An athletic, active, energetic 10 year old, KC spent the fall playing sports for her school . She started off with volleyball and then went straight into basketball, with some tennis on the side. Autumn in the Southeastern US is still filled with hot days, so KC’s ever-present water bottle didn’t appear unusual. Likewise, I didn’t think anything about the occassional (or so I thought) getting up in the night to go to the bathroom. You drink alot, you pee alot….go figure!
Our family was going through a stressful time due to my dad’s carotid artery surgeries and difficult recovery. By early Dec. we were all exhausted and run down. Both kids annual checkups were scheduled in mid-December but our pediatrician doesn’t allow siblings to have appointments back to back so they were scheduled about a week apart with KC’s appointment set for Dec. 14. One look at my calendar showed a conflict with her basketball game…she hates missing a game, so I called and flipped her appointment with her brother’s scheduled for Dec. 20. And that my friends is where Divine Intervention, serendipity, or Fate –whatever you want to call it–stepped in!
Friday Dec. 17 was the kids’ last day of school before Christmas break. A day filled with parties (i.e. junk food) and sadly for KC, time to say good bye to a beloved teacher who was leaving the school. KC was sobbing at the breakfast table but managed to pull herself together in time to leave for school. She made it through the day and that night my husband, J, and I decided to take her out for Mexican food, which we usually do only when #1 son isn’t with us as his milk allergy is harder to manage in places that serve so many foods covered in cheese. So with #1 son at a movie with a friend, it was KC’s night alone with Mommy and Daddy. She ordered chips and queso dip, plus large glass of milk before dinner. After drinking the milk, she complained of feeling sick. I quickly retorted that all the junk food she ate that day probably was to blame—little did I know. She refused to eat any dinner and begged to be taken home. The next morning she was lethargic–the girl who usually spends her free time dancing or exercising for fun was laying on the couch. Sunday more of the same. We had to drop #1 son off at a dance and decided to take KC to the mall to help pass the time. On the way to the mall, she begged for a drink. “The first thing I want to do at the mall is get a drink….you don’t understand, Mommy, I’m really thirsty…” So off to the food court and she orders a fruit smoothie (ok, knowing she has T1 you can see where this is heading, right?). We pass by the Godiva shop and do something we NEVER do (again, because of #1 son’s milk allergy) we buy her CHOCOLATE! Then on the way out of the mall, she begs for another drink..we hit a vending machine and I’d like to think we got her a water but I believe we bought her a Sprite. We get back to the dance and she is ready to throw up…but can’t….so she drinks tons of water and lays on my lap. In the car on the ride home, she is making smacking noises as she tries to get saliva…”Mommy, really, I HAVE to have something to drink NOW!” J reminds her of her check up scheduled for the next day and tells her to make sure and let the doctor know that she hasn’t been feeling well….
Dec. 20, 2010 after a breakfast of two waffles and a glass of milk (plus the Hershey Kiss she stole on her way out the door) we headed off to her “well-visit.” KC’s biggest fear was the Flu shot that was waiting for her! KC reminded me to tell the doctor about her thirst…and this is where denial comes in–I could not believe that KC could have diabetes because our next-door neighbor (#1 son’s best friend) has T1. It is unbelievable that two kids on the same block could be T1s–what are the odds? Anyway, the doctor came in, did his exam, found KC to be in great health and then asked “is there anything that you are concerned about?” KC’s big blue eyes bored into mine….I heard myself say “well, she’s been really thirsty….but I think she’s coming down with something….”
Dr. L. looks through her files and says “there is some sugar in her urine, but that is normal depending on what she had for breakfast…”
Waffles, syrup, Hershey Kiss….my mind is racing…
“I’d like to do a blood glucose test to double check.”
Her BG is 435. Normal is 80-150.
The world stops moving.
As if through a fog filter I hear the doctor…”…juvenile diabetes….let me make a call…”
He leaves. KC cries…she knows what this is. She’s afraid. So am I. I hear Dr. L on the phone outside our exam room. He mentions Dr. N…I know this name. I know his wife. He’s the best ped. endocrinologist in town. I have a friend whose son sees him for another reason. I feel a sense of control return.
Dr. L says get to Children’s Hospital. Do not stop on your way. They are waiting for you. KC is healthy and will be treated as an out-patient.
I have no idea what this entails.
In shock, I get KC to the car. I stand outside and cry. Then I begin the phone calls…my husband, my mother, my son….
And then life changed forever….