It is ironic that my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes on Halloween, because when I close my eyes that is how I personify the condition. I see a gremlin that tap dances on her skin, a playful demon who suckles on sugar.
It has been almost a year since we wandered innocently into the surgery to take her to see the nurse about a simple case of thrush. Almost a year since I felt that collapsing feeling of utter dismay that threatened to suffocate us all. I recall, faintly, sitting inside a doctor’s office, whilst my children chatted about trick or treating and suddenly I saw my daughter properly for the first time in months. I saw her white skin pinched over her cheekbones, I noticed her clothes hanging off her small frame, and I watched her drink her cup of water as if she had been in the desert for days. The memory makes me cry.
I’ll be honest, I felt like a fool for not knowing the signs.
It has been a year since I felt the world crack up around me and then it has been through the year that I have watched my daughter rebuild it, brick by brick, restoring normality where I could only see change.
This time last year the thought of an injection would have sent my type 1 warrior into a frantic fear. To date, she has injected insulin into herself over 1700 times since the last all hallows eve.
She brings truth to the old age saying, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
Like all Type 1 kids, my child has proven herself to be outstanding when it comes to her diabetes.
A year on. We are a different family. Diabetes has changed us although in no way defined us. Our specialist subject on Family Fortunes would be the carbohydrate content in foods. We eat better, I work less, myself and he who helped create them share the load more equally of helping Molly manage her diabetes. She has learnt confidence through her own self care, proven when she turned to a waitress, who dared to call her disabled, with the retort,
“I am not disabled, I have diabetes.”
It has been a year with type 1, and no point has been worse than the initial, terrifying moment of diagnosis. The road, whilst being bumpy, has only got smoother. In November we face a new turning, Molly is moving to an insulin pump, and we will wave farewell to daily injections. Instead she will inject a catheter into herself every 2-3 days and wear a pump which will deliver her insulin as she dictates it.
A new way of diabetic life to learn how to live, new fears and complications and new hopes for better control for my child.
It has been a long year since diagnosis but it has been an incredible one. A journey which has no end, but one that has proven to make us all more formidable.
To my type one warrior, I cannot explain in words how proud we are.
To my type one siblings, you are amazing, you truly are.
It will be a year to the day that she was diagnosed on Halloween, if you need us we will be trick or treating in Disneyland, Paris. Far more preferable to the hospital ward of 2012 – I am hoping the food is far better and the tea a little warmer.
The signs of Type 1 Diabetes are the four T’s….
Going to the toilet a lot, bed wetting by a previously dry child or heavier nappies in babies
Being really thirsty and not being able to quench the thirst
Feeling more tired than usual
Losing weight or looking thinner than usual
One in four children that have Type 1 Diabetes are diagnosed at the stage of DKA – which is a life threatening condition that can kill. One in three children with Type 1 Diabetes are admitted upon diagnosis with DKA. As a parent of a Type 1 child who ignored the bed wetting, didn’t see the thirst, missed the weight loss and put the tiredness down to school, I urge you to take your child to the GP’s when these signs are present. It is a simple urine test and, or finger prick test to put your mind at rest, or in the worse case, get the best care for your child before they become seriously ill.
You can read more about being Type 1 aware on Diabetes Uk webpage