Our local JDRF chapter asked me to speak at the walk kickoff luncheon at the beginning of December, my first thought was no way lol! It turned out great and I was able to hold back tears and get through it without stuttering from nerves :) Here is my speech:
Introductions..... and Justin hiding lol
He was diagnosed just over a year ago on November 19, 2012, he was 7 years old.
He had all the classic symptoms, including excessive thirst and frequent urination. Looking back he probably had diabetes for 2 ½ - 3 months before diagnosis.
It was easy for us to blame the symptoms on other things going on, it seemed the symptoms were worse on days he had soccer practice or a game. It was super hot out, so I didn’t even question the excessive drinking.
Friends would comment that he was looking really thin, at diagnosis he weighed 44lbs, that's a 16lbs loss from 3 months earlier. Of course it's hard to notice that because it happened gradually over a few months. But when I look back at photos I wonder how I didn't notice, it was just so obvious.
After the soccer season ended in early November, we had nothing to blame it on. Over the next 3 weeks, it just got worse, the day before he was diagnosed we were at a NASCAR race at Homestead Miami Speedway, it was something Justin had been really excited about doing.
You’ll see in the pictures that he had a much better time this year!
The ride there which should take just under 2 hours….took 3, we had to stop at least 6 times each way so he could use the bathroom. He was so lethargic, asking to be carried often and just wanted to drink all day….our seats were in row 30 and Justin and my husband would no sooner get back from the restroom and he needed to go again.
We had some friends sitting not too far from us and they came over to say hi, Justin could have cared less about seeing his friends, he just layed on my husband and would barely lift his head to talk. That was the moment I knew with 99% certainty that he had diabetes.
I didn’t know at the time about DKA, and just how serious and dangerous the situation was.
The next morning I called his pediatrician and was told to bring him over almost immediately. I don’t remember ever being so nervous, I knew exactly what was going to happen, even though I was holding out hope that it was something else wrong.
His Dr. with tears in his eyes, just said his sugar is high…………..and he was talking to me about what we needed to do and he was gonna get some paperwork ready for me, and I just lost it, I know we are supposed to be strong but I couldn’t hold it in, my gut feeling was right and it was the most horrible feeling.
Justin has been so brave from the first finger stick at the Drs office, to the IV at the hospital and the daily injections, he continues to show me everyday what a hero looks like, I remind him all the time how proud I am of him for dealing with this like a champ!
Awareness is key, every chance I get I will talk about Type 1 Diabetes. It is really amazing just how little most people know about it. Before Justin was diagnosed that included me, my Dad is also a Type 1 diabetic, and I grew up seeing him take insulin and check his sugar…..but that was it.
I truly didn’t know what Type 1 diabetes was. I thought he took a shot of insulin and that was it, that it was “fixed.” It’s so important to talk about it whenever you can, so that others will know the symptoms and more about Type 1!
Our first encounter with the JDRF was in the hospital, our nurse came in with the bag of hope backpack. I sat near Justin while he slept looking threw everything, scared, overwhelmed, and sad for my son.
After the shock of everything started to wear off, I decided to start a walk team, and we did our first Walk to Cure Diabetes in March this year. It was great for Justin to have friends and family supporting him! We all enjoyed the walk together and the kids had a blast with all the activities going on before and after. We are already looking forward to next years walk!
It's hard as a Mom to not be able to fix this for him, I want so bad to take it away so that he doesn't have to deal with it. That's why I choose to be involved with the JDRF, I can't cure him alone! Being involved shows him we care. And we aren't giving up on finding a cure.
We try to make it to as many JDRF events as possible, for me I love meeting other D-Moms, we all just have an immediate connection and understanding of each other, we’ve all felt the same emotions, have the same concerns, and have a need to talk with others who just “get it”. Its also nice that were not stared at when checking sugar or injecting insulin….were “normal” for a few hours.
Justin loves making new friends who have diabetes, it’s nice for him to know he’s not the only one, I mean he knows he’s not, but sometimes its hard. I absolutely loved watching him zooming around the ice at the back to school event in August with some new friends.
The JDRF gives us Hope for a world that will one day be free from Type 1 Diabetes!
Our family is so thankful to everyone who supports the JDRF, all those who are here today, and those who can’t be here. Support is what keeps the hope going that one day we will have a cure and that Type 1 will become Type none!