Type 1 diabetes diagnosis- The after effects
This picture was Clifford at the hospital during diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.
Coming to the realization that your child is ill, laying in a hospital bed unconscious from a disease that is not preventable is like ripping your heart straight out of your chest and stomping it to the ground. Type 1 diabetes is not what we hear about in the mainstream media, or movies. It’s not the diabetes that many claimed can be reversed. It’s not caused by eating too much sugar, not getting enough exercise, or just overall lazy health. Our son had just turned 6 years old two months prior, and was a healthy boy weighing only 56 lbs. When he first became sick we thought he had a bad case of the flu, he was not wanting to eat, vomiting, and laying around. Now in knowing the symptoms of type 1 diabetes which you can read more about here, I’m more familiar with what was taking place. He wanted water like there was no tomorrow, this was because he was dehydrated severely and we did not know, he was weak, not wanting to get up and move, and he was losing weight. You see Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the body mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue, in this case the islet cells in the pancreas which are responsible for insulin production. His body had been on the end of a dangerous attack from his immune system. This caused his blood sugar levels to become extremely dangerous well into the 600s and high levels of ketones had begun entering his bloodstream, putting him into Diabetic Ketoacidosis.
The thing with Type 1 diabetes is unfortunately there was nothing we could do to prevent this attack, nothing we did to trigger the attack. It’s just now a new normal, a new way of life for the whole family. In the beginning he was on 6 insulin injections a day, and was testing his blood sugar 8-10 times a day. After two years we finally were able to transition him over to an insulin pump.. We couldn’t imagine life without the insulin pump now. He still has to test his blood sugar 15 times or more a day, yes this may seem like a lot but it helps us to monitor his blood sugar better and keep it managed to a more normal level. With diabetes the problems you can face with high blood sugars for too long are irreversible, and sometimes fatal. This is why it’s important to be very diligent in making sure you are within a good target range, for Clifford it’s between 80-120. This diligent care involves more than just what you see during the day light hours of testing blood sugar, counting carbs with every meal and snack, putting the carbs into the insulin pump to determine how much insulin he must take with that meal or snack, and changing out his insulin infusion sets (these are attached to his body to help provide him with his life saving medicine (insulin). This diligent care also involves getting up multiple times a night to test his blood sugar to ensure he has a safe night of sleep. Right now that responsibility lies on Chad and I. Alarms are set at 12 and 3 am to test him, sometimes if he’s high or low we’re up much longer than those two times.
Even though it may seem like a lot, and a lot of care is involved it’s part of our everyday life. All the sleepless nights and worry are well worth it to wake up in the morning and see a smiling face of a healthy boy that just happens to live with a chronic illness.
Author note: This article is written from my point of view as a parent with a child of type 1 diabetes. I am not a medical professional, I only know from experience in dealing with Type 1, and what I’ve been trained and learned in my own research.
We want to hear from you
Do you have a child with Type 1 diabetes? How has your life changed since? And what would you like to tell other families newly diagnosed?