Some days are life-changing. Like our wedding day. The births of our children. The day of salvation for each of us.
The day we found out that our 4-year-old daughter has Type 1 diabetes.
Grace has been having some weird symptoms for the past week or so. The biggest one was getting up to go potty multiple times each night.
On Wednesday, after eating a large lunch, I put Caleb and Ava down for naps, and Grace told me she felt yucky, like she needed to throw up (but wasn’t really going to throw up). I had just talked to my mom about Grace’s weird symptoms, and she mentioned that we should check her for diabetes. (Smart woman!) So, I grabbed one of Luke’s blood glucose meters and tested her blood.
I honestly expected a reading somewhere in the 100’s.
It was 576.
That is not normal.
I tried not to panic in front of Grace, as she was watching my reaction. She’s quite familiar with diabetes, since her daddy is a Type 1 diabetic. She knows that blood sugar can be high or low, and she knows that Daddy takes insulin (now through an insulin pump).
So, I called Luke and the pediatrician. At first, the pediatrician was going to have us come in for an appointment that evening, but instead sent us straight to a pediatric endocrinologist (i.e. children’s diabetes doctor) at Spectrum downtown. There was pretty much no question; Grace is diabetic.
And it was that fast. One moment I’m tucking my kiddos into bed for naps, thinking about how much housework I can get done before leaving for church, and the next minute I’m discovering that my daughter has a life-long chronic illness.
Shocking. And surreal.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that they did not have to hospitalize Grace. (When Luke’s diabetes was diagnosed 17 years ago, he spent 10 days in the hospital.) We did, however, spend all of yesterday morning back at the doctor’s office, being educated on pediatric diabetes and coming up with a plan for Grace’s insulin regimen.
She has been SO brave.
To be honest, I think she’s been braver than I have.
I have had moments of telling God, “This is NOT fair! She’s only FOUR years old! This is going to change her whole life!” It hurts my heart to think of the way her life will have to change. But my amazing husband has a much better perspective than I. He’s lived it, after all. He knows this isn’t a death sentence. It’s not the end of her happiness. It will change her life, yes, but it’s livable. She will have to test her blood and take shots every day, but she’ll still have JOY. She has Jesus in her heart, so she can still live with joy.
I’m thankful for Luke, and in a way so thankful that he’s walked this path before Grace had to. What could be a very scary situation for her, he has made fun at every possible turn. They are in this “together,” and it’s their special thing. Whenever Luke is home, they do their blood tests together. They count their carbs together. It’s less scary for her partly because she’s been around it all her life, and partly because she has her Daddy to walk her through it.
I’m thankful, too, that we’re ahead of the learning curve on this. Yesterday’s appointment was much shorter than it would’ve been if we had no base knowledge of diabetes. Instead, we have already been educated on diabetes – what it is, how it affects the body, how to control it with insulin and carb counting. We’ve already been living with diabetes. Now we just need to tailor it to Grace’s needs.
And that’s a prayer request for me. Even though I’m the one who cooks around here, Luke has been the main one to manage his diabetes. So it will be a bit of a challenge for me to be precise in counting carbs and calculating dosages. Giving shots hasn’t been too bad, thankfully. I have never had to give Luke a shot, so my first time giving one was yesterday. Grace does NOT like the shots (she often cries), but it’s pretty easy and quick for my part. (Thank you, Lord!) We hope to get Grace on an insulin pump as soon as possible, which would eliminate many of the shots needed. (For instance, Luke changes his pump site every 3 days, which is one poke. When he was taking individual shots, he would have had fifteen shots in that time period.)
There is much to be thankful for, including all of our wonderful family and friends who have been lifting Grace and our family in prayer this week. If that is you, thank you!
God is always good and faithful, and we will continue to praise Him even during hard times.
(The picture above is from yesterday, at the doctor’s office. She’s holding her new bear, Rufus [who she re-named Lydia Luke Rumley – hehe], from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He has patches in the places where she has to test her blood and get insulin shots. She also received blood glucose meters that are pink and purple, which she likes, along with some other fun things. I may post more pictures in the near future. Stay tuned!)
Edit – If anyone knows of a way to get an inexpensive yet working digital kitchen scale, that would be helpful for our new carb-counting adventures! Let me know! Thanks!