The First Few Days
So, here is the scoop on what happened to Love Bug and how we got to where we are:
Last Thursday, we started noticing that Love Bug was a bit more thirsty then usual. (which isn't uncommon for her to be once and a while) She was also leaking out of her diapers more often then normal. She did this on Friday and Saturday too. On Sunday and Monday mornings, she woke up just drenched, her sheets and blankets just soaked. We thought it was a little unusual for it to happen two mornings in a row but again, didn't think too much of it. We started to get a little worried she might be getting sick on Monday when she wouldn't eat anything for breakfast or lunch. All she wanted to do was drink. She was very grouchy and irritable that day too. We felt a little better when she ate a huge dinner that night. After she went to bed we decided to call the Doctor, just to be safe. We were more irritated with all the super wet diapers. We thought maybe it was just a phase she was going through. Anyway, the Doctor suggested it might be a urinary tract infection or possibly the onset of diabetes. We didn't think that either because she wasn't running a fever and hadn't at all, and diabetes don't run in my family. (that young anyway. Type 2 do later in life in both our families.) He suggested we bring her in the next day and get her urine tested. We said we would call in the morning and make an appointment.
When she woke up Tuesday morning, she was drenched, again. But this time her eyes looked sunken and she did not look well at all. We knew at that point something was wrong with her, but we still didn't think it was anything serious. (we didn't think it serious because Love Bug has been a VERY healthy kid, she has had colds and allergies but has never been on antibiotics.) We (I) called the doctor and got an appointment for later that afternoon. In the meantime, Tim had taken a comp day at work so he offered to stay home with her while I went to bible study. It gave him a change to have some one on one time with her. (Tim loves to do that) By the time I returned she didn't look much better. She wouldn't touch even her favorite foods. She would tell us that she didn't like it. When I got to the Doctors office with her she was a little lethargic. I wasn't sure what the Doctor was going to say at that point. While we were there he decided to test her blood sugar just to be on the safe side. When they did, it was so high the meter wouldn't read it. I was told to take her to the emergency room so she could be admitted to DeVos Children's Hospital. The Doctor said to expect to be there for a few days. By this time was a freaking inside but holding it together on the outside. There was a relief that we knew what was wrong but a fear that she was going to be in the hospital and she just doesn't do well with other people touching her. I pictured them having to sedate her to get an IV in and it was just a horrible feeling.
When we got to the hospital they got us in right away and got and IV and going and gave her some insulin. They also took blood for labs. She did surprisingly well for the Doctors. I think she was too sick to realize what was going on. She just whimpered a little when they put the IV in and gave her the shots. No weeping and gnashing of teeth like I had pictured there to be! I could tell when she started feeling a little better that night because she all the sudden wanted her IV out. (she had one of those splints on to keep her arm straight and a shield over her IV so she couldn't pull it out) She would tell me that it hurt and to take it off please, mommy. After Tim and I told her it had to stay on she, of course, did what any three year old would do and started screaming at us and crying. We had a big ordeal for an hour and a half but finally got her settled down. After that she slept most of the night.
The Doctors came back with the official diagnosis that it was Type 1 Diabetes. Her blood sugar was around 669 when we got to the hospital. The hospital told us Audrey had been assigned a Pediatric Endocrinologist and he would be in to see her the next day. Throughout the night they monitored her blood sugar and gave insulin shots. They also did more blood work as they tried to come up with the right dosages that Audrey would need when she got to go home. On Wednesday morning, with her blood sugar a bit more close to normal, (243) the Endocrinologist said we would be able to take her home once she was discharged and we got our training. It was all a bit overwhelming at first. When the Endocrinologist was talking to me saying four shots a day, plus blood sugar testing, plus carb counting and having to determine how much insulin she would need before each meal; I thought I was going to loose my mind. First of all, I HATE needles! Then the thought of all the other stuff I (we) were going to have to do to keep her healthy was just plain exhausting to think about. I was really doubting whether I could handle it or not. Well, Praise the Lord for diabetes educators because ours made it sound a WHOLE lot more simple then I thought it was going to be! Even the dietician was great at explaining stuff! By the time we left the Endocrinologists office I was pretty confident I could handle it at home. NERVOUS, but confident. It helps a lot that the shots we give her are with pens and not syringes. I think I would cringe a lot more if it was a syringe.
Now we have to check her blood sugar before every meal and before bed. For a while we also have to wake her up at 2am to make sure her blood sugar isn't dropping too low at night. We also have to give her a shot of insulin before every meal and bedtime. Each night, (at least for a while until they make sure it is regulated) I will have to call into the Endocrinologists office every night and talk to the Doctor. I will have to report her blood sugar levels for the day as well as how much carbs she ate at each meal and what dosage of insulin I gave her. Then based on that he will tell me if I need to tweak her insulin dose that she gets before she goes to bed. (The insulin she gets at meals is a short acting insulin and the one before bed is a long acting insulin.) Eventually I won't have to call in every night and only fax her logs to the office once a week and then down to once a month. As she gets older too she will be able to do more and eventually give herself the shots. At some point (probably not until she is much older) she will hopefully get a pump that she can wear and will replace the shots. Either way, she will have to get insulin injections for the rest of her life.
So, now we are home and managing. We are almost through the first 24 hours. It is already starting to feel like habit. I'm not completely comfortable with the shots but I am getting better. I feel like I am not very good at it but I know I'm doing it right and the doctor said it will take some time. I know there will be bumps along the way but we are trusting God to get us through. We are also praising him that it wasn't something worse and is treatable!
Thanks for all of the prayers and support that we have gotten from our friends and family. We really feel God's hand in all this and having your prayers and support behind us really helps. We love you all!
A Year Later...
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since my world was turned upside down. In some ways it seems like it was just yesterday. I have lots memories from that day. Waking up that morning and realizing that something was seriously with Audrey . Her blue lips and sunken eyes are burned into my memory. I remember Tim saying he would stay home with her so I could go to bible study (he had taken a comp day to work on the truck), since her Doctor's appointment wasn't until that afternoon. When I got home from bible study I remember her looking so sick, and Tim telling me she wouldn't eat and was just drinking. She wouldn't put her cup down.
At the doctor’s office, I remember Dave (our doctor) walking in and telling me we need to get her admitted to the hospital right away. They had tested her blood sugar there and it was high enough the meter couldn't read it. (I know now how serious that was!) Then came the phone calls, picking Annaliese up from school, and trying not to break down every time I opened my mouth. Going home and packing for the hospital and the ride to the hospital. Then getting her admitted and watching them put an IV in my little girl’s arm. I remember the sound of her screaming and then the quiet from her sleeping from exhaustion. The doctors asked if it was normal that she slept that much. I said no, but she had never been sick before either. She was so tired and looked so sick. I kept wondering what was going to happen next. There were lots and lots of questions from the doctors and more phone calls to friends and family. Then the ER doctor coming in with the official diagnosis…..Type 1 Diabetes. It all seemed so surreal. I knew it was serious when they told me, but just how serious I would soon find out.
I remember her waking up and trying to take the IV out of her arm. She just kept asking me over and over again to take it out and then the screaming that followed…..for a whole hour. She really wanted that IV out. Not even her favorite movie, Cars, would cheer her up. Then finally we figured it out, she was hungry, for the first time in almost a week. Those were the first signs I saw of her returning to her “normal” self. Then realizing as quick as I thought it, that my little girl would never be “normal” again. She just wasn’t the same little girl I had brought to the hospital a few hours earlier. She had a devastating disease. Later that night we got moved up to her permanent room. Yet another Doctor came in to asking more questions. Then finally, I had a chance to lay my head down. I couldn’t sleep though, every time Audrey moved in her bed I woke up. When she wasn’t moving a nurse was coming in to take her vitals. Then our neighbor came in, a little girl just out of surgery from a broken leg. She was in traction, and screaming.
When the sun came up the next morning I remember wondering if it was a bad dream. I looked around, thinking, nope, it’s real. Then the nurses started to come in. My good friend Julia stopped by, letting me borrow her computer so I wouldn’t get completely bored. I remember her bringing Audrey come coloring books, crayons and stickers. Then I met the Endocrinologist, and the Diabetes Educator. I remember wondering how I was ever going to take care of her. I was scared and I was suffering from information overload.
Then the news came that we would get to go home that day, but only after 3 hours of training. Training, so I could take care of my little girl at home. This was critical. If I didn’t know how to do this right, she could get seriously sick again. Those were the longest three hours of my life. Learning how to give shots, check blood sugar, use the meter, signs of high and low blood sugars, ketones, filling and changing insulin insulin pens, how to use a syringe, draw insulin from a vial, counting carbs, reading nutrition labels, and how to calculate doses, just to name a few things. My head starts spinning just thinking about it all over again.
Then, finally, we got the okay to bring her home. Praise the Lord for our great friends Matt and Jenny that brought us dinner that night. I’m not sure what I would have done with out it, probably eaten McDonald’s again for the 4th time in a couple days. I gave her her first shots at home that night, then let out a big sigh of relief when I realized, I could do it.
In the weeks and months that followed, I started learning all I could about Type 1 Diabetes and how to control it. I even researched insulin pumps. I thought that would be something that we would look into down the road in a couple years. The more I learned the more though, the more I realized how much the pump would benefit her now. So, I took my research to our Endocrinologist and he agreed. In July we were on our way to getting Audrey’s insulin pump. We ordered it and it came in August and then after 3 weeks of training, she had her pump start on September 10, 2009.
A week later we walked in our first Walk to Cure Diabetes for JDRF. That was when it really sunk in that she has this horrible disease. That she won’t ever outgrow this. She is stuck with it, as well as our whole family, for life. Unless, they find a cure. I pray everyday for that.
Through it all, I feel blessed. The Lord has blessed my family with a little less then perfect, and that’s okay. I see the world as little more broken now then I used to, but, I know that I will never be alone and that the Lord (has been and) will be there with me every step of the way. Luckily, I have also been blessed with some wonderful friends and family that have been there to support us. I don’t know what I would have done with out them. And without my husband. He has been my rock and my biggest cheerleader. I couldn’t have gotten through this first year without his love and support.