How Did You Know Your Child Had Type 1 Diabetes? Know The Symptoms (It Could Save a Life)
By: Rachelle Stocum / Blog
I wrote this for a couple of reasons. The first reason was to document the details and help other families who are searching for answers to unexplained symptoms. The second reason was to really get my emotions off my chest, and reflect.
December 30, 2016 is a day I will never forget.
This date will now be forever know to us as Carter’s “dia-versary.” This was the day my seven year old son Carter was diagnosed with Type one Diabetes. I still tear up when I say or even write those words… my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
The week before Christmas my son Carter had so many complaints. He’s not a whiny kid by any means so this was unusual for him. He’s actually the most compliant child I know. When I ask him to do something he does it. So when he first complained of a stomach ache I thought he was coming down with the flu. It seems reasonable that a child would get sick in December.
It was starting to become really weird at this point.
I mean he’s got like 100 things wrong with him in such a short amount of time. I did like any other mother, who is tech savvy and results driven, would do. I went to Google and found WebMD symptom checker. I entered in his symptoms and diabetes came up as a possible diagnoses. I read the symptoms over and over and each time I dismissed the diagnoses because he didn’t have extreme hunger, extreme thirst, weight loss, or vomiting.
He told me his heart was raising so fast he thought it was going to jump out of his chest. He said he had a headache all day prior and he woke up with the same pounding headache. I remember saying to him that morning, “Boy, that really sucks to fall asleep with a headache and to wake up with one.” By this time I had gone online several times inputting symptoms and it kept coming back to Type 1 Diabetes.
That evening my husband and I were watching a movie when Carter came running out of my bedroom shouting, “I’ve lost 4 pounds!” Now you may ask yourself why is a 7 year old weighing himself.
Well, we all weigh ourselves and during this kids routine well child check in October the doctor said that he would prefer Carter not gain any weight because his hope is that he would grow taller and thin out a bit. He’s not a huge obese kid, but he is one of the youngest kids in his second grade class at 4′ 5″ and he’s also one of the tallest. He’s only about one foot shorter than his 11 year old brother. See my husband is 6′ 4″ tall so I was not at all concerned that Carter was going to be fatter then he was tall.
So I tried to wake him up but it was really hard. He was groggy and didn’t want to wake up. Once he was finally woke up I told him that I didn’t want him to eat anything until I was able to get grandma’s monitor and test his blood sugar. He drank some water but understood what I was asking of him. He didn’t complain or cry even though he was hungry.
I knew that was bad because when I was pregnant with him I had gestational diabetes. My blood glucose only ran about 120 from what I can recall, and I knew normal was around 100. I immediately started to panic. I was ready to leave and go immediately to the hospital and my grandmother said, “No wait, it’s probably just an error on the machine. Why don’t you let the boys eat and call your doctor’s office and tell them what’s going on and see if they can see him today?”
Reluctantly I took her advice, because for a moment I didn’t actually want my suspicion of diabetes diagnoses to be true. Later I found out that my grandmother knew that they was nothing wrong with the meter, but she could hear the panic in my voice and see the fear on my face when I read the number out loud. I immediately called the doctor’s office and explained the situation. They said I could get in at 4:15pm that day.
I took the appointment because I still had work to complete from the morning, and two hours is enough time for the food to digest, and to get a better reading on the blood sugar. After I hung up at with the doctor’s office I ate my salad and my son ate his chicken nuggets and drank his diet soda. I was so worried thinking what if, what if he has diabetes?
Once we checked in at the doctor’s office Carter was immediately very thirsty. I remember going down to the car and grabbing his tumbler from the car and filling it up with water in the doctor’s office. While we waited he drink 8 ounces of water over and over again in the course of minutes. While we were in the exam room Carter went to the bathroom three times.
It was right before the holiday weekend and the new year around 4:45pm Friday, December 30, 2017. The medical assistant walked into the room and said, “OK, we’re going to get your blood sugar now. Have you had your finger poked before?” She asked Carter. He said, “Yes, this afternoon my mom poked me.” She then poked his finger and held up the meter with the strip inserted and touched his finger.
We waited for the countdown 3,2,1. Silence filled the room, and nothing. Nothing showed up on the meter. I was so confused I’ve never seen a blood glucose meter not give you a number after reading. It only said High Glucose.
She uttered some words like I’m sorry I didn’t actually think he had diabetes, he appears fine. Children who are in DKA are usually very ill and non-responsive. I think we caught it early enough, now go.
It’s probably that knowledge that helped me diagnose Carter as early as I did.
Little did I know that there were no pills in Carter’s future. I had no idea what the future held for myself for my son, and for our family. When they tested Carter’s BG at the hospital it was 560 I believe, it had dropped a bit. It felt like forever that we waited for a room at the hospital.
It was no surprise he had Type one Diabetes, but the doctor who delivered the news said something like, “Your son has Type one Diabetes, you’re going to stay the night, probably the weekend and we are getting a room ready for you.
We finally arrived to our room around midnight. Our family didn’t eat dinner because we had been at the hospital since 6pm that night and we just got to our room. My husband and children were starving. So they left to get food and came back to deliver me some sushi and drinks.
They gave Carter some string cheese and crackers and he fell asleep. I remember the nurses were so nice and kind. I asked a ton of questions and stayed awake with the lights on until probably 2am. Needless to say I couldn’t get much sleep at all. It was 7am before I remember falling asleep and my husband and oldest son arrived the next morning around 9:30am.
Who knew that this sleepless night was only the start of many sleepless nights to come.
Know the signs of Type 1 Diabetes.
What to look for: Symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children
Disclaimer: The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your health.