Diabetes affects the whole family, whether you’re a parent, sibling, child, grandchild, spouse or friend. This week on the blog, we are featuring stories about loving and caring for someone with diabetes.
Location: Ogden, Utah
My daughter, Charity, now 13 going on 30, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in August 2009 at 10 years old.
The day she was diagnosed was one of the worst days our family had ever experienced. Charity had not been feeling well for a few days, but we assumed it was just the flu. As we now know we were way off base with that idea. Our oldest son, Jackson, continually pestered me throughout the day to get her seen by a doctor, but I had been distracted with errands I needed to run. I finally listened and went with her to the emergency room. They took one look at her, tested her blood glucose and told me that she was experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and almost comatose. She was immediately Life-Flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital for more extensive care.
Our family spent the next five days cramming our brains with information about how to take care of Charity’s daily diabetes needs. It was very overwhelming, to say the least.
We have been extremely lucky not to go back to the ER since that day. She still hasn’t gotten her A1C low enough for her doctor to put her on a pump, but we are trying every day. Our lifestyles haven’t really changed that much, other than we are more aware of what types of foods have more carbohydrates than others and what kinds of snacks she can have when her blood glucose level is low, to help bring her up without her numbers yo-yoing too drastically.
Charity’s mother and I separated in December 2011, but I am still her primary diabetes caregiver. I have her medical supplies sent to my house, help her with tracking blood glucose levels and carbohydrate adjustments, take her to all of her doctor appointments and check up on her on a weekly basis if I don’t have a visit from her that week. This has definitely been the biggest learning experience for me and her siblings.
Charity does a fantastic job of measuring out her food to make sure she has the right carbohydrate count and insulin dosage. I know without a doubt she’s the toughest kid in the world. She has accepted her role as an example to others that it’s possible to live a happy childhood with diabetes. She takes care of herself for the most part now and is growing so fast I can’t keep track! Charity truly is my hero.