In March of 1988, four months before my youngest daughter Courtney turned 4 years old, we were told the heartbreaking news that our baby girl had diabetes. Some people have their God moments ....I consider this story to be one of ours.
Any mother of a three year old can tell you how demanding they can be. Courtney was no exception. It was when her whining and fussiness became abnormal that I started getting concerned. The constant thirst, so bad that I would pour her a drink and keep it within her reach in the refrigerator. Then out of the blue she started wetting the bed. What goes in must come out right? This was my reasoning anyway. Next she started complaining her eyes were hurting. I knew all of these were symptoms of something, but being a young mom, I wasn't sure what. And whatever it was, MY child didn't have it, right?
March is diabetes awareness month and the school nurse where my middle daughter Candace attended school, handed out Diabetes Awareness brochures to all of the 5th graders. Candace was only in 3rd grade so her class weren't to receive the brochures. That same evening before bedtime my husband (now ex-husband) was going through Candace's backpack, something he rarely had done before. Homework was my job. He found one of the Diabetes Awareness brochures and started reading it. One by one we began to recognize the symptoms as to what Courtney was experiencing. The next day I found an empty pill bottle and took a urine sample into her pediatrician. Arriving back at home, we could hear the phone ringing. It was her Dr. with the news there was sugar in her urine. I couldn't speak. The emotions overwhelmed me! "He's wrong"....."I didn't wash the pill bottle properly"....." It wasn't a sterile urine sample"...all of these things were said out loud to make this not seem real.
We picked her up and took her straight in to have her blood sugar tested. Sure enough it was 345, normal is 70-160. Reality struck.....my baby was going to have to take shots FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE! How am I going to do this?? I am terrified of needles! All of the horrible things ran through my mind. It took the Dr. getting firm with me to bring me to where I needed to be. He acknowledged I had a reason to be upset, but I wasn't doing my daughter any favors by breaking down in front of her. I learned then to pull it together.
I then picked up the phone and called the school nurse to tell her what her brochure had done for our family. When I told her Candace had brought one home in her backpack she replied, " Isn't Candace in 3rd grade? Those were only given out to 5th graders." I then questioned my third grader on how she got her hands on a brochure. It seems someone had found it on the floor of the school bus and put it in her backpack. A coincidence? I think NOT!........a coincidence is nothing more than God hiding behind a cloud and smiling :) Word spread fast to the American Diabetes Association about our story. We were asked to film a PSA (public service announcement) . A film crew came to our home and interviewed us. We were even approached by Good Morning America to come on the show. They ended up opting to have a Dr. on instead....darn it...oh well, TV just adds 10 lbs right? ;)
There were articles written in two different magazines as well as our local newspaper telling our story. We spent a few days in the hospital, not so much because Courtney needed to be there, we caught the diabetes quickly, but to educate us as parents. I use the term "educate" loosely. They handed me an orange and a needle and told me to practice "shooting" the orange and sent us on our way. There wasn't internet then to research like there is now. We had to find a hospital 50 miles away in Temple,TX to find proper diabetes education.
Now, let's fast forward 6 years..... I received a phone call from my brother Steve asking if he could stop by. Seems he had some questions for Courtney and me. He was telling us about a few symptoms he was starting to experience. Steve is an avid fisherman....has been for as long as I have known him *smile*
He was describing to us his symptoms of thirst. Not just any normal thirst, but a thirst where he was dipping into the lake water to quench while he was fishing. He started taking bottles of water and keeping them within reach of his bed at night so he could drink all night. I knew then we had another diabetic in the family. Those sugar free desserts were going to become more prevalent at our family get-togethers.
Now remember my daughter Candace....the little third grader......she is now 29 years old and teaches 1st grade in Navasota, TX. After a family member, Matt, started selling life insurance this year, she and her husband Jim decided to take out a policy. With that policy comes BLOOD WORK......Yuck, how we all hate it, but in reality, it can be lifesaving, no matter what the reason for having it done! A few weeks passed and Matt returned with their policy premiums and test results. Candace's premium was alot higher than Jims. After looking for the reason for this, they discovered Candace's C-Peptide level was off. This sent her straight to see an endocrinologist. His initial thought was Type 2 diabetes...but she is not overweight....weighing only 115 lbs....and her blood sugars are only slightly elevated. He thinks she is Type 1.5 otherwise known as LADA. She is still in the process of being referred to Baylor Medical Center In Dallas, TX to confirm his suspicions.
Courtney today....her diabetes has never limited her from doing anything! While in school she played volleyball, basketball, cheerleading and her favorite sport, high school rodeos. She made it to state every year in her event, which was goat tying. In Oct., 2008, Courtney was married! Four months ago, on Aug. 26th, 2010, she gave birth to her first child,my third grandson, Lane Greyson!
As for my brother Steve....he is still quite the fisherman....providing all the fish for family fish fries!
Diabetes is a nuisance and can be a mean interruption of life, but with faith and trust in God, you can have the strength to live a normal life!
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor foresake you."
Symptoms of diabetes in children:
1. Extreme thirst and frequent urination
2. Extreme hunger
3. Weight loss
5. Irritability or unusual behavior
6. Blurred vision
7. Yeast infection