Over the past few years, I have written about my experience with type one diabetes years after I was diagnosed. I have shared daily challenges that I have overcome, goals that have taken me a long time to accomplish, advice, advocacy efforts, and so much more. However, on the day that I was diagnosed with this disease, I know that my family and I never dreamt in our wildest dreams that any of this would be possible.
I will never forget that day. I was six years old and my blood sugar was probably somewhere around 500, yet I will always remember every small aspect of December 6, 2004. It was a Monday. I was in first grade. I went to school that day, blue jeans, a t-shirt, and grey hooded sweater, as if nothing was wrong...as if it wasn't one of the most important days of my life. Well, I was 6 years old, how was I supposed to know? Now my mom? Oh, she knew. She knew that something was wrong with her baby. So, she scheduled an appointment with my doctor for right after school. After school, I handed my mom a note from my teacher expressing concern for my constant urination and drinking water. With that extra stimulus, my mom dashed to the doctors' office.
"Hannah, how would you like to go help at the front desk for a little bit? I need to talk to your mom alone for a minute." The doctor sent me out of the room after sticking a bandaid on my first finger prick. (Wow, imagine if we used a bandaid after every finger prick...)
I remember the doctor had walked into the room and sniffed the air around me. My mom and I had glanced at eachother, slightly confused, but continued the examination. Afterwards, we found out that he had actually smelled the sweetness in my breathe from my high blood sugar. Breathe mint please?
When I was finally called back into the room, I knew something was seriously wrong, but I could not understand why everybody seemed so concerned. I could not fathom the idea that there was no cure for this disease and that I would have it my whole life, or that something like this could happen to me. I remember acting upset, because it seemed like the right thing to do...everyone else was upset, so I assumed I should be too. After all, whatever was happening was happening to me.
I remember my mom's speedy driving to stop home and grab some clothing (and of course Mr. Sleepytime Bear, couldn't forget him!) and then the race to the hospital. In the waiting room, we all got pretty hungry, so, totally uneducated about diabetes, we all sat down for a few slices of pizza! What a perfect meal for someone in DKA! ...Not!
Finally in the Intensive Care Unit, where I would spend the next week, doctors and nurses were placing needles into my arms and I was immediately attached to two insulin drips. I was scared and confused, but the whole time, I watched my mom across my bed. She did not leave me for one second. Even from the very beginning, my family was there for me. Later in the day, spotted strutting down the hallway, were 3 of my mom's best friends, who had all come to see me and be there for me and my family. They had headed over right away! When all the commotion had finally settled down a bit, the nurse was covering me with a blanket when I asked her if I was the only kid in the hospital. Playfully shocked, she swiped open the curtain next to her and revealed another girl about my age, also lying in a hospital bed. For some reason in my 6 year old mind, this comforted me.
The next week was a crash course in chemistry, nursing, nutrition, exercise, and diabetes before we were set out into the real world. Although I do not remember leaving the hospital that first day, I imagine it must have been one of the scariest moments for me and my family. We had entered and left that hospital with a new outlook on life and how many carbs it contained. However, we is the most important word in that statement. We stuck together and supported eachother. We taught and helped one another, and everyone was always there to take care of me. Everyone pitched in however they could.
9 years ago, leaving the hospital, there was not nearly as advanced technology to help in the treating and research for type 1 diabetes, and I can only imagine what will be accomplished in the next 9 years. I would never have dreamt of any of the things that diabetes would teach me. On that very first day out of the hospital, my family and I only hoped to learn carb-counting and how to give insulin correctly. Now, we are not only experts in those topics and so many other diabetes related subjects, but we have gained so much more from this disease then we could have imagined. It has taught me how to take care of myself, how to stand up for myself, how to help others, and to, no matter what, never give up.
Hello everyone! I'm Hannah! I'm 16 years old and have been living a normal life with type 1 diabetes for 10 years! I'm so excited to share the journey of Penpals United with you through our blog!