Saturday, October 3, 2009

September 21, 2009 - The day our lives changed forever

People have been asking - how did you find out? How did you know something was wrong? Well, as emotional as I am now, and the place I am in currently I thought there is no way I want to talk about this over and over again, but for the past - almost week now I've talked to anyone who will listen. Somehow as painful as it is, it helps to get it out. To tell people how this happened, to tell people how we discovered that our beautiful daughter has Type 1 Diabetes.
I had been noticing over the past month or so that Alyssa been drinking a lot of fluids and using the bathroom a lot because of it. Well the week before her diagnosis it only got worse, to the point of my daughter having accidents (which isn't like her) and not even being able to go an hour or so without having to guzzle liquids several times and run to the bathroom hoping to make it. I knew something was wrong, something was off. I had some people tell me that she's probably just growing, not a big deal, but something in my heart didn't feel right about it. On Sunday, we went to church and she saw her Sunday school teachers whom she hadn't seen much over the summer because they take the summer off from teaching. They know Alyssa quite well and commented on how thin she looked. I knew she had grown taller and thinner (like her daddy) but I thought maybe I should weigh her. Sunday night, September 20, I made Alyssa get on the scale and there it was - 42 lbs. Down from the 49 lbs. she was in July. Taller and thinner, yes, but taller and LOSING weight? Something was very wrong.

I researched it online - over and over again DIABETES kept popping up. I thought no, no, no.... this can't be it. Alyssa is perfectly healthy - never complaining of anything BESIDES being thirsty and having to go potty often. Diabetes isn't it, it's SOMETHING else.

Monday, September 21 - I went to work very early in the morning - 6 am, and was home by 8 am to get Alyssa read to get on the bus. 8:10 - I remember I needed to call the doctor and make an appointment. Did so - appointment was at 1:15 pm. Got Alyssa on the bus, went to the gym to teach a Zumba class, came home, showered and since it was David's day off, he made me and the kids lunch. Got Alyssa off the bus, ate lunch and told David to watch Christian and that Alyssa and I would be back after her appointment.

I had no idea we wouldn't be back for the next 5 days.

I arrived at the pediatrician's office and of course, Alyssa immediately needed to use the bathroom. The nursing assistant said to take a urine sample, so we did. We then saw Alyssa's pediatrician, Dr. Davies. He looked over his charts and saw she had lost a couple of pounds even from her check up in March for her 5 year old visit. I told him the startling news of it being more - a 7 lb. loss, more than he thought. He then looked at me with sad eyes and asked me what I thought it might be - as if we were looking at each other thinking "diabetes" but neither one of us wanting to say it. I finally said it and he didn't say anything, just looked at me. He said it was either that or PICA, where kids find comfort in eating or drinking things all the time, like their bodies are missing something so they make up for it in other ways. He told me he wanted to run a blood test and urine test the next morning, Tuesday morning. I told him how we had already given Alyssa's urine and he said, "Let me take a quick peak at it."

Alyssa had to go to the bathroom again.

Dr. Davies came back in and told me we couldn't wait - sugars were spilling into her urine and we needed to get to the ER at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital immediately. I had him call David and explain everything to him. Dr. Davies told me to go and that he'd call ahead and have us get in immediately.

I cried the whole way there. Alyssa just kept asking if she had to get a flu shot. It made me cry more - a flu shot was the least of our worries. I called my parents, my parents, my husband, my son and my father in law were all on their way too.

I got to the ER, got checked in and while waiting for the doctor, I put my hands on my baby and prayed for her. That God would watch over her, take care of her, heal her.

The doctors came in, explained everything. My family arrived. My daughter gets an IV, doesn't even cry and exclaims, "That didn't even hurt!" The doctors think she looks so good, is acting so "normal" how high can her blood sugar be?

The answer: HIGH. Normal blood sugar: 70-150. My daughter's? 780.

The doctors told me if I had waited another day or 2, she could have been in a coma.
We immediately get fluids going on in her, insulin going. We're moved up to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) where she would stay until they could get her blood sugar down to a normal level by keeping her on fluids and insulin constantly.

Once we get into the PICU, my parents leave - it's late and they need to care for Christian for us while we're in the hospital with Lissy. My father in law stays with me, Alyssa and David. We're bombarded by nurses and doctors. All the while Alyssa is chatting away with them as she receives a 2nd IV to which she doesn't cry either. She talks with them constantly. They ask, "Have you ever been in the hospital before, Alyssa?" to which she replies (and they tell me they've never gotten an answer like this before), "Yes, when my mother had me." My girl is so special.

Alyssa continues to need to go to the bathroom several times an hour. I thought all this time she was peeing so much because she was drinking so much. Turns out, she was drinking so much because her body was losing everything through urine - including calories hence the weight loss. She just passed it all and had been for awhile.

As things got settled in, 11 pm came and it was time to settle in and get some rest. "Rest." Alyssa got maybe a couple of hours - the nurses had to check her blood sugars every hour. "Rest" - against my husband's will, I made him go home hoping ONE of us would get some sleep where he slept maybe 2 hour and had nightmares through it all. "Rest" - I started replaying everything over in my head...

On the way to the pediatrician's office that morning, before everything had been discovered, Alyssa said something to me that haunts me now.
"Mom, I have to tell you something."
"What Alyssa?"
"Sometimes at night when I was up and I told you I had to go to the bathroom, I was actually sneaking and taking drinks from the sink."

Here I was trying to cut off my daughter's liquids at night. She would get up several times before I went to bed even and tell me she was going to the bathroom. Frustrated I would tell her to hurry and do it so she could go back to sleep. Here she was HIDING the fact she was drinking. I told her not to drink. And it's what she needed. And she felt like she had to hide it from me.

David and I thought about all the nights she would get up and do the same thing - go to the bathroom all the time, we thought she was stalling. We became frustrated with her.
When she wet her pants, I got frustrated with her, telling her she should have told me she had to go sooner.

I know it's not my fault - I didn't know she had Diabetes. I know that somewhere inside but I can't shake the feeling that I hurt my daughter, I let her down. She NEEDED to drink at night, she COULDN'T HELP having those accidents. My God - what had I done?

We stayed in the PICU until Tuesday night and she was moved to the Medical Unit and then the next day to observation where we stayed until we left for home, Friday, September 25.

I'll write more about those days in the hospital later, but for now it took all the emotions that I have to write this.

I'm mad. I'm soooooooo mad. I'm so sad more than anything. I don't want anyones encouragment right now because I'm a very happy person, and Alyssa is a very happy girl. I know we'll learn to live and cope. But right now I'm grieving. And I need to grieve and to know that everyone around us understands that we just need to do that. We need to work our way through these emotions.

Oh and why is this blog named doctorAlyssa? Because one nurse said to my daughter, "You're so beautiful, are you going to be a model when you grow up?" and to that my daughter said, "I don't want to be a model, I want to be a Doctor!" Maybe she will, maybe she won't. Maybe she'll be the one to help find the cure for this disease.

One thing still hasn't changed and will never change: God is still the same God He was a week ago. A week ago when I didn't know my daughter had Diabetes.


  1. Im amazed by Alyssa's courage...she gets it from you. I'm sitting here crying. Crying because I'm a mom and can not imagine this pain, yet also crying because there's something beautiful about this whole situation...again, Alyssa's innocence and courage.

  2. I am so touched by your words. What a tribulation to endure! Surely God has blessed you with immeasurable fortitude to weather such a life-changing experience. I strongly believe we are only given what our Heavenly Father knows we can handle. It took me a long time to realize that the painful things we go through in this life are actually GIFTS from God, given to us as exquisitely personal opportunities for growth. I am sure you look back at that first day - that terrible day - and see all that you have gained and learned from it. Our trials is God's way of saying, "You are ready. You are worthy. You can do this." Love you, Michaela!!