This is the third year our family will be taking part in JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes.
Type 1, or juvenile diabetes, is a devastating disease that affects millions of people, a large and growing percentage of them children.
Ellie was diagnosed on January 17, 2011, when she was just 21 months old. She had been sick with flu-like symptoms over that weekend and wasn't getting any better. Her breathing was starting to become labored, and she was extremely lethargic. After bringing her to the doctor, we learned that Ellie had type 1 diabetes. What we had thought was just the flu was really diabetic ketoacidosis -- a life-threatening complication caused when her pancreas stopped making insulin. Her body was no longer able to get the sugars out of her blood to use for energy, and it began attacking her fat cells instead.
We were completely shocked by her diagnosis and completely overwhelmed at all we had to learn and do to take care of her. While counting carbs and calculating insulin doses has gotten somewhat easier with time, it's still an awful feeling having to prick her little fingers and give her shots. Her fingers get pricked at least 5-6 times a day (more on a day when she's not in her target range), and she gets 5 shots a day to provide her body with the insulin she's no longer able to make on her own. She is such a brave little girl, and continues to amaze us at how well she handles this all.
On April 25, 2013, Blayke was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes; he was just 14 months old. Thankfully, being that we already had an understanding of the disease and the symptoms, we were able to detect it in Blayke very early on. In mid-April he started to seem thirstier and was wetting through his diapers. One night Luke used Ellie's meter to check Blayke's blood, and his number was so high that it didn't even register. We both immediately thought, "this can't possibly be happening again". But test results the next day unfortunately confirmed our suspicions.
Although this time around we already had the knowledge we needed to care for a child with type 1, it was still heartbreaking knowing that he too would have to endure all the pricks and shots required to keep him healthy and from developing serious complications down the road. Blayke has adjusted amazingly well...probably in large part due to his big sister setting such an awesome example. He too is so brave and tough and barely makes a fuss when it's time for finger checks and shots. So proud of him!
We truly believe we were blessed with our children for a reason and that we were meant to be their parents and to care for them and their type 1 diabetes. Although we continue to trust in God's plan for our family, it's still our prayer that there will be a cure.
JDRF is our best hope for finding a cure. It funds more type 1 diabetes research than any other charity worldwide and it's making progress along many promising paths toward better treatments and a cure.
Please consider donating to JDRF, and help to make the cure a reality!
- Krystle Mills (Ellie and Blayke's mom)
NOTE: To watch last year's video for the 2012 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, please click on #3 above.
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