Monday, July 11, 2005


While the previous post gives you a sense of the events that book-ended my sisters' recent visit, I never did share the very personal hell I put myself through for two days in the middle of that oh-so-very stressful week. For it was during those two days that I noticed my 2 1/2 year-old daughter was drinking a lot.

Let me say that again. My youngest child was drinking A LOT.

She's still nursing (with so much focus on Joseph's diabetes care, weaning has been moved to the "things I'd like to do, but don't quite have the energy for" list). For two nights she was nursing every 1-2 hours-- which is not unusual while teething, except that she finished teething months ago. Further, during one afternoon she asked for water repeatedly-- at one point draining a sippy cup, then asking for more twice. Just two times. But that was two times more than she'd ever asked before.

Was this diabetes? Excessive thirst was certainly one of the symptoms. But she didn't seem to be urinating more than usual. Or maybe she was, and I just hadn't noticed.

Oh God. Not my little girl too.

The sibling of a diabetic child has a 5% risk of developing the disease. My sister's in-laws discovered that their 2 1/2 year old daughter was diabetic just two years after their son's diagnosis...

For nearly two days, while constantly on the verge of tears, I obsessed over the possibility of Evan becoming diabetic. I could hardly think straight.

Despite being petrified of what I might discover, I had to check her. I had to find out for sure what was going on. So later that second day, when we got back from Joseph's little league game -- four hours after we'd all had lunch -- I checked Evan's blood sugar. Not surprising, she was completely unafraid of the lancet. After all, she'd watched her brother use it countless times. She was actually quite happy to be getting a turn (as she put it). I set the lancet to it's lowest level, held my breath, then poked. Evan didn't even flinch-- just watched, fascinated, as I touched the tiny bubble of blood on her finger tip with the end of the test strip.

Her blood sugar was 132. In the normal range, but definitely high for so long after eating.

A few minutes later, barely holding it together, I shared my fears-- and Evan's sugar result-- with my sisters. And that was when my sister Marion reminded me that Evan had eaten a whole package of peanut butter crackers at the game.

I had completely forgotten this vital piece of information when I had checked her sugar.

So an hour later, I repeated the test. Her sugar was 82.

And her voracious thirst, which probably had more to do with the salty crackers, and two days of ungodly heat than anything else, subsided.

Though relieved that Evan was fine, I was still shaken for several days after-- making me realize that, among many other things, this disease has the capability of turning an otherwise rational human being into a bloody basket case.


Shannon said...

I've tested my other 2 children numerous times. Either their diaper was "too full", only to remember that it had been half a day since I changed them. Or they were drinking excessively (to my standards).

We did a blood test to see if they had antibodies and they both came back negative. But, it's something we're going to do every couple of years.

Brendon' endo had told us if we find that our other 2 kids have a reading of 200 or more, then to bring them into the Children's ER immediately.

Sandra Miller said...

Shannon, I'm glad that, so far, your other children show no signs of becoming diabetic. And, that you've been able to face this possibility head on.

I do think that Evan's increased thirst might have been met with a bit less panic had it not occurred during that stressful week.
Regardless though, because we're less than a year out from Joseph's diagnosis, it's still a very fresh wound for all of us. Thus, to this point, the thought of Evan possibly developing the disease is one than neither Ryan nor I have been ready to face.

Shannon said...

The memory of your feelings during his diagnosis must still be so fresh in your memory.

Listen, it's a scary deal to consider another one of your children possibly getting diabetes.

As much as Jeff and I feel secure in managing Brendon's diabetes, it would be so heartbreaking and still so devastating to have another one of our children deal with diabetes and the unwanted baggage it brings along with it.

I don't think I'll ever get over the paranoia of my other 2 possibly coming down with diabetes. Jacob has a bigger chance because when we saved his cord blood and did the HLA on it, it came back as a 100% match to Brendon. That's great for Brendon if the cord blood is someday used for his cure or treatment, but it also means that Jacob has a higher chance of getting diabetes because he's so close to Brendon's genetic makeup (or whatever it's called).

d double e said...

Sandra- You hit my fears on the head. About 4 weeks ago, Jake was drinking a lot of water, and Julie was hysterical about it. I pointed out that when he plays basketball outside for 2 hours, he gets very thirsty. Then I proceeded to go into my bathroom and cry. His thirst was temporary (and we didnt test his blood sugar) but in all the chaos in our lives in October, I never once contemplated that Jake, at a higher risk because of his sister, could also get diabetes. Its a thought I usually dont let myself have-- even though I'm fully aware of the risks.

Evan is adorable. She is such a cutie.

ME said...

Hi Sandra. My mother got whammed with that. My sister was diagnosed about a year before I was. She was only 4 years old, and I remember that time. Poor thing cried every time we went into a store where they had the soda fountains (this was in the early 60s). We all thought she was incredibly spoiled, she being the "baby of the family" when the real fact was that she was literally dying of thirst. She's now 46 years old, and after a run of minor complications (are any of them really minor?) she's doing very well today with an insulin pump.

My own daughter was subjected to finger pokes throughout her younger years (she's 26 now), and I recently got her to test and she was a cool 89 fasting. I was relieved.

type1dad said...

Thanks for your comment on my post. We did find a way cool Nike cell phone case that I think will work. We did get the same case from Animas that you spoke of. Thanks for the info.


Martha O'Connor said...

Hi Sandra,
I live with this fear every day. I check our daughter's blood sugars with the urine stick about once a month, with the meter if she seems unusually thirsty. One time I tested her (soon after our son's dx) and she was 389~! I began crying. She began crying. After the tears and panic subsided a bit, it crossed my mind to have her wash her hands (remember, we were pretty new at this at the time)... did so, and she was at 102. WHEW! Apparently, she and her brother had been "playing with grapes." (Peeling them, I guess?) Anyway, it was a horrible moment of fear and I can well imagine how you felt with Evan. Xo M

Kerri. said...

I'm glad your pretty little girl is okay.

My nephew has been subjected to random finger pricks. I feel badly when he looks at me with those big blue eyes and asks, "Why you do that?" But I can't help it. I fear that he will get it too, or my children will have it. It's a frightening thought.