On January 24, 2012 somewhere around 3:30 in the afternoon, my world changed. (I know, a little dramatic, but true!) I had noticed that Medium had been peeing, a lot. He has always been a kid who drank a lot and then peed a lot. But this was excessive. I hadn’t really noticed that he had been drinking more because he is old enough to get his own drinks and kind of do his own thing. I, being an avid diet Coke drinker, had decided that I was going to make it a point to drink more water. We actually had a contest going at work. Because of all of the water I was drinking, I was also peeing a lot. So every time I got up in the middle of the night to go, I noticed that he had gotten up also.
Then one night I paid close attention and realized that he was waking up and peeing every hour at night. This was alarming. I realize now that I knew then. My husband’s sister had been a type 1 since she was 4 and so I knew that my kids were predisposed to developing it and it was always on my radar. It was just a blip on the radar, I didn’t really think it would ever happen, but it was always there in the back of my mind. So I think that deep down I actually knew what was happening. But other than the frequent urination he didn’t seem to have any symptoms other than he had gotten really skinny. But he was a very active 10 year-old boy, so that in and of itself, was not alarming. He didn’t look or act sick (he had a little bit of a cold, but nothing out of the ordinary). Having worked in the Emergency Room for so long, I knew what DKA was and that is what I would have expected to see. So, while I was alarmed, I didn’t rush him in anywhere.
In a weird twist of fate that I will forever be grateful for, his little brother, Small, had been fighting a high fever and stomach ache for 2 days so when I called to make him an appointment with our pediatrician, I asked if they could fit them both in. And I actually told the gal on the phone that if they couldn’t get them both in then I would just bring Small because he was sicker. I shudder to think what would have happened if Small hadn’t been sick or they couldn’t see them both at the office that day. I am certain that we would have done what most everyone else does and waited until he got REALLY sick. A mother’s intuition.
So there we were. Medium was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Actually, it’s kind of funny. (Not funny “ha ha”, but funny “strange”). No one actually diagnosed him with anything, out loud anyway. It wasn’t until the next day in the hospital when I had to come right out and ask someone, “does this mean Medium has diabetes?” I mean, I knew he did. I knew he did the minute the pediatrician said Medium had glucose and ketones in his urine and we needed to do a blood test. And just in case I wasn’t sure then, I certainly was when one of the lab tech’s said to the other lab tech (this sounds like a punchline to a joke, but I assure you, T1D is no joke) “wow, that’s high!” She was referring to Medium’s blood glucose level of 565 mg/dL. Although I am not a nurse, I had worked in an ER for 9 years, so I knew that you don’t get a blood sugar reading that high for any other reason, but, as a mother, there is that part of you that holds on to the ever-so-slight-albeit-still-there hope that maybe, JUST MAYBE, it is something else. Something else that is not so horrible, not so life altering, not so dangerous, not so…..permanent.
But I would be wrong. The answer to my question was, quite simply, “yes, Medium has diabetes.” And so there it was. Ironically, it was the dietician that told me, not the endocrinologist or the diabetes educator or the nurse. Medium was laying in the hospital bed and she was standing on one side of him and I was standing on the other, and her words just hung in the air over him. I swear I could almost see them, the words, “Medium has diabetes” dangling over him. I wanted to reach out and grab them and shove them back in her mouth or throw them in the trash can or beat the crap out of them Office Space style . I just didn’t want them. Period. But they were out there and there was nothing I could do about it.
The next couple of days in the hospital were full of education for my husband and I and playtime for Medium. We met with the diabetes educator and dietician each day for several hours to learn all about type I diabetes, counting carbs and insulin. Because we caught Medium’s diabetes before he got really sick, he just laid around and played Xbox from his hospital bed and played basketball in the playroom at the hospital. I think I went into “Warrior Mom” mode. Here all the information was being thrown at us, and we were in the hospital and my husband was going home at night to take care of our two other boys, and I had this “I am woman, hear me roar, I can handle anything” attitude. Oh my how this would change.
Wow, our dx stories are eerily similar! Your son’s dx was 1yr and 3 days after my son. My son was 9 though. I too noticed the frequent bathroom trips. Finally after busy work weeks and kids social schedules, I remembered to make him an appointment @ the dr. It was a crazy Friday afternoon, in the doctor’s office being told “you need to go straight to the hospital now, he has diabetes.” Here I was on Friday afternoon, 2 kids in the doctor’s office with red lights on video games! I’m thinking, I can’t go to the hospital with dead video games, these kids will drive me crazy! :). Any way, enough rambling about our diagnosis, I know you know you aren’t alone in this crazy D world, but just wanted to chime in on how much I enjoy your blog, I’m glad to find a mom of a BOY w/ D, I’ve read a lot of girls blogs, :). Nothing against the girls, and certainly not glad that you have jumped into the crazy life of D! Have a great weekend. We are off to D camp very early in the morning!!
Hi Allison! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I totally know what you mean about dead video games. We waited a long time at the pediatrician’s office while they made arrangements to send us to the hospital. Then hours in the ER before we were moved to a room, and we didn’t have ANY electronic device! The only thing I had to keep him occupied was my phone and I needed it to call people about what was going on and it was almost dead too! Medium is going to D camp this summer too! He goes in July. You’ll have to let me know how it was. Has your son gone before?
Reading your story brings tears to my eyes~We too were at the doctors office on Jan 24, 2012 and got the same diagnosis as you. I noticed my 9 year old son was drinking a lot of water and using the bathroom more. His teacher was a health nut and a runner I blamed her for him wanting to drink more water which in turn makes you go to the bathroom more. He had also had off and on stomachaches and headaches for about a month before. I made our pediatrician check him for diabetes and I’m glad my radar was right on before he got really sick. I am following your blog now can’t wait to catch up on what all you have been through.
Wow, Melinda! It amazes me that through the power of the internet, two people who started an almost identical journey on the very same day, can find each other! I look forward to hearing more about how your son is handling all of this! Thanks for following my blog!
Blessed to have stumbled on your blog! My daughter, age 10 was diagnosed on April 2, 2013. The doctor focused on an eating disorder during a visit for strep. My daughter doesn’t even know what an eating disorder is! Weeks prior we were having a discussion about her increased intake of water. We are big water drinkers, but she was really drinking a lot of water! We even had a discussion about weight loss and increase thirst. Instinctively thinking she needed to be tested for diabetes. Your thoughts are everything that I have been feeling and haven’t had the time to put into words, let alone figure out Ratio’s! We will have our second Endo appointment on Friday and then off to Middle School on Monday. Lexi has never once looked back and takes it all in stride. So proud of her. She is so strong. We even spent our summer back home in Upstate NY and I held my breath travelling on the plane with a “diaper bag” full of ice packs, snacks and meals. Looking forward to reading more about your journey as we are 4 months into ours.
It’s Thanksgiving Day, and I happened upon your diabetes daily colun, “10 Reasons I’m Thankful My Son Has Diabetes.” Thankfully for my mom, I didn’t get type 1 diabetes until I was a senior in College. So it was me, not mom, that inherited the responsibility of managing this most life consumming disorder.
Now 24 years into this, I am thankful that there are no eye problems, strokes, etc. I sometimes tell my friends that diabetes is my hobby to which I get strange and befuddled looks. I’m not going to say I’m “thankful” for diabetes. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to investing a fair amount of positive emotional energy into managing my diabetes. Yes, I look forward to my doctor/nurse visits, I get excited when my latest basil fast reveals some hidden spike in my blood sugars, and I love my insulin pump. And if my doctors could “cure” my diabetes without killing me on the operating table (high risk transplants have been available since 1999), I’d do it without hesitation, but I’d kinda miss the diabetes, which sounds perverse but I think is actually healthy.
Wishing you many happy gallons of sugar-free lemonade,
Henry of Shreveport LA