Where Antelope Roam

Diabetes…Our Experience

Three years ago our daughter, Katie, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I’ve worked in and around the medical field and had a basic idea of what it was. However, I wasn’t prepared for this.

How we discovered it

In September of 2005, Katie started experiencing things that I, as a parent, tried to ignore. One in particular that I remember is that she woke me up in the middle of the night having just wet the bed. I was not, to my shame, happy with her. In my mind, she was 13 and should know how to wake herself up to go to the bathroom. (Incontinence – the inability to hold urine or to feel the need to go to the bathroom is a warning sign) That was the beginning… of symptoms I should have recognized but perhaps was too afraid to acknowledge.

She had a voracious appetite and was always thirsty, however, she was tall and thin. I attributed her thinness to the fact that I have a brother who is 6’7″ who also experienced a time about this same age of just shooting up in height but with no accompanying weight. The other thing Katie seemed to have issues with was a constant stomachache. (another warning sign)

In October of that year, we went to my parents’ to help them celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary. I have two sisters who are nurses, one of whom is also a missionary with her family. They brought up their travel trailer to stay in while at my parents’ house. Katie stayed in the trailer with their daughter one night. That’s when my sister, told me I should have Katie checked out. She apparently was up in the middle of the night many times the night she stayed in the trailer with them. My heart sunk as I thought sure she was probably right.

That was late in October. When we got home, I was still in denial of the symptoms I had seen. However, when the school called again stating that Katie had another stomachache, I knew I had to have her seen by our family physician.

I was unable to get an appointment for her until the Monday after Thanksgiving. I made it for later in the day so that my dh could bring her to the appointment after school. I somehow felt she was going to need daddy’s support (not to mention me). The doctor came in to find out why we were there and when I told him, he stated, “well it’s probably just growing changes”… The nurse came in and did a fingerstick … twice, then left the room.

They also got a urine sample. Shortly after that the doctor came in looking crestfallen and stated that I had been right. Katie had diabetes and being the end of the day, we were sent immediately to the Emergency Room so they could give her an insulin shot as her blood sugar was off the chart and she had large ketone in her urine. My daughter and I cried all the way to the Emergency Room. I can’t speak for her but I felt like I had been punched in the gut.

The doctor set up an appointment for us to see a pediatric diabetologist (a specialist in childhood diabetes) at the Barbara Davis Center in Denver, CO the next morning. Meanwhile I was to check her sugar every two hours after we arrived home from the Emergency Room. Our physician called our home several times to make sure she was doing okay.

We go to the appointment in the morning not knowing what to expect. The doctor there told us had we waited another month, we would have ended up in the Emergency Room with her in a “diabetic ketoacidosis” coma. We were grateful to God for my sister’s urging to get her to the doctor, however, we were still stunned.

I have to add here that not just a few months earlier I had been contemplating canceling her insurance (which we’d been paying out of pocket for a few years) because she’d been such a healthy kid. I am grateful now, I never got around to it.

The Journey Continues

There have been more challenges along the way, for me the financial end has always been an issue. In early 2006, Katie started complaining of visual issues, so we took her to the eye doctor, thinking it would just be that she needed some glasses to read with.

As I sat there watching the optometrist examine her, he began to shake his head and I knew the news would not be good. She had cataracts. I’d heard of cataracts but never in one so young.

In April 2006, she had her first cataract surgery. She marvels that she didn’t know she couldn’t see too well. This first surgery was where the financial things started hitting me hard. We have a high deductible on Katie’s insurance and that would have to be paid before they would do the surgery. I didn’t know where the money would come from, however, I have a heavenly Father who provided… just in time.

We are looking at surgery to the other eye sometime in the future. I don’t know where the money will come for to pay for this surgery, but I know the One Who does and He’s been paying for this all along.

What now

We are still in the learning process. For though we went through classes to learn how to check her sugar and give insulin shots… there’s still so much to learn. (She has since learned to check her sugar and give herself her shots… she takes 4 a day.) We still need to learn to count carbs and because I am not a Type A personality and am mathematically challenged, I find this difficult as does Katie. Not to mention the fact that she is a teenager and has found her finicky side when it comes to food.

This has not only been a journey in learning to live with diabetes in a child, but a journey with living as a child of the King. Though I’ve often not been certain what the future held for us, either physically, spiritually, emotionally or financially my Father did. My journey continues to be one of trusting Him for what lays ahead. As I’ve had my eyes washed with tears many times over the last three years, I am reminded of this song,

He washed my eyes with tears, that I might see,

The broken heart I had was good for me.

He tore it all apart and looked inside.

He found it full of fear and foolish pride.

He swept away the things that made me blind,

and then I saw the clouds were silverlined.

And now I understand ’twas best for me —

He washed my eyes with tears that I might see.

He washed my eyes with tears that I might see,

The glory of Himself revealed in me.

I did not know that He had wounded hands,

I saw the blood He spilt upon the sands.

I saw the marks of shame and wept and cried.

He was my substitute, for me He died.

And now I’m glad He came so tenderly,

and washed my eyes with tears that I might see.


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