This is part of a one month supply that we get every month. It is all the trappings necessary to care for an insulin dependent type 1 diabetic on an insulin pump. I would so much love to be able to say that all of this belong to me. However, I cannot. You see this belongs to my 14 year old daughter. She was diagnosed a type 1 diabetic on March 5, 2010. Almost a month after her eleventh birthday. About a week before she had come to me with her little netbook that she had gotten for Christmas open to WEB MD on a page that listed all the symptoms and signs of diabetes.
These symptoms may be the first signs of type 1 diabetes, or may occur when the blood sugar is high:
Being very thirsty
Feeling tired or fatigued
Having blurry eyesight
Losing the feeling or feeling tingling in your feet
Losing weight without trying
Urinating more often
For other people, these warning symptoms may be the first signs of type 1 diabetes, or they may happen when the blood sugar is very high (see: diabetic ketoacidosis):
Deep, rapid breathing
Dry skin and mouth
Fruity breath odor
Nausea or vomiting, inability to keep down fluids
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As she walked up to me she was
crying sobbing. As her mother I was immediately concerned. I, of coursed, asked her what was wrong. Mom, I think I have diabetes. I laughed at her. I told her of course she did not have diabetes. I asked her if she had been very hungry or thirsty more than usual. She answered no. I asked her if she could see alright. She answered yes. I asked her if she could feel her feet. She answered yes. I got her calmed down and explained to her that what was probably going on with her body was puberty. She had not yet started her period, I was expecting it to happen at any time. Her face had begun to break out, and all of us women know that acne is a sure sign that puberty is either right around the corner or has just arrived. I told her to quit looking things up on the internet for crying out loud! SHe felt better about it and went on with her life. Fast forward to March 4, 2010. She had softball practice. Not just regular softball practice, she was on two teams. Little league and a travel ball team. She really was that damn good. I took her to practice and got to talking to the other moms about how thin my daughter had gotten. I asked them if they thought she looked taller. I began speculating if someone had said something to her about her weight (she had been a little pudgy but jesus she was a baby, aren't they all?!?) I asked the other moms if they thought it was possible that my daughter had developed an eating disorder. At this point one spoke up and said that her daughter had mentioned that my daughter had been giving her lunch away at school. So we all looked a little closer at her. Man, she was awful pale. White almost. She was also very slow and sluggish and uncoordinated. She definitely didn't have her head in the practice. The coach's wife called her over to have some M&M's ( what kids turns down candy and at this point we were all convinced she was anorexic). All my daughter wanted was water. When she was handed the bottle of water her hand was shaking so badly that she spilled it down the front of herself before she could get it to her mouth. At that point I called practice. Something was not right. I told my daughter I was taking her home and on the way we were stopping at the grocery store to buy whatever she wanted for dinner. Because she was going to eat dinner. She opted for a peanut butter sandwich and strawberries. I got her home got a few bites of the sandwich in her and a couple strawberries and she decided she was going to bed. I began praying for the flu. About 1 o'clock that morning she woke me up because she had vomited. I started thanking my lucky stars. Never in my life had I been so happy to think one of my children had the flu. The next morning we get up and my daughter says she is hungry. I celebrate again, and give her dry cereal in a baggie with a glass of milk. About fifteen minutes later she comes to me and says Mom I am shaking and I don't know why and I can't stop. I freaked. I loaded her up into the car and did 100 miles an hour to the hospital which is about 20 miles away. On the way to the hospital as I am talking to my daughter I notice that she has begun to slur her words. Once we get to the hospital I notice that she isn't walking correctly. She seems to be dragging her feet. We get in and I tell them her symptoms and that I have no idea what could be wrong and they rush her back to a room. The nurse explains to me that they will begin testing by drawing blood, but if that shows nothing they will have to do a spinal tap. Will I agree to that. I told that woman I didn't care what they had to do but they had better find out what was wrong with my daughter. Her heart rate was over 130 beats per minute and her blood pressure was higher than mine, and I have borderline high blood pressure. They started an IV and drew blood. Within 15 minutes the same nurse comes back in and says they have to stop the IV. I asked why. She said a doctor would be in to talk to me shortly, but in the mean time they had to get a venous blood gas. I told her to take what they needed. AT this point my daughter was barely conscience. The doctor came in a few minutes later and informed me my daughters blood sugar was over 600. The hospital was not equipped to deal with a pediatric type 1 patient, let alone someone who is newly diagnosed. They called the children's hospital which is an hour away and had her transported to the PICU there. She stayed for a week. It took 5 hours of an insulin drip for my daughter to become fully conscience. She had went into full blown diabetic keto-acidosis or DKA for short. She was literally dying. She had to have 2 IV's one to put medicine in and one to get blood out because (even to this day) she has uncooperative veins and she is a hard stick. Her potassium was dangerously low and it took 4 of the 5 days to flush all the ketones out of her system. Type 1 diabetes is an auto immune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the islets (insulin producing cells) in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes does not just happen over night. Diabetic keto-acidosis does not just happen overnight. If I had taken my daughter serious a week earlier and just taken her to the doctor and said I know it is ridiculous but check just in case my daughter would not have had to go through all of that. I will carry that guilt with me for the rest of my life. Today, three years later, she is healthy ( as healthy as she can be with uncontrolled type 1 diabetes. She is what they call brittle) and happy. Well, as happy as a 14 year old girl who attends middle school can be. We fight this monster daily. She has to check her sugar (which means pricking her finger) seven times a day at least. She has horrendous lows (in the 40's) to the point that she cannot feel her arms or legs and we have to pour as much sugar into her as fast as we can so that she doesn't pass out. She has highs( so high the meter won't read) and all she can do is sleep. One day I want to be able to say type 1 diabetes is a thing of the past. Until then, she and I will fight this one day at a time.