Our son Drew was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes six years ago on Dec. 28, at the age of 17 months. It was a Friday, and I can remember the day like it was yesterday. Without a doubt, it was one of the scariest and saddest days of our lives. We realized that he had diabetes by using his dad, John’s blood sugar tester. Thankfully and sadly, we knew the symptoms of high blood sugar all too well. Drew’s dad, John has been a Type 1 Diabetic for thirteen years. Looking at Drew one morning after wanting his third glass of water, we just knew. The blood sugar tester confirmed our worst fears. I thank God everyday for the experience and instincts that we had that morning, as I believe that if he would have went to daycare that day, he could have easily slipped into a diabetic coma during his nap. His blood sugar was 700+ when we got to the ER.
Having a toddler in diapers with diabetes is extremely challenging. He was wearing an insulin pump on his back before he was two years old. However, having a strong willed seven year old with diabetes is almost more challenging.
As he has gotten older he has realized that he is different. He knows that most kids (or adults, for that matter) don’t have to live with all of the pokes and regimens that he does each day, and some days he is acutely aware of how unfair it is. As his parents, we are constantly concerned about him— while he's awake and while he's asleep.
Despite all of the challenges that he faces every day, Drew thrives! He is a gregarious learner; a sports enthusiast who loves watching and playing every sport involving a ball; and is just as competitive as his dad!
He started first grade in August at Dakota Valley and loves it! He plays soccer and basketball with great determination and blends in perfectly with all of the other kids. That’s the blessing and the curse of this disease. From the outside, it is a manageable disease. But it is not an easy disease. Until you know and understand the day-to-day struggles (as his teacher, parents, nurse and grandparents do), you could easily think that it’s not that big of a deal. But you couldn't be more wrong! On top of the immediate needs of keeping him alive, you can also keep yourself awake at night, worrying about what is happening to his body on the inside that may result in complications down the road.
His finger gets poked 8-12 times a day—a task he can do by himself now! He has his site changed 3 (or more) times a week. This is also a task that he is able to do with help! How many of you could stick a 2 inch needle into your own stomach multiple times a week? Think of how you or your child feels when they need to get one flu shot!
On top of this, he’s a growing child, so his insulin needs change rapidly. What worked one day, may not work at all the next. And, whenever your relying on technology to do the job that your body is supposed to be doing— there are going to be challenges. Those days he may get poked 20 times, not to mention that until we get it fixed, he feels like absolute crap! He’s only 7… and he knows no other way.
As a parent, we all entrust our kids’ lives to others each day. Daycare providers, teachers, coaches, etc. As a parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, the significance of what you are entrusting others to do can sometimes take your breath away. What if something goes wrong? What if he gets too much insulin and slips into a coma or has another seizure? What if?
Each day we have to live with this miserable disease, we become more determined to find a cure for that which has robbed Drew (and so many others) of being a normal kid. We are hopeful and optimistic that within Drew’s lifetime, and hopefully within John’s, that there will be a cure for this terrible disease.
As we have the past five years, we beg of you to support the Juvinile Diabetetes Research Foundation as they search for a cure. Our family is unable to particpate in the walk this year, but it does not take the significance away from what this organization works to do on our and more than 15,000 other kids'who are diagnosed each year's behalf each day.
Drew is counting on you! He told his teacher last year (in kindergarten!) that: "he was NOT going to have to check is blood sugar and get insulin forever." His teacher was confused and asked what he meant. "Because they're going to find a cure!"
You can donate by going to: http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/drewsdreams. If you feel more comfortable, please send a check made out to JDRF to our home at 212 E. Sawgrass Trail, Dakota Dunes, SD, 57049 Remember, this donation is tax-deductible!
Thank you so much for your donation— it truly does mean everything to us! Please feel free to forward this email on to anyone you think may be interested.