Parents Talking Type 1: Lori Denson

Diabetes is a disease that affects the whole family, especially when a child is diagnosed. Parents of children diagnosed with diabetes face overwhelming, and sometimes frightening, questions such as: How can I strike the balance between caring and hovering? Will she ever be able to eat sweets again? How will I ever be able to let him go out on his own?

All week long, we have been presenting stories from parents of children with diabetes, illustrating the emotions, challenges and successes each family faced upon diagnosis. The Densons are the final story in our series.

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Hallie and her family’s baby chickens!

Hallie and her family’s baby chickens!

Name: Lori and Philip Denson, parents of Hallie, age 11, diagnosed at age 11

From: Midland, Ga.

Our 11-year-old daughter, Hallie, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just last month. She showed a small handful of symptoms the first week of June 2013. She was urinating more and was very tired. I assumed she might be suffering from a urinary tract infection, and the fatigue was possibly from a busier-than-normal family schedule.

I immediately knew something was wrong after Hallie gave her urine sample to the nurse. The door opened and now there was a request for blood. Our sweet girl has many gifts, but a positive attitude regarding giving blood and taking shots is not one of them.

And then it happened. Friday, June 7, 2013. Our family was forever changed. The doctor walked in the room and explained that Hallie’s blood glucose count was 549 mg/dl. Our healthy and beautiful daughter had type 1 diabetes.

When the doctor left the room, Hallie looked at me with tears in her eyes: “Mama, does this mean I can’t dance anymore?” Although my heart was beyond heavy, I remember thinking that my words would set the foundation of how she will cope with this new path she has been given.

I responded, “Of course you will dance. This will NOT change a thing! We will grieve this news for exactly one day. And then we will get our ‘big girl pants’ on and figure this whole thing out. This will be like brushing your teeth. You have to brush your teeth a few times a day. Now you will have to check and maintain your glucose levels a few times a day.”

Hallie smiled. Whew, the pep talk worked.

Hallie made these insulin pen holders from duct tape!

Hallie made these insulin pen holders from duct tape!

In just a few weeks, our healthy little girl has accomplished the following: overcome her fear of shots and finger sticks, attended overnight church camp, been swimming in six different pools, learned to calculate carbs and insulin, twirled and danced throughout the house, educated her friends about diabetes, chased lightening bugs in her pajamas and attended an Atlanta Braves game. Not to mention, she and her best friend are currently designing diabetes accessories made from duct tape.

Our family continues to learn more about diabetes on a daily basis. We are beyond thankful that diabetes is manageable—it could be worse. We continue to try and make lemonade from the lemons we were handed.

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14 Responses to Parents Talking Type 1: Lori Denson

  1. Lori says:

    Bless you! My 19 year old daughter is 2.5 years into her diagnosis as a senior in high school-our story sounds so VERY similar. I also realized that every word and sentiment I shared those early days would be huge. My profound words: “Don’t let this define you!” and it hasn’t. My thoughts? “How can I send her off on a mission trip out of country just six months diagnosed and how can I send her off to college in the fall prepared?” She did both very successfully! She did not miss a beat figuring it all out! While I am her cheer leader and support-she has managed this as “hers” from the start. She now is in Spain for an eight week study abroad program-still successfully managing her T1D. Yes, T1D STINKS!!, but it could be worse and we are thankful for the technology that allows it to be manageable. The CDE in the hospital told us (and I believe and support this)-“THERE WILL BE A CURE IN HER LIFE TIME”-I also know and work to support this as well. God bless you and we are now soul sisters as moms of beautiful young ladies who are diabetes sisters.

  2. Connie Stuart says:

    That was a very good pep talk for your daughter. She needed to know that this was going to be a little different lifestyle, but one that she can learn to manage. This reminds me a lot of the pep talk that I got from my mother almost 57 years ago. She explained that we would have to do certain things if I wanted to live and I was very agreeable to that. I had just started school and had plans to graduate.

  3. Richard Chapman says:

    Way to go Lori. As a diabetic, I know how rough the initial shock can be. Fortunately, medical science has made great strides so there are a lot of promising treatments under study now. And Hallie can whip it if anyone can.

  4. Cindy says:

    My 13 yr old daughter was diagnosed 2 weeks ago and everyone’s stories above are such an encouragement to us. Thank you !

  5. Dr. Pullen says:

    A brilliant response by Mom, and congratulations to getting off to a great start. Of course more tough years to come, the most difficult years can be 16-22 for some patients, when the responsibility shifts from parents plus child, more to the young adult themselves. Still very inspirational and heartfelt. thanks.

    • Lori says:

      Thank you for taking the time to send a note. We are so thankful that Hallie has already started listening to her body. I know that this will indeed be beneficial when she “leaves our nest”. I am so very thankful that medicine has advanced over the years. Have a great day! ( :

  6. Melissa Knight says:

    Thank you, Lori! This was very moving. Hallie is a strong and wonderful girl and I see where she gets it :). I would love to keep hearing from you. Please give my best to Hallie. You are very blessed to have each other. Missie Knight

  7. Rebecca says:

    Hey Everyone!
    My name is Rebecca, I am an editorial intern for Walgreens ‘Diabetes and You’ magazine, and I wanted to share with you a link to the online version of the most recent issue of our award-winning magazine. Click here or pick up your free copy at your local Walgreens.

    http://www.diabetesdigest.com/epubs/WalgQ313/

    This issue features gourmet, vegetarian recipes from the Culinary Institute of America, including the Stuffed Eggplant Parcels with Red Chile Salsa on the cover, as well as Zucchini-Mushroom Griddlecakes and Chilled Beet and Fennel Soup.

    The feature article is on Golden Globe- and Emmy- nominated actress Elizabeth Perkins, who is probably best known for her role as Celia Hodes in the Showtime series “Weeds.” When Elizabeth was in the middle of shooting the first season of “Weeds” eight years ago, she suddenly found herself on the other side of the camera: as director of her new life with type 1 diabetes. Elizabeth recently co-produced and starred in a documentary called “Strength in Numbers,” which focuses on the people who support family or friends who have diabetes. Our article from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, “Caregivers: Key Members of your Diabetes Team,” also focuses on the important theme of helping people with diabetes get the support they need.

    To learn more about Walgreens Diabetes & You, or to see previous issues online, go to walgreens.com/diabetesandyou

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