June 4, 2013, was the worst day of my life.
I sat in an Urgent Care exam room with my oldest spark plug Turbo and tried to absorb what the on-call doctor was telling me: Turbo’s flu-like symptoms were the result of Type 1 Diabetes. He was now in a life-threatening situation called Diabetic Keto-Acidosis (DKA). In minutes, a team of EMTs would arrive to take him by ambulance to Children’s Hospital, where he would be admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
Before that terrible Tuesday afternoon, I knew very little about diabetes, especially Type 1. The grave but kind Urgent Care doctor briefly explained that Turbo’s body had attacked its own insulin-producing beta cells in his pancreas. Without insulin, his body had no way of getting the needed energy from his blood sugar into his starving cells. He would need to be on life-long injections of insulin.
I don’t know what I'd expected when I’d taken him to Urgent Care that day, but I was completely overwhelmed by the diagnosis. Since then, I’ve learned more about Type 1 than I ever wanted to. Although the hospital did a great job of quickly and thoroughly training us to care for Turbo, I’ve also done extensive research into dietary and holistic measures to help his insulin injections work as well as possible.
Diabetes has been a long, hard road for us. Not only was Turbo hospitalized at his diagnosis, he was also admitted the following December for DKA after developing a simple head cold. He’s needed IVs in the emergency room three more times since then, all as the result of minor illnesses turning into major medical complications. Thanks, diabetes.
Although we’re constantly learning more about better managing Turbo’s blood sugar with insulin, we’ve begun to consider better exercise routines and diabetic-friendly eating. Changes in lifestyle are not a popular choice; we have very little support from his medical doctors in this one area. Current protocol for Type 1 Diabetes doesn’t extend beyond mathematical insulin doses, but after hours of research, learning from others, and our own trial and error, we’re encouraging Turbo to think long term and to make lifestyle choices that will hopefully improve and lengthen his life.
Despite the difficulties of the disease and the changes we’ve made in our eating, the Lord has taught all of us many incredible truths through Type 1 Diabetes. He’s revealed His love to us more clearly; He’s strengthened us beyond our human limitations; and He’s blessed us more through this trial than He might have otherwise.
Life is certainly hard, but God is enabling us to thrive by preparing us for each difficulty.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and do not have any medical training of any kind, so please do not take anything that I suggest as a substitute for proper medical care and oversight by your doctors.