Monday, July 22, 2013


Emily was excited, but a little nervous to be at church camp. This was her first time going to this camp, and here, they roomed by age group, not church group. As the days went by, Emily cheered up; the other 14 year old girls in her cabin were really nice and a lot of fun, and the church was more than amazing.
Emily also began to get sick. Instead of spending the last day of camp with her new friends, Emily spent it in the dorm, asleep.

She slept the entire way home from Missouri, a good 15 hours, still sick with a fever.

When Emily got home, there was no time for recovery, as she had to get in her mom's car and go to Florida for a big family vacation at Disney World! Everyone was going, her mom, dad, brother, aunt, uncle, 2 cousins, and grandma. At least her mom had been able to get the doctor to call in an antibiotic for her to take.

Emily slept the entire way to Disney World, a 17 hour trip.

Upon arrival at Disney World, everyone burst out of the vehicles with excitement, even though it was nighttime. The next day, Emily and her family went to the parks, ready to begin their vacation. Emily was feeling a little better, she thought, and was having a good time, until the afternoon. About 3 o'clock, she got too tired, and went with her grandma back to the hotel. She slept 15 hours and didn't get up 'til the next morning.

This continued for the next 3 days.

Finally, Emily felt better, and was able to enjoy the rest of the trip.

When Emily arrived home, everything seemed normal. Until August. Starting then, she stopped all physical development, and began to lose weight. She came home from school and took a nap, ate supper, and went straight to bed. She drank a lot too. Her mom was worried at first, but justified the behavior because Emily was a high school freshman, and in marching band.

What her mom didn't realize was that Emily was so thirsty that she couldn't satiate it. She would drink 5-6 glasses of water per night. At school, she filled her water bottle and went to the restroom between every class, and by the middle of the next class, her water was gone, and she started feeling desperate. Staying awake during class was a chore. To this day, she remembers very little of what went on during Biology class, the period of time when it was the hardest to keep her eyes open (Note: probably around the time my breakfast was breaking down).  When she marched, her feet would draw up inside her shoes, but by the time she got home, it was already forgotten.

But, based on what she could see, her mom got worried.

In January, Emily's mom took her to the doctor. The doctor placated her mom, and told her that there was nothing to be concerned about.

In February, Emily's mom took her back. The doctor said they'd run some tests for anemia, thyroid, and such. Her mom asked them to test for diabetes, too, although she hoped beyond hope that it wouldn't be that.

On February 7, 2007, the results came back. Her a1c was 18.0.

After a hard trip on the bus, trying to keep her eyes open, Emily walked in the door. Her mom told her that she had diabetes. Emily fell on her mom's bed, in shock. Really, diabetes? Her? This couldn't be possible, could it? Her mom hugged her, assuring her that it was going to be okay, and that they would do whatever they had to do to make her healthy.

The duo went to the doctor's office to have a fingerstick test done. 372 mg/dL. Moderate ketones*.
The doctor said to see an endocrinologist within the next 2 weeks or so.

Emily's mom decided it was time to call the pediatrician downtown. The pediatrician said, "Go to Texas Children's. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200. Just go." They did run home and grab some clothes, first, knowing that they would at least be there overnight.

That night, Emily was given her first insulin shot.

And she told her mom that she would be okay.

The next 3 days, they waited, took classes, and learned how to give shots. Emily was nervous, but once she found out that this was NYGD (Not Your Grandma's Diabetes), she began to feel better. She could still eat the things she loved, there just were some times that it wouldn't always be a good idea. She would have to deal with high and low blood sugars. She would have to give shots several times a day.

But she would be okay.

And okay she is still.

*An a1c of 18 does not usually correlate to moderate and small ketones, but that is all I ever ran. I have run large ketones once since dx, and have only run ketones at all a handful of times. I'm just one of the very blessed to not easily run ketones. 


  1. Wow, you've got quite a memory of the time you were diagnosed -- especially impressive since you slept through most of it!

    But seriously, this was fascinating to read. I was half your age at my diagnosis (7) and I don't remember much. All I know is that I went straight from the pediatrician's office to the hospital. This "make an appointment in two weeks" stuff is just careless. I'm so glad your mom decided to get a second opinion - and of course demanded testing for diabetes to begin with!

    "And okay she is still". Great way to conclude one of hopefully many chapters in your story..

    1. It's a memory of feelings more than anything. Although, I remember VERY vividly the day I was diagnosed. If I sit here with my eyes closed, I can see it all play out in my mind. I guess certain things just have a poignancy that are hard to forget, especially being that I was 14 and understood the effects of everything that was happening. Sometimes it feels like yesterday, and sometimes it feels every bit of the 7 1/2 years it's been.

      And yes, I'm so, so thankful that my mom pressed the issue.

  2. Glad you continue to be okay. :)

    (Sidenote that doesn't matter: I think we were diagnosed with very similar BGs!)

    1. So am I!

      And that's really's always interesting to see with how many variables this disease has, how much we PWDs have in common when dealing with it.

  3. I remember sleeping for hours and hours and hours, just like you! My family never thought anything was wrong until the other symptoms started. Great post :)

  4. Wow, your doctor said to see an endo with a COUPLE OF WEEKS?! I was admitted to the ICU the day my pediatrician found out I had high BGs (my BG was over 800 mg/dl). That's crazy to me!

    1. Yes!! That's why my mom immediately called the pediatrician. When I go to that office now, I see a different doctor and NP in the practice that are more proactive.

  5. Okay, I like it! Thanks for sharing your story and I liked that you wrote in the 3rd person too. Really glad your mom was wise enough to get you into a doctor much sooner then the suggested 2 weeks. YAY! :p

  6. Oh gosh! I can still remember how tired I was in the days before I was diagnosed. I am so glad to have not felt that way since sleeping it off with my first insulin injection in the hospital.

    My PCP said to make an appointment with an endo "as soon as I could" but I ended up in the ER that night. The doctor there said I wouldn't have made it to my appointment later in the week.

  7. Glad that you are OK still. Also, YOU. ROCK.

  8. Emily - thats not a great story but you share it so well. I am shocked that it took so long after your first doctors visit. I just don't think doctors are always well versed in diabetes. I hear of missed diagnoses too often. Glad your mom was proactive. I don't have T1 but 2 of my kids do. Since my daughter was the second one diagnosed we caught it early and her fasting BS at diagnosis was only 254 but my dear son. He was only 2 and I didn't know anything about diabetes so I dismissed all his symptoms as something else. It wasn't until I noticed the extreme weight loss that I made a doctors appointment. He slept so much before that - I guess him being my third child I was just grateful for all his sleeping and didn't think anything of it. So glad his pediatrician knew to look for diabetes. He was in bad shape and if I had waited just a little longer we might have lost him. Speaking of him - you and him share the same exact diagnosis date - 2-7-07. We celebrate him kicking Dbutt every year on his Dday. We aren't celebrating diabetes - we are celebrating him. I hope you take time to celebrate yourself and all your winning too.
    I also hope you have gotten back to WDW at a time you could enjoy it. If not maybe consider going in July. There is a conference there each year called Friend For Life - it is for families with kids with T1 and adults with T1. It is basically a week of pure awesome. There are scholarships available via Diabetes Scholars Foundation. Maybe check out the Children With Diabetes website. The conference has past already this year but maybe you can attend next year. My friends - some who have commented above can tell you how wonderful the adult with T1 track is.
    BTW - I got to your site because Sara of Moments of Wonderful shared your blog address. She is da bomb.

    1. Wow, that's incredible, the same date!! I do try to do something special on my diaversary; I don't celebrate diabetes either, but I celebrate that I'm still here, and I don't feel the same way I did on that day in 2007.

      I HAVE been back to WDW since then...3 times! Haha. I had also gone twice before that, too, so, while it's a shame to have kind of "wasted" a trip to Disney, I've made up for it since :). I actually went this May.

      I have wanted to go to FFL since I heard about it several years ago, but it just never has worked out. I really want to go, though!! Hopefully next year I'll be able to.

      Thank you for sharing your story! And I agree, Sara is AWESOME.

  9. Wow, what a story! Glad you remain OK! Keep on keeping on right? (and also I saw this from Sara too)! xo

  10. This is a beautiful post!

    We are ok.