November is a special month for us, we honor my daughter and her Diagnosis with Type One Diabetes. We also recognize Diabetes awareness month, and have found ways over the years to share our story. The first question we always get is “how did you know?” And so, here it is:
Four years ago my baby girl was three years old. It started slow. I noticed she was super thirsty. She always had a sippy cup, and it was always being refilled with water. But we live in the South, and it’s hot- so I thought she was just always thirsty. Then over a few weeks time I noticed she was scratching large sores in to her arms and legs- she always complained of being itchy. I thought it was a phase. Then I noticed she was going potty ALL the time. We couldn’t make it across town with out having to stop at least once or twice to find a bathroom. She’d been potty trained for a year and a half at that point. So this was concerning. And then the hunger started. She was always hungry. She would cry she was so hungry. I thought it must be growth spurt.
In the midst of this she had bronchitis. And was put on a steroid. Many of these symptoms mirrored the side effects of steroids. Still I called the Dr. I expressed my concerns. They told me it was nothing, the medication would wear off. For three weeks I watched and worried. I watched her sores get worse, and her face get gaunt. I took her in to the Dr. so many times they thought I was crazy. They told me to stop worrying. I begged for tests.
One night in the middle of the night she was crying because she was thirsty. And I knew. I knew this was not a phase, or a growth spurt. I knew this was something more. I knew the Dr.’s weren’t listening to me, and I knew what we needed to do.
A simple finger stick the next day confirmed my fears. Type One Diabetes. An autoimmune disease, choosing to present its self when she was tiny and three years old. Born with the genetic predisposition, and not a thing we could have done to prevent it.
We spent four days in the hospital stabilizing her, and learning about our new normal. We learned about the pancreas, and we learned about insulin. We learned about carbohydrate counting, and we learned about ketones. But mostly we confirmed what we already knew- our daughter was a warrior. And even though there was no cure, there was treatment. And she would be ok.
We have our days. Our days when we cry and we are angry. Days that seem like this is all too much. But mostly we have good days. Days of strength. Days of continuous blessings. Days of miracles.
Our Type One Warrior is a miracle. She is a fighter every single day. She does all those normal every day kid things- with the constant reminder that she is “different”. She juggles school work, ballet, and girl scouts in addition to counting carbs, managing “highs and lows” and answering a million questions from curious classmates. She advocates for herself, and for other’s with differences. And she knows that she can be whatever she wants to be.
And so this November, and every November moving forward I invite you to become aware of those around you with Type One Diabetes and the every day courageous battle they are fighting.