I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when I was 13. It was January 5, 1990. The morning of my diagnosis was the first day back at school from the Christmas break. My mother vowed that even if we were DYING we were going to be going to school. (I now understand ) The morning of getting onto the school bus I had (about) 8 glasses of water, 5 glasses of milk and then I begged my mother to let me suck on an orange at the bus stop. I was JUST.SO.THIRSTY. I remember before the holiday break, I was talking to my then BFF Jamie. My mother had mentioned that she wanted to get me tested for diabetes. I scoffed. I was telling her this story.
Up until then, I had never really been sick. My forte was breaking bones. I had broken my left arm three times and my right are once and had been on crutches all before I left elementary school in fifth grade.
We go to the doctor that afternoon, in Monroe. A lady from our ward was an ARNP at one of the clinics. They took some blood and diagnosed me with Type I Diabetes. From there, we went over to the hospital where I received my first shot, had a vein collapse because of a terrible phlebotomist and a doctor lean into my face until he was about two inches away and ask me to blow in his face. I was horrified. Breathe into his face? I actually argued with him. In the end, he won. What I didn’t know at the time was that they were terrified that I was in ketoacidosis. Which if I haven’t mentioned it before, it kills you. REALLY FAST. As in a couple of days you’re dead.
I wasn’t in ketoacidosis, but I sure was tired, thirsty, peed like a racehorse and had terrible aching full leg (as in from the tops of my thighs down to my toes) cramping. I was always taught to get up and walk them off when it happens. They just wouldn’t go away. They gave me a small shot of insulin and sent my mother home with needles and insulin and instructions on how to give shots.
Through my teenager years, I had a hard time. I was hospitalized numerous times, went through a myriad of testing for various things and was told to never ever have any children.
Not one for giving up or giving in, I got actively involved with my local ADA. I volunteered at family weekend getaways where families would come who had children with type I diabetes and we would take care of the children while the parent’s had their own classes and were able to meet and become friends of other parent’s. We all lived with it, it was just a matter of if you had type I or were a sibling or a parent. I also went to camps where we were all diabetics. It was nice to meet others who were going through what I was going through. One thing I noticed in the getaways, there were a lot of parents who had type I diabetes as well. Truthfully it scared the snot out of me.
I went on to have children of my own. I found a doctor who would work with me, with my diabetes. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. 4 children I gave birth to. 3 living children. I have a 13 year old, an 11 year old and my Lily is 2. None of my children have shown signs of type I diabetes. Until recently. Lily has lost 4 pounds in the last three months. She’s thirsty a lot of the time. She’s always hungry. So I finally broke down and talked to a doctor about it. They are genuinely concerned. She is showing classic symptoms. She is also at a greater risk because of ME. So since she isn’t too sick, they are still alert to the facts that they can’t ignore. They sent me home with a jar to collect her urine in. They are doing that because sometimes in the beginning, you go through a honeymoon period. She finally peed in the cup tonight. And had moderate ketones. I’m heartbroken. Devastated. I knew the risk of having children and their risk of getting it. I just didn’t think it would be at 2. I wasn’t worried until my older kids well, got older. I was 13. I wasn’t even thinking about Lily until her clothes were getting loose on her. She went down a size in diapers. The doctor told me that toddlers are not supposed to lose weight.
I really hope I’m wrong. I hope she is healthy as a horse. I just want my children to be happy and to be able to eat what they want and not worry about what their blood sugar is. Or how much insulin they have to give to eat. Or worry about pregnancy. Or getting sick and how to manage the diabetes. Believe me, I could go on. Instead, I’m going to go to bed and cry myself to sleep.