February 19th marks Libby's one year anniversary of being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). One year ago our lives were forever changed. Libby was in the 2nd grade, enjoying gymnastics and preparing for her upcoming softball season. We were at her tumbling class one week and my Mom pointed out how thin she looked. At first, I assumed it was a growth spurt combined with her active lifestyle. Then we began to notice it more and more. Libby's clothes were starting to fall off and her cheeks weren't as "full". She was constantly thirsty, and I mean really thirsty, which meant lots more trips to the bathroom. I had no idea all of these symptoms were related. At the time I knew very little about T1D. Then, one day my mother was flipping through the pages of a Wiregrass Living magazine and came across an article on Lydia Dowling. Lydia was the same age as Libby and a type 1 diabetic. Mama read the article and all of the symptoms of T1D sounded so familiar - they were the same symptoms Libby was experiencing. Of course, Mama called me and told me all about the article (which we still have by the way). If any of you know my mother then you know how much she can worry! So when she mentioned the idea of Libby having diabetes my first thought was, "Mama, you are just being paranoid!" But after a couple of weeks passed and Libby's symptoms began to increase, I started to wonder...was Mama right?
On Thursday, February 18th, I met my mother to get Libby and take her to softball practice. She called me on the way and said Libby is so thirsty - she wants you to get a water and have it ready when we get there. They arrived and I gave Libby her water and we headed to change clothes for practice. I noticed she didn't look like she felt very good and then she started shaking. I knew something wasn't quite right. So, we skipped softball practice and headed home. We contacted our pediatrician and told him our concerns and he agreed that we should bring Libby in to get her checked out. He is always so good to us. I can't tell you how many times we have called or texted him (during and after office hours) and he is always so quick to respond and help with whatever we need.
Everyone at the pediatrician's office was wonderful - especially our nurse that day, who just happens to be a diabetic educator. They took Libby's blood and went off to do some tests. When our nurse came back in the room she looked at me with that look in her eyes and said, "you know don't you?" I said I think I do - is it diabetes? She shook her head yes and my heart sunk to the floor. Libby's blood glucose was 420 and her A1C was very elevated. We were immediately admitted to the hospital. The doctors and nurses told us that we had caught it early and thankfully she wouldn't need to be in ICU or transferred to Children's Hospital in Birmingham.
We went from having a child who was rarely sick a day in her life to finding out she has type 1 diabetes. The next few days were rough and consisted of IVs, finger pricks and shots - and a lot of them! We could not have made it through that time without the love, prayers and support of our family, friends and the wonderful team of doctors and nurses. We will never forget the outpouring of love we received when Libby was diagnosed - even from people we didn't know but that shared our experience and wanted to offer their support.
When we got home from the hospital our new normal began. This included 8-10 finger pricks a day (more if needed), approximately 4 shots per day and learning a new diet that included counting carbs on everything Libby ate or drank. It was a complete lifestyle change and very overwhelming. Any time we leave the house we must make sure we have all of Libby's diabetic supplies (including backup supplies) and snacks to treat lows and highs. Libby has been on a tubeless insulin pump for about 5 months now. It has really made life easier. She still isn't crazy about site changes that happen every 3 days (or more if her pod deactivates early), but she loves not having to take all those shots every day! With the pump, she only gets stuck one time every three days. Through all of this Libby has very rarely complained. We are truly amazed and grateful at how well she has adjusted.
Libby's support team at school has been phenomenal. We are blessed with a wonderful school and community in Skipperville. Her friends, classmates, school nurse, teachers and principals have all been amazing. Also, I can't forget the G.W. Long baseball team, coaching staff and parents who have been by our side from day one. My husband is the head baseball coach at G.W. Long and he currently has three players who are also type 1 diabetics - Bailey, Braeden and Landon we are walking for you as well!
Living with T1D means there are no days off and there is no cure. But there is hope, hope of a world without type 1 diabetes. We ask you to consider making a donation for the "JDRF Walk for a Cure" and would love for you to join "Team Libby" and walk with us on Saturday, March 4th. By doing so you'll help fund research to improve the lives of everyone challenged by T1D. With your support, JDRF will turn Type One into Type None.
Your donation will count towards the team's fundraising total. In addition, please give credit to the person that asked for your support to recognize them for their efforts in creating a world without type 1 diabetes (T1D).