Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Sweet, Diabetic Son

A Little over 15 months ago, I experienced something no mother should have to experience. In this day and age, with all the advances in medicine, why my son, Lord? My wonderfully "different" 12 year old son, I will call him BJ, seemed to changing before my eyes. He was slower than usually at his school work. He started drinking more and more gatorade then water. He used the bathroom quite frequently. As a homeschool teacher, I was very upset with what I thought was shirking. One day BJ asked if he could take a nap after he finished his current assignment. Wow, was that a shocker! He hadn't take a nap since he was 4. My husband tried to get a doctor's appointment but they sent us to one of those 'quick care' places. He sent BJ home saying he "just has a virus. He'll get over it." The next morning BJ wasn't any better. He was gray and looked like those pictures I had seen of WWII prisoner of war camps. I called my husband at work and told him I was worried. Something was just not right. My husband rushed him to the ER while I stayed home with our other 4 children. My husband had to carry him in. Since he lost more than 15 pounds, it was not too difficult. The ER Med Tech took one look at BJ and said, "Your son is a diabetic." My husband said, "Uh, no, he's not." "Yes, he is." BJ was taken to the back right away. His blood sugar was off the 'chart'. Our son was indeed a diabetic. It came out of the blue. We didn't know what to think. All the signs were there. It was just something that never occured to me. My son was transferred to a major hospital with a PICU. He was the one and only patient with 2 nurses 24 hours a day. He was only in the PICU for 2 days and stayed on the ward another 2. He has a wonderful endocrinologist and diabetes nurse (they are husband and wife BTW). He no longer takes injections but has an insulin pump. Someone once asked, "Will he have to take insulin for the rest of his life?" The answer is of course he does. His body no longer makes its own insulin. If you don't know what insulin does, it is the hormone your body uses to process the sugars that give your body energy. People are always talking about a cure for cancer, or AIDS, or heart problems. I think we need to take a closer look at Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes. It is on the rise and there is no cure or prevention yet. I pray to God that no one reading this has the same experience.

My son is now a happy and more normal teenager. He did go through a grieving process and the "why me"s. I let him. Now he says, "It really isn't that bad being diabetic." He even talks about writing a comic with a diabetic hero. He is back to his wonderful, different, and sweet self.

For more information about juvenile diabetes or to contribute to the cause go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) website at . Thanks.

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