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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ellen's T1D: How it Began

In December 2016 Ellen developed her annual seasonal allergies.  On Dec 28th I took her in to the clinic and they prescribed allergy meds for her.  She weighed in at 98 lbs, I forget how tall, but she's taller than my chin and I am about 5'4" or so. 

A week or so before this; late December, Ellen started developing a powerful thirst.  As time went on into January 2016 it worsened.  She began drinking unusual amounts of juice and water and spent quite a bit of time going back and forth to the restroom.  Even more unusual she began getting up at night to go pee; sometimes twice. 

This concerned me, but not overly at first.  I just figured it was the allergy meds that was making her thirstier than usual.

But then I noticed that she seemed to be losing weight.  And at the same time she was eating more.  In the evening, not an hour after eating a full meal she began to complain of being hungry.  She'd eat a pbj and some fruit, along with a glass or two of water. 

About oh, January 10th or 11th so I began to worry.  I mean, really worry, because all the signs pointed to one thing.

I was in tears when I went to Gary.  He reassured me that there wasn't any family history of diabetes and surely it was because of the meds and a growth spurt.  But we agreed that I'd take her in to get checked out, just in case.

The dr appointment was for the evening after school on Tues the 17th. 

But come Saturday, we agreed that I'd take her to the walk-in clinic to get checked out.

It was to be the last normal Saturday morning of our lives. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

"Why Me?"

Ellen finally asked me that this evening.  I'd wondered when or if she would ask it.  A very natural question any intelligent person of age would ask.  I didn't have a good answer.

I broke down. 

The whole scene only lasted 3-4 minutes, but it still it breaks my heart.

Yes, I know.  There are all the usual answers that can be trotted out.  Good answers.  Answers that are uplifting and enlightening.  But those can only be understood and accepted by the mind after the heart has grieved. 

How do you tell a child that she should be glad she isn't the little girl in town with cancerous brain tumors?  At age nine empathy is not an easy thing when you are undergoing injections of your own. 

At age nine you don't want to hear how you can still go on to do great things, live a long and healthy life with type one diabetes hounding your every step.  A needle is a needle.  Daily injections are a dreaded looming monster.  

A future irrevocably changed. 

Innocence lost. 

Thankful:  I am thankful that my child is finally starting the emotional healing process by questioning.  Perhaps it will help us all to heal.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

I Don't Know What to Write

Last Saturday, January 14, 2017,  Ellen was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In the jargon I have recently learned she is T1D, a type one diabetic. 

I fully intend on writing the story all down in here and I rehearse the words and ideas in my mind while I am putt-putting up and down the road on the 4-wheeler in the mornings, graining the animals.  While I am doing dishes, elbow-deep in suds and comforting warm water, the phrases flow through my mind effortlessly.

But when I sit down here at the computer it is all a jumble.  My emotions are still right under the surface and trying to put the story into words is painful. 

For now I only wish to urge you, whatever your age, if you have children in your life or not, please read up on the signs of both type on and type two diabetes.  Diabetes can rear its ugly head in any child of any age, and on any adult of any age, regardless of family history.  There is no history of type one diabetes on either side of Ellen's family. 

Type 2 can be controlled by diet and lifestyle, Type 1 cannot, but the symptoms are pretty much the same:

Excessive thirst
Excessive urinating
Excessive hunger, even after eating
Weight loss, in spite of the huge amounts of eating
Signs of dehydration
Fatigue, dragginess
And in the last stage before it becomes super, super critical; ketosis, or sweet-smelling breath. Not long after ketosis (which means the body is consuming itself and becoming acidic) a coma can set in.

These are all the signs I saw in Ellen.  For a week or two I tried to deny it.  I even made her an appointment for Tues Jan 17th.  But I became scared, super scared and took her to the walk-in clinic on Saturday.  Yes, her blood sugar tested high at 390 and we were advised to get her to the emergency ASAP.

It's at this point my emotions break and I can't go any further now. 

Thankful:  I am so thankful that somewhere along the line I had read up on the signs of diabetes.  I am thankful that Ellen is feeling so much better.  I am thankful that diabetes can be treated; with careful management and God's grace Ellen will live a long and otherwise healthy life.  I am thankful that though Ellen does not like the pokes and injections, she has not fought this, she has not questioned "Why me?"  At least not out loud to me.  I am thankful that I still have my precious girl.