Tuesday, June 22, 2010

One year ... a different kind of anniversary

And not one that we will be celebrating.  I wonder if anyone other than me will even remember this date.  One year ago today, our world was changed in ways that I couldn't have anticipated.  Joshua was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  This photo was as we entered the hospital.

I didn't know much about Type 1 prior to this date.  I had suspected that he had this disease as it fit the symptoms he was displaying.  It became very clear while we were on vacation that something was just not right.  Here are some of the common symptoms  that Joshua displayed. 

*frequent urination (sometimes every 15 minutes)

*excessive hunger - food is not getting through so they are literally starving

*mood swings - I really only noticed this in hindsight.   I've heard this from a lot of others too!

Those are the biggest ones.  He didn't feel well.  He threw up one night at the beach (too much sugar at his brother's birthday party).  I called the doctor while we were at the beach and made an appointment for the following Monday asking them to check for diabetes.  I was concerned, but truly had no idea.  I had no idea how hard this would be.  A friend told me the same thing after visiting.  She told me that she heard what life was like, but really had no idea how much time and energy it took to deal with it. 

More than 90% of diabetics are Type 2.  Most of the information that people have or know about diabetes is true for Type 2.  Yes, there are some similarities, but there are many differences.  Type 1 used to be called Juvenile Diabetes.  Sometimes I wish it still were as it distinguishes the two kinds a bit more.  Here are some facts about Type 1.

*Type 1 does not occur because of anything you have done.  It is an autoimmune disease.  Something goes wrong in the body and it starts attacking the pancreas.  Usually by the time of symptoms, there has been damage to this organ.  Eventually it will stop working altogether.

*In order to live, a person with Type 1 needs insulin.  This is not a crutch, but is giving the body what it needs to be able to function.  Left untreated, a person with Type 1 will die.  It still happens - even in our country.

*In the early part of the disease, most people have a "honeymoon".  What a name.  This means that the body is still producing some insulin.  The needs for insulin during the honeymoon period are small and some may not need it at all.    Joshua is still in this period.

Though the last few days have given me reason to wonder if he may be coming to the end of that period.  I expected our time at the beach to have more lows.  When we were there last fall, it happened often.  There weren't as many this time and maybe being on the pump helped.  What I started seeing though were unexplained highs - mostly in the mid-morning.  We could typically get him back down though.

On Saturday, the day we left the beach, we tested mid-morning and saw something we had never seen before.  No number on his meter.  Just words.  High Glucose.  His number was over 600!  Just like when he was diagnosed.  I have no idea how this happened.  :(  We fought most of the afternoon to get his numbers back down to normal.  I seriously thought we might be headed back to the hospital.  I'm thankful we didn't have to.

Yesterday, he again had a high mid-morning number.  Then two hours later.  He was 47!  Not good.  It also makes me wonder what is going on with him.  I talked with an endo and we have a plan for the next couple of days.  I'm trying to troubleshoot and figure out where there might be a problem.  As someone said, it could be so many things ... hormones, activity level, stress, foods, phase of the moon, change in tides, etc.  (Just kidding about the moon - it is just an expression that sometimes it just can't be figured out.)

Would you pray for wisdom for us as we try to sort out how to handle all of this?  The plans I was to try are not working and I'm calling our endocrinologist first thing in the morning.  I had to give him a shot tonight.  He didn't say anything, but wasn't thrilled about it.  I asked him later how it was and he told me it hurt.  I hate hurting my kids.  I know that he would hurt much worse without it though.  I'm just ready to get him back in a good place with his numbers.  It really affects him to have such bad high numbers and I know too that it can affect his health.

So, as we mark a year of diabetes, what can I find to be thankful for?  I know I'm to consider it all joy when I face trials.  (Isn't it harder though when the trial is that of a child?) 

I'm thankful that his disease was caught early. 

I'm thankful that none of his lows have put him in a coma.  (Something he heard a medical person say one time and still scares him.)

I'm thankful for the excellent care he has received!

I'm thankful that with insulin he can live and do most things that he wants to do!

I'm thankful for the pump which has given him *and* me a lot more freedom.

I'm thankful for JDRF and the advances that are continually being made.  We do hope that one day there will be a cure!

I'm thankful that God can use this to help us be more sensitive to others.  To be more understanding of physical difficulties.

I'm thankful that we are all having to learn to eat in more healthy ways.  Still something that we need to work on!

I'm thankful for a brave little boy who has learned to deal with far more than any little boy should have to. 

I'm thankful that we serve a loving God.

I'm thankful that one day his body will be healed!

I'm thankful for this amazing little boy.