9 Sep 2015
I think like most of the people that have develop T1D, it was totally unexpected. It could have been acute, acting like a sickness or a slow on-set of a things that did not add up, like your vision that is not as sharp as it once was or the loss of concentration and the ability to follow a concept from start to finish, and maybe you lost your balance every now and again when you stood up real fast. With the slow on-set, you can take each one of these symptoms individually and give them a valid reason like you may need glasses, or you are stressed out, or you got a head rush, then steps in the tell-tale sign of T1D. Weather it is acute or a slow on-set, it is the thirst and multiple trips to the bathroom that finally throw up the red flags.
I can remember the day I put 2-n-2 together for my daughter. She was a high school sophomore and had been complaining about little things over the course of about a month or so. It was not the same issue every time and did not seem exceedingly pressing. She had always been healthy and was rarely sick, so I thought, well it’s time to go into the eye doc and have a checkup or the classes you are taking are pretty tough so your stress factor is probably pretty high or don’t get out of bed so fast because you will get a head rush. I did not put any of these together until I remembered hearing her get up at night to use the bathroom. I did not wake up for every instance so I was under the impression that it was only once a night. So we were sitting around getting ready to watch a movie and I said that I noticed she was getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and sometimes it seemed like it was more than once, and she said “About 5 times.” I remember my heart sinking at that very minute because I knew something was up and had a fairly good idea what it was, but did not say anything to my wife or daughter, I just said “We need to get you into your doctor tomorrow.” The next day was kind of a blur for all of us, but as I remember it, my wife and daughter went to the doctor and they ran the normal tests. They were told to stick close by for the results, so they went to Whole Foods, which is where my wife got the call and the Dr. said they needed to go to Children’s Hospital in Seattle immediately. They went on to say that my daughter had a high sugar level and most likely had developed Juvenile Type 1 Diabetes. Now, I think that when most people are first diagnosed with T1D, unless they are already very sick, they really do not know what it is or how it works and how dangerous it is, so of course they went out to lunch at Red Robin and had a big hamburger and milkshake. Needless to say when they finally got to Children’s my daughters sugar level was running at 670 and ketones were present and elevated. I often think of that meal as the last “free” supper.
So here is where our family life with T1D begins. As you may have surmised, I am not a diabetic, but as any parent of a diabetic child will admit, you live every moment, that’s 24/7, in fear for your child’s well-being, and would gladly take the shots and testing in their stead. Since I cannot, our family has decided to take on Type 1 by writing about our fight and the paths we have taken, good and bad, in the hope that others can make better and more informed decisions and take us one step closer toward a cure. And I truly believe that in my life time there will be a cure.