tabs, not have to sit out, not have to wake up, not have needles or site changes and not have to worry about dying or complications from type one diabetes.
With a fighting spirit and a positive outlook he has a rich experience. Passions for sports like hockey and soccer captivate him and he loses himself in the pleasures of play. Kindergarten has brought beautiful friendships and explosions in learning. Interesting rocks, animals and plants are so interesting. “Mom, how does a person go about becoming King?” started another discussion. He’s exploring his potential in the world; what will he be when he grows up. Right now the dream is to be a Judge, play recreationally in the NHL and live on a farm with all kinds of plants and animals.
Our dream is for him to Thr1ve. The innovations in technologies for better care and the research being done to find a cure for type one diabetes funded through the JRDF is helping him Thr1ve. Please join our team. Walk with us June 14, 2015 at Mill Lake Park in Abbotsford, or donate to our walk to raise funds for a cure.