Hunter is my boisterous, fun-loving, “all boy, all the time” 4-year-old son. Unfortunately, sometime during the summer of 2013, Hunter started to change. I just chalked it up to a new age – every age thus far had brought new ups and downs, so why would the age of 3 be any different? The changes were gradual, and happened over the course of about 6 weeks. We first started noticing Hunter’s increasing thirst – in fact, if I didn’t have a water ready for him, he would actually cry REAL TEARS. I couldn’t quite figure it out, but I knew he was more mobile, and it was summer time, so I could reason it away. And then Hunter began urinating – A LOT. Of course, I knew he had been drinking more water, and he was also potty training, so I reasoned that away. Even though overnight we had to set our alarm for 2:00 a.m. so we could change his overnight heavy-duty diaper – otherwise, he would be wet through and through. Next came unexplained temper tantrums – Hunter was always so easy-going. But now we’d be riding in the car and he’d just start screaming at the top of his lungs. Of course, he was 3, and everyone knows the 3’s are so much worse than the 2’s, so….you guessed it. I reasoned it away.
And then came the weight loss – or more importantly (since we weren’t actually weighing Hunter) the comments about how skinny Hunter was looking. At first, I wanted to reason this away – I mean, he was a growing boy (probably growing so quickly that it hurt which is why he screamed a lot)…who was so active that he had to drink water all day long. But actually the comments about Hunter losing weight triggered new thoughts in our minds – did he have diabetes? That was such a long shot for me, but I agreed to take him to the doctor on a Monday. The Saturday before we were at my sister’s house – and she noticed his urination habits and temperament. She urged me to take him to Urgent Care, and so I did. It wasn’t very long into the visit that we were told Hunter’s blood glucose levels measured “HI” – he was immediately diagnosed with diabetes (and then Type 1 definitively later that evening), and they hurried us by ambulance to Children’s Mercy downtown to begin our 3-day educational whirlwind. Hunter’s blood sugar ended up being 700 and he was in Diabetic Ketoacidosis. That Saturday, September 21st, 2013, started us on a journey I wish we didn’t have to make, but in all honesty, I’m quite humbled that God figured we were up for the job!
Hunter is now back to his boisterous, fun-loving self. He braves his Omnipod pump changes and Dexcom cgm insertions like a pro (well, most of the time)! He has a loving family who have put in so much time and energy learning all they can about Type 1 Diabetes and Hunter’s care plan. He has a twin sister Stella who DEFINITELY treats him the same now as she did before diagnosis. And he knows (at the ripe ole age of 4) that, even though we don’t know why he has diabetes, and even though it TOTALLY stinks, we do know that it is 100% manageable. We know that diabetes does not define him. We know that it is perfectly acceptable to talk about diabetes in public and around his friends. We know that it’s okay to call his pump site his “noodle”, even though I get some strange looks in the bathroom when I tell him to “try not to pull off your noodle this time.” And most of all, we KNOW that one day a cure will be found – we don’t know how we’ll define “cure”, or what it’ll look like, but none of that matters to Hunter – because he has the COURAGE to carry through until that day comes!