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Hello everyone;

My name is Brian, and I am the father of a two year old boy (Andrew) who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last year. We’ve been learning to live with diabetes since September 2008.

Andrew was born in February of 2007. He was about one month pre-mature, and weighed just over five pounds. After consulting with the pediatrician at the hospital, we made the decision to supplement his feeding with formula in order to keep his weight up. The doctors said that his weight didn’t really necessitate the need for supplemental feeding. They did point out that without the formula, his weight would drop to the 4.5 pound range, and there may be some minor complication associated with this loss in weight.

We brought him home after two days in the hospital. The first few months played out almost the same as with our first baby: Not much sleep, and lots of hours spent soothing what we thought was a colicky baby. However, by five months, we started to become concerned. He seemed to be sick all the time. We would take Andrew to the doctor every couple of weeks. We were told not to worry, he was a healthy baby.

As time went on, his sickly ways continued. We tried changing his milk based formula to soy based. This helped a little bit. But we still felt there was something wrong. By ten months, we were at our wits end. We were still getting up four to five times a night to feed and comfort him. Giving him a bottle normally got him back to sleep. We hired a baby sleep consultant to come in and review the situation. We thought that if we could improve his sleeping pattern, his overall health would improve. The sleep consultant came in and did a thorough interview and review of our situation. She made a number of suggestions. We did see an improvement. However, he was still up twice a night.

The sleep consultant was stumped. She stated on a number of occasions that at his age, he should be able to sleep through the night. We eventually accepted that we had a night owl, and that a full nights sleep would be a luxury that we wouldn’t realize for a few years.

Last year, we decided it was time to move from a townhouse to a detached home. We were pregnant with number three, and starting to feel cramped. In August, we finally sealed the deal to sell our townhouse. We wouldn’t be able to move in to our new home until a couple of weeks after we vacated our townhouse. This created a very stressful situation. We would move in with my wifes parents, but would have to find somewhere to store all our belongings. Needless to say, August was very stressful. As we approached the move out date, our house became a frenzy of activity.

We would move out of the townhouse over a two day period. On the first day of the move, Andrew started vomiting. We weren’t too worried, as by now this was a common occurrence. We figured the stress of the move was starting to take its toll on him. The second day was very similar to the first. Andrew was vomiting and spending quite a bit of time sleeping.

We eventually got everything out of the townhouse and into storage. We had set up camp at the inlaws. It was a Saturday, and Andrew was still very sick. By this time, we were starting to become worried. Andrew’s vomiting spells rarely lasted longer than two days. My wife took him to a walk in clinic. The doctor examined him and determined he had a throat infection. He gave us antibiotics and told us to come back if there wasn’t any improvement in 24 hours.

Andrew’s health continued to decline over the next 24 hours. He couldn’t keep any food down. His coordination seemed off. By Sunday morning, he couldn’t hold himself in a sitting position. When we noticed his eyes were “rolling” around, we decided that we should go see the doctor again. My wife took him to the doctor. I couldn’t go as I had to take my in laws to the cruise ship terminal (they were heading out on an Alaskan cruise). As I returning from dropping them off, I got a message from my wife. She had seen the same doctor that morning. He told her to get him to a hospital right away. The doctor wanted him to go by ambulance, but my wife thought she could get him there faster. I was told that they were at children’s hospital. He was in emergency, and I needed to get there ASAP.

Now, I should point out that my wife is known for exaggerating just about everything (one of those character traits that I love tease her about, but wouldn't want her to give up). I assumed that Andrew had been admitted for fluid replenishment (something we had to do on a couple occasions previously). I arrived at the hospital, and walked up and down emergency. I couldn’t find any sign of my wife or son. I went to the nurses’ station and asked where they were. I wasn’t prepared for her response: “Oh, he’s right behind you in critical care”. I turned around and looked in the critical care room. It was an open room about 20’ x 20’ with two beds. One bed was empty. The other was surrounded by a crowd of people (ten to be exact: five doctors, four nurses and my wife). I hadn’t seen my wife because she was in the middle of the crowd trying to comfort Andrew. I ran over and was surprised by what I saw. He was stripped down to diaper. I was shocked by how skinny he was (I would later learn that he lost almost five pounds). He was hooked up to two IV’s and numerous monitors. He would fade in and out of consciousness. When he was awake, he would struggle to open his eyes. When they were open, his eyes would roll all over the place.

One of the doctors pulled me aside. He introduced himself as the doctor that started Andrew’s “resuscitation”. He explained that Andrew had type 1 diabetes, that his body was unable to process sugar that he was digesting, that his body was using energy from stored fat, that his blood had become acidic, and that in order to combat all this, his body was rejecting food (hence the vomiting). He said “we’re confident we’ll be able to save him, but we’re not sure about long term neurological damage.” After talking to the doctor, I went to the side of the bed. He was calling for “mommy” over and over again. My wife would say “I’m here Andrew”. He would then roll away from my wife and hold his arms out. This was one of the neurological side effects they were monitoring. He could hear us talk to him, and he could see us, but he couldn’t put it all together and figure out where we were. It was heartbreaking to say the least.

Eventually, they gave him some insulin, and within a few hours, he had improved significantly. He was still quite sick, but he was alive, and improving. The next 24 hours were very difficult. They were taking copious amounts of blood every hour or so to monitor him. But by the next afternoon, he was better than ever. His colour has returned. He had energy. He had a sparkle in his eye that we had never seen before. And his appetite was something to behold.

We spent the next four days at the hospital learning how to manage his diabetes. I can’t say enough about the nurses, doctors and support staff. We left the hospital with a healthy boy, and a new outlook on life. When we left, we walked to the fountain in front of the hospital and had a family hug. Andrew couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. My wife and I were so thankful that we were able to bring our baby boy home.

Over the next month, we told our story so many times. The responses varied, but one line we heard so many times was “I’m so sorry to hear that”. I found this so confusing. We had just been through the scariest event in our married life. Our son was very sick. But he survived, and within days was healthier than ever. We finally knew why he was sick all the time, and why he would wake up in the middle of the night asking for a bottle. Our time at children’s hospital was eye opening. After visiting hours, you would see the kids that didn’t want to be seen: the cancer patients, the terminally ill kids that were spending their last few days in the hospital. We saw the agony of the parents of these kids. Yes, we had been through hell, and our lives would be changed forever. However, the lifestyle changes that would have to be made seemed minor in comparison.

Now, we have a healthy, energetic boy at home. He’s full of piss and vinegar, and is growing like a weed. And he’s happy. He’s adjusted well to the blood sugar testing and injections. Our lifestyle has changed for the better. We hug all of our kids every chance we get. Words can’t describe how thankful we are that we are able to manage this disease.

I should also mention that the first night he was home after getting out the hospital, he slept through the night.

We look forward to actively participating in this forum.
 

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Holy cripes. What a wonderful and well written story. Thank God your son is happy and healthy finally, both for him and for you two as his parents. I am so glad he is now a normal, healthy boy. Through trial and tribulations I do believe we become better people. I'm glad you decided to join us.
 

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WOW.. First off Welcome to the Forum.. and Thank you for taking the time to write such a well Intro....

I can't imagine going through something like that with one of my children.. the sheer thought has brought tears to my eyes.. I can however say that I know exactly how Andrew felt ... I too had those same symptoms but because I was an adult no Dr. would listen to me.. and they diagnosed me as type II., even though I didn't show syptoms of type II.. it was based on my age.. I was 30 at the time. I couldn't sleep (although I was so very tired), I couldn't think straight, I couldn't explain the almost 50 lbs that I had lost, and when I did actually convince myself that I needed to eat I would vomit very shortly after eating. The thought of food touching my lips made me sick. I kept pleading with my PCP that I was sure that the diagnosis was wrong... and at first I was not 100% sure I was diabetic.. Finally the weekend before Memorial Day she put me on insulin at my request --even though she said it wouldn't work cause I was type II. Within about 4 hrs I was back to myself-- not my full self but back enough I could actually function and move to take care of my 4 young children. I can't express in words exactly how horrible of a time it was for me.. and I can't imagine how horrible of a time it was for you and your family.. I am just glad that things are straightened out for you and your family. It is a rough disease.. one that will literally strip you of everything until you get it under control. It has been over a year since I was diagnosed and almost a year since I went on insulin and I can say that it has been a very rough ride.. but I can also so that I have learned many life lessons along this crazy path. My children all have been tested and GAD testing will soon be in their future.. as I want to nip it in the bud before they have to go through what myself or Andrew went through. And if your a medical professional reading this do me ONE favor: Listen to the patient or the caregiver(parents) of the patient... alot of what Andrew went through as well as myself could have been avoided had just one Dr. listened closely to what was being said. Even if there is ONE symptom that points in the direction of diabetes or a serious medical condition-- Please Please Please run the simple blood test-- it will be far less trauma for the family than to watch their loved one suffer. And unless you have been in those shoes of the patient you have no idea what it is exactly they feel.

Once again I am very happy that they found out what was going on with Andrew.. and that he is going to make it out of this .. Keep us updated and once again Thank you for joining and sharing your story.
 

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Hello Brian, welcome to our community! Thanks so much for telling us Andrew's story. Thank goodness it had a wonderful ending!!! I experienced much of what Andrew did prior to my diagnosis in 1945. They did not know much about diabetes back then and my parents took me to four doctors before I was finally diagnosed. It has all turned out well for Andrew and me. I have been Type 1 for 63 years and I am very healthy. I hope Andrew will live a long, healthy life like I have. Good luck to you, Andrew and your family!

Richard
 
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