Our daughter Allie was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes about 8 years ago, and it’s a day I’ll never forget. As any mom would, I remember it all like it was yesterday. First of all, in case you’re going through a similar journey, know that you’re not alone and that you have an entire community to support you.
Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes
The only symptom Allie was having was excessive thirst. By excessive, I mean, I was refilling her water bottle every hour. I just had a gut feeling that something was wrong. Just for reference, some other symptoms of Type 1 diabetes are:
- unquenchable thirst
- frequent urination
- in babies and toddlers, heavy diapers
- fatigue and weakness
- in children with no previous concerns, sudden bedwetting
- weight loss (despite an increased appetite)
- decreased energy level
- irritability and mood changes
- blurry vision
- a fruity smell to the breath
Allie didn’t have any of these other symptoms. She was growing as a 4-year-old should, always had a smile on her face, and had a ton of energy!
The longest day of my life and the words Type 1 diabetes
I have an amicable relationship with our nurse practitioner, and I remember her looking at me like I was crazy because I wanted her to check Allie’s blood sugar. As I said, the only sign of Type 1 diabetes Allie was having was excessive thirst. In addition, the weather had been warm, so our nurse practitioner attributed it to that. After talking it over, she finally agreed to test her urine. Within minutes, that test came back abnormal. After a short conversation, we immediately went downstairs to the lab to get bloodwork. All I remember from that experience was trying to hold a screaming child in my arms while the technician was taking what seemed like endless amounts of blood for various tests.
On the way home, I remember Allie fell asleep. Understandably, she was so exhausted from crying. I cried, too, all the way home. I remember walking in the door and just feeling numb. So many scenarios were going through my mind. Later that evening, the phone rang, and it was the doctor’s office. Before I even answered the phone, I had a gut feeling that Allie had diabetes, but just hearing those words out of the nurse practitioner’s mouth brought more tears to my eyes. I remember feeling so devastated. How could this be happening to my baby girl? Why her? Why us?
Thankful for my mom
I let myself have a pity party for a little while and had another really good cry. I called my mom to let her know what was happening. Isn’t it amazing that moms always know what to say? She said all of the right things that she knew I needed to hear at that very moment. I guess that’s why through the years, I always depended on her. She always made things better and put my mind at ease.
My emotions continued to be all over the place. Then, I remembered what a friend had told me a long time ago. That, as humans, we get to choose how we show up every day. I chose to stay positive and maintain a sense of peace in a moment when everything felt so heavy. I needed to for my family and, most of all, for my baby girl.
A night I will never forget
After receiving the call from the pediatrician, we ended up having to spend one night in the hospital for additional testing and diabetes education. I packed a bag, some snacks, and left my other daughter’s (Cameron 6, and Ainsley 2) home with my husband. The local hospital wasn’t able to treat her as they didn’t have a pediatric endocrinologist on call. We had to receive treatment at a hospital in downtown Charlotte. I called my husband, he came and picked us up, and we all drove downtown. The weather was awful, it was pouring rain, and the skies were so dark except for the lightning strikes. As you can imagine, it was a very stressful drive.
Finding something to be thankful for
I was amazed by how good the girls were behaving as it was late and everyone was tired. It was a long day for all of us, but especially the kids, and they held it together very well. My husband and I were mentally exhausted, so I am so thankful for well-behaved girls. Our room was ready for us when we arrived as they were expecting us. We got settled in as much as you can in a hospital room and waited for the doctor to arrive. I felt guilty that he had to leave his home and drive in this awful weather.
It ended up being a night I will remember forever as our family met one of the kindest people on earth, Allie’s pediatric endocrinologist! For privacy, I won’t mention his name, but he showed up around 10:00 pm and stayed with us for over 2 hours! Seriously, what doctor does that? As a result, we felt so much better after spending time with him. He explained things to us in terms we could understand, and most importantly, he was the best listener. I rambled on, and he just sat there and listened to my concerns. He was a light to our family on a very dark day and provided hope and reassurance.
Days and nights of Type 1 diabetes research
Once we arrived home the following day, I spent hours researching, reading books, listening to podcasts, talking to functional medicine doctors, and research hospitals. Healthy lifestyle blogs became my favorite, as I sought out information that could help Allie. Likewise, I became a self-trained chef trying out more recipes than you can ever imagine. I learned very quickly how important exercise is in controlling blood sugar. FYI, jumping on a trampoline makes your blood sugar drop quickly!
Overall, we’ve had some ups and downs along the way, but eating healthy, exercise, sleeping well, and mindfulness have made the journey a lot easier for us. Also, even though Allie requires insulin, there is so much more we do to help manage blood sugars.
Where we are now
I’ve become a mom on a mission and have turned my mess into my message! Furthermore, I became certified as a holistic health coach so I could help Allie live a long, healthy life! We’ve been homeschooling for five years, and it works for our family lifestyle. Finally, Allie continues to thrive with Type 1 diabetes, both physically and emotionally. We focus on healthy nutrition, daily exercise, quality sleep, and mindfulness.
Finally, my goal for this blog is to share as much information as I can about living a healthy lifestyle. I’ll be adding healthy recipes, fitness tips, and healthy habits to live a well-balanced life. If you’re looking for someone to walk alongside you on your health journey, check out my programs at https://www.ourintentionallifestyle.com/programs/.