February 18, 2013 was a Monday. It was President’s Day. The kids were out of school. It was also the day Brendan was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
I would like you all to know how we realized Brendan has Type 1 Diabetes. I find most people don’t know the symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes. Brendan had been complaining that he “didn’t feel good.” When I would ask him what was wrong, he said nothing specific, he just didn’t feel well. I assumed he was just tired or worn out from a long day at school. At the same time, I noticed that Brendan was finally growing and losing some of the fullness in his sweet cheeks. I didn’t think much about it, other than a growth spurt, which is common at his age (8 at the time). Brendan would sometimes get emotional about things that left us baffled. We thought, why is he reacting this way? When he began chugging bottles of water and eating ice in the middle of the night, I knew something wasn’t right.
I called his pediatrician’s office and they asked us to come in that day. Since the boys were out of school, I had Kaine and Brendan home with me. I asked Don to meet us at the doctor’s office. We had “Googled” his symptoms, and the top result was Type 1 Diabetes. Of course we thought it could not be that! I mean, Brendan was a healthy kid! Right!? Dr. Long, who is one of the most precious physicians known to man, came into the room after testing Brendan’s blood sugar and having a urine test done. He looked at us and said that Brendan’s results were consistent with Type 1 Diabetes. You know that “brave face” I always put on in front of the kids? Well, that went straight out the window and I lost my composure….cried my eyes out.
What? We can’t fix that! We can’t make that go away!? What did we do wrong?! We don’t feed them junk food all the time!? Although I didn’t say any of these things out loud, they all ran through my mind at the same time. As I cried aloud, Don looked at me as if “You are scaring the kids!” There was nothing I could do to stop the rush of emotion that had just flooded my heart and mind. I pulled myself together. I looked at Brendan and he is just chilling, like nothing happened. So, I start thinking, how are we going to explain this to him??!!
Dr. Long excused himself from the room after explaining a few things to Brendan and the rest of the family. I calmed myself. We asked Brendan if he had any questions and he remained cool as a cucumber. Amazing child! Does he understand what is happening!!? ? Dr. Long then came back into the room and informed us that due to his high blood sugar level, so high the machine could not read it properly and the fact he was already showing ketones in his urine, we needed to take him directly to Vanderbilt Children’s ER. WHAT?! We may have to stay overnight. WHAT!? As most of you know, I didn’t say these things out loud, but I was freaking out inside. I fix everything! No matter what, I will fix it! I am a mommy, that’s what I do. I can’t fix this!
Once we arrived at the ER, Brendan remained calm as they hooked him up to all kinds of machines. He is such a trooper. We soon got the news that Brendan was in DKA, Diabetic Ketoacidosis. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it is a serious condition that can lead to diabetic coma. Brendan’s body was not producing insulin and the high level of ketones in his body was poisoning him. We would have to spend the night in the ICU so he could be monitored. We felt helpless. Kaine was scared. Brendan was scared, but you couldn’t tell by looking at him. He is such a brave boy! Kaine went with Don to the house in order to gather what he would need while in the hospital. He ran through the house gathering what he thought would make Brendan comfortable and happy. Don said there is no way he could have done it so quickly without him! What a great big brother!
During the next 24 hours, our lives would be forever changed. We began learning our “new normal.” Brendan would need to be on two types of insulin which would equate to four shots a day. He would have to check his blood sugar by pricking his finger before every meal and anytime he felt “weird.” He knew exactly what that meant. Bless his heart! We are so proud of Brendan and the way he handled everything.
Once we returned home, we began to work through his workbook to help him understand. There was a page that asked him to circle the “faces” (sad, happy, confused). To my surprise, he didn’t circle the mad face or the sad face. Brendan circled the happy face. I asked him why the happy face? He said, “Mom, now I know what’s wrong with me.”
In the days and months that followed, Brendan continues to amaze us. He has been so brave throughout all of this. Kaine has been such a great help and support! He helps cook dinner, measure servings and calculate carb/insulin ratios. We are getting the swing of things. Brendan is looking forward to testing insulin pumps. He is ready to sign up for soccer. We need to let him continue to the boy he is meant to be. Although we are scared, it is very important for him to remain active.
We will be walking in the JDRF Walk for the Cure on September 28th at the Bicentennial Mall in Nashville. I invite you to join our team, Brendan’s Team Type 1. If you cannot walk with us, please feel free to make a donation, either on-line or by mail. Our goal is $500.00. We’d love to surpass that! We need to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes! JDRF is leading the way! We would love to have your support. This cause is very close to our heart. Along with research, they give us such a wonderful support group of families that are going through the same issues.
Thank you all for all of the prayers! Brendan is strong and we are a strong family. It’s not always easy, but we can conquer anything as long as we are together.
Thank you so much! See you on walk day!
Don, Tracey, Kaine and Brendan
|Brendan's Team Type 1||Raised|
|Mary Anne Pitifer||$0.00|
|Denotes a Team Captain|
Bailee, Chandler & Tori Nalls
Barbara and Harold Brackett
Charlie & Candi Eadler
Company- Altria Group
Dawn Gauthier - Dawn Gauthier Integrative Wellness
Jan and Virg Allison
Judy and Chipper Nalls
Mary Anne Pitifer
Matt Gorham,III, D.D.S.
Mr. Francois Leclair
Mrs. Cindy Perry
Mrs. Nancy J Worley
Mrs. Sabrina Best
Ms. Chrissy Anne Marie Pitifer
Ms. Kayla Knight
Rod and Keri Merkley
Tracey "Mom" Robertson
Walk Day Donations