Yankee Belle


Tornadoes & Diabetes - D Day.

I do not think I will ever be able to fully grasp how much of an emotional wreck I was the day lil CJ was diagnosed with diabetes. It was the most traumatic moment of my life. I pray it is my last.

lil CJ was. what I considered, a normal soon to be 2 year old. There was nothing that stood out and made me think my baby was sick. Until about 2 weeks prior to his 2nd birthday.

lil CJ began drinking a lot. And by a lot, I mean inhaling a full sippy cup of water/milk/juice and asking for more. All this drinking led to him soaking a diaper with in an hour. Sometimes it was so much, he leaked while standing up. He also started wetting his bed. His diapers would be so full, one would have thought he had gone swimming in it. On our trip to NC for my cousin's wedding, lil CJ peed his car seat and several outfits. He managed to pee his Easter bunny outfit while waiting for pictures. He also developed a horrible diaper rash. There was also his insatiable appetite. He could eat 2 McDonald's cheeseburgers or a whole 6" Subway sandwich and still be hungry.

Of course, if one looks at this like we did...it could make rational sense. If he likes to drink, he will pee. All the wet diapers would create a diaper rash. And the excessive eating, well as proud daddy said 'He IS a growing boy!'.

Almost 2 weeks to the day that these extreme symptoms began, lil CJ started to act exhausted. He took a morning nap and an afternoon nap 2 days in a row. My mommy intuition alarm went off. Something was wrong. Something was horribly wrong.

I googled all his symptoms and DIABETES glared back at me. Page after page. I knew, at that very moment...Tuesday morning, April 26, 2011 my son was a diabetic. Just 2 days after his 2nd birthday. It was a weight of emotion I can not put into words, but the feeling is still all too fresh.

I called our pediatrician. He was not in the office, but I spoke to the nurse. She explained that most children with diabetes are very sick and much older. The likelihood was slim that he had diabetes. lil CJ's 2 year check up was scheduled for Friday, May 13. She suggested I watch his symptoms until then and call back should he get worse. Her words, intended as comfort, did not help. We hung up...yet I had this overwhelming nagging feeling that he could not wait. He had to be seen today. I called back and insisted any doctor see him that day. They obliged and scheduled us for 3pm. Comforted with an appointment, I relaxed some. Within 20 mins of scheduling his appointment, his pedi's nurse called back and agreed he should be seen today too. I do not know what changed her mind.

Our morning went on as normal. We went to hubby's office for lunch, where lil CJ again consumed an ungodly amount of food for a lil boy. He also went thru 2 diapers. Unfortunately, all of this fell during nap time. Poor lil CJ was one tired monkey.

Dr. Tapley was the doctor that could fit us in. She was nice enough to conduct his 2year check up in addition to the blood sugar test to save me a copay & return trip. After they pricked his finger for what was to be the first time of millions to come, we were sent to the waiting room to wait on his results.

This was the beginning of our whirlwind. 10 minutes later we were called back to the exam room. The doctor looked at me and said 'Well, his blood sugar was 400." Now, at no time in my life have I ever thought about blood sugars. Diabetes is all new to me. I know absolutely nothing. I answered 'Okay.' She then said the D word. "He has diabetes." My stomach jumped into my throat. My eyes welled up with tears. She continued:

"I have a call in o Children's Hospital. I am waiting to hear from Endocrinology to make sure they have a bed. I want him admitted now." All I could think was "My baby is sick." I didnt say it, but I thought diabetes was some simple thing you got a shot and went go on about your business. Why is he being immediately admitted?... I looked at my sweet boy sitting in his stroller. He had no idea how much his life...our life...was about to change. And poor Big B, all she kept asking was "What is diabetes?! What is wrong with him?!"

The call came within minutess that they were ready for us. Do not pass go. Do not collect any belongings. Go immediately to admitting.

As we left the office and I strolled my baby down the hall, all I wanted to do was cry and sob on the floor. The emotion was too much for me to handle. How the hell is MY baby sick?! How did I let this happen?! And then Big B looked at me...total fear in her eyes and asked:

"Is he going to die?"

I 'sobered up', if you will. I sucked it all up and returned back to under control Mama. My babies both needed me. And I answered her honestly and truthfully:

"No! Your brother will be fine." At that very moment, I promised lil CJ, myself, my daughter, hubby and God, I would do everything in my power to kick diabetes a$$. This New Yorker would not be beat, nor allow someone I love to hurt.

I texted hubby the message no hubby wants to get. "Diabetes. F*CK. We are being sent immediately to Children's. Meet us there NOW."

I do not remember the drive there. I do not remember entering the hospital. My first moment of memory again was in admissions. lil CJ and Big B were playing basketball together. There were 2 other moms waiting with us. Neither had their children with them. They both looked tired...sad. Conversation began. It was revealed one lil girl had cerebral palsy and was in surgery, the other had a rare form of cancer and was undergoing chemo again. My heart hurt, but it was then I realized my son was fine. He was not deathly ill. He was too busy throwing the basketball to his big sister.

Hubby joined us as we finished up the admissions process. Hubby had that look. That look of fear. Terror.

We were then sent to a small room where they took lil CJ's vitals. He had a complete meltdown. Nothing made him happy. The screaming was deafening. I could not even hear the nurses to answer questions. His blood sugar was 530. Normal, I was told, is 100.

After all the chaos in what felt like the smallest exam room ever, we were ushered to what would be our home for 3 days. The metal crib made my stomach turn.

Our BFF's were - as always - our lifesavers. JayDoug picked Big B up on his way home from work so that she could spend the night with the Mabster. God bless my bff Kimtasticmomma. She had a newborn and a sleepover.

That night is somewhat of a blur. Our endocrinologist came in to speak with us. She was talking diabetes terms, and I had no idea what anything meant. We must have had a sheer look of terror on our face. She changed topics and began to talk to us personally. She too, is a diabetic. She is on a pump (which she showed us). She lives a great life, is healthy and even partied in college. Hubby looked so relieved. And I will admit, it did the trick. Diabetes is NOT a death sentence.

Things finally settled down and hubby ordered Chinese delivery. I had no appetite tho. I am not one to miss a meal, but my body was not interested in eating. Sleep evaded me too. I slept maybe an hour total that first night. Nurses were in and out constantly. lil CJ did manage to sleep in that metal crib. Hubby and I did not fare as well. The single pull out sleepers left no room for our arms to stretch out...or that the pillow had the thickness of a sheet of paper.

In the quiet of our room, I could hear the wind howling outside the big glass windows. At 5am, the first of what would be a day filled with tornado sirens was heard. Within minutes, our nurse was in our room asking us to join everyone in the hall.

We were in the hall for maybe an hour. (My concept of time was completely shot the entire day.) There were so many kids there. So many sick babies. My heart still weeps for them. lil CJ, in all honesty, did not look like he belonged there.

From what I now know, that early tornado did damage. I still think it is so crazy that somehow the severity of the storms was unbeknown to me. I was oblivious to everything except my son. My mom, who was suppose to come down and help watch the kids while hubby & I were in training, could not make it due to the severe weather in NAshville. With no other luck for a sitter, hubby stayed behind while I endured our first training day.

Seis came by with the boys to play in the Harbor Room with the kids. Brooke was thrilled to see her 2 favorite twins. They also brought lil CJ an awesome ramp toy. (Which totally saved the day. He LOVES it.)

Meanwhile in training, I was lost. Correction factors...BS-150/200 and then add it to the carbs ate during his meal. Divide by 50. Lantus is administered once in the morning, once at night. Count carbs. Prick his finger. Fill a syringe. Administer shots. How the meter works. Control solution. Under 100 do the glucose 15. Hypo vs. Hyper. Blindness. Kidney damage.

MY HEAD WAS SWIRLING. I had to absorb all of this information and make it work...so that my baby could survive. WHY GOD?! WHY HIM?! WHY?!?!?!?

I had lunch in the cafeteria alone. I was an empty shell. I think I had 2 bites of my cheese pizza. I could barely swallow it. I could barely swallow what was happening to our perfect life.

I can not count how many times I wanted to break down and cry. My eyes welled up too many times to count. On the second day of instruction, our instructor mentioned how concerned she was about me. She thought Id be bald by the end of the 1st day....I had literally been pulling my hair out.

Walking back to our room, I was a drained wreck. I had no idea what was going on in Birmingham. The tornadoes that were wreaking havoc all over our city...I was overwhelmed with the tornado in my own little world - Diabetes.

Being we were still in a sitter bind, our God sent bffs picked Big B up to spend another night with them. She was so excited to have another sleep over with her bff.

We had the weather on in our hospital room, but my brain could not process any more information. The tornado sirens were going off again. We were told to evacuate our rooms and head to the basement. In a daze, I asked the nurses why they were not going. The head nurse stated they were to remain at their stations. Hubby and I agreed, we'd stick it out with them.

In the hall, lil CJ was playing with JaMarcus. JaMarcus was 3. His mom, who looked maybe 30, had 6 kids. He was there to have his shunt replaced. While playing with CJ, he pooped his pants not once, but twice. It splattered on the floor. Not to be graphic, but my gut was in a knot. Not from the obvious grossness, but the idea my diabetic kid was going to leave the hospital with something more... or worse.

Hubby was fielding calls. He knew how bad the tornado was. His mom was calling asking where Big B was. Turns out, we sent her home...right into the path of the mile long tornado. Hubby looked sick. We couldn't reach Kimtasticmomma. Deep down, I knew she was okay. I know the bffs would protect her as if she were their own. If hubby could have made it to pick her up tho, he was totally ready to run and grab her.

When the winds finally settled down, cities and neighborhoods were gone. The tornado came within 5 miles of our home. God spared us. For that I am grateful.

That night is another blur. I don't remember eating dinner. I don't remember much of anything. I was asked to review some of that day's paperwork, but I was so overwhelmed, I could not even look at the book. I did try to explain some of the material to hubby, but I just couldnt process it. I talked to my cousin, and completely broke down. Bawling. It all came out.

I think I slept some. Exhaustion won. My body gave in.

I awoke Thursday feeling positive and ready to conquer diabetes. God renewed my strength while sleeping.

Hubby and I had a good day of sessions. BlueMomma & my mom were able to come to the hospital and help with the kids. They were Godsends. The kids had a great time. And The Girl gave lil CJ the Cars DVD for his birthday. Perfect for a lil boy that loves anything that moves.

Our training session went great. Hubby and I grasped it all. We could do this. Life will continue on for us as planned. DIabetes will not get the best of our lives or family.

We were discharged late Thursday night. With no power to return home to, and a lil boy that required specific foods, we voyaged to Grandaddy's house to spend the night. lil CJ and Big B were so thrilled to have some bit of normalcy back. Hubby and I did too.

That evening and night went well. We did what we were taught to do. Administering the shots was not as hard as I thought. Hubby was a little worried about the worst case scenario situations. He, like a dedicated loving daddy, slept on the floor by our bed with the glucagon gun in hand. (There was no way all 4 of us would fit on the bed. And the couch was downstairs...too far for his comfort.)

The rest is really normal. We grocery shopped, returned home and set up/organized all our supplies. Diabetes had indeed come home with us.

lil CJ's birthday party was scheduled for that Saturday, April 30th at Pump It Up. I canceled it. As much as I refuse to let diabetes change our lives, I just could not get myself together to host a party. Finger pricking, carb counting, 5 injections a day, I was not mentally ready for an outing. So my sweet baby boy, didnt have a party. But he was not forgotten. So many of our dear friends sent a gift anyway. I took pics of him opening every one. It was his birthday celebration...party or not.

Although Im sure I will still refer to my daughter as Big B in my blog, I've also started to call her Sassy B. So in addition to her new name, lil CJ has also been nicknamed Sugar Free CJ.

We are now a family with a cause. We are a family affected by Type 1 diabetes. We need.want.pray.hope for a cure. But until then....

Diabetes will not slow us down. Life is too short, too precious and so worth living.

Plus, mama loves our social life.



Lorraine of "This is Caleb..." said...

Oh Stacy.
What is there to say?
Well I have one thing to say - what on earth was that nurse thinking??????? She needs a little - a lot - of education on diabetes. Thank goodness you called back and insisted to be seen.
Beyond that, just know that we know and understand and are here for you for whatever you need.
Thank you for sharing your story. It is, of course, very relatable in so many ways.

Kim said...

i'm so proud of you for blogging this although i know it is a day you will never forget. also, i know i've told you this before, but if anybody can handle this newly diagnosis of diabetes...it's you. sugar free CJ is lucky to have you as his mother.

lastly, God put us together for a reason when we crossed paths. we'll always be here for you guys. always. much love. xoxo

Sarah said...

Amazing post and must have been hard to write so soon. You are already an inspiration that diabetes will not beat us. Hoping to get to know you more over the coming years.

BlessedMom said...

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with all of this! In the past month I've, more than once, yelled to the sky, "Why my son?!!!??" It completely and totally freaking sucks to be diagnosed with a disease that is life altering for your child. I can't imagine going through everything you have to do each day, but I do know what a strong woman you are. And you'll do whatever it takes!! We mommas can't let something like disease bring us down.

I can completely relate to your feelings of being at the hospital. Those shrink-wrapped pillows were worthless! I'm glad we're both home. And now on to keeping both our boys happy and healthy!

A Mom to Two Lil' Ones said...

Your post is so honest - thank you for sharing it. I am continuing to pray for little CJ and your family as you begin this new journey. He is one lucky little fellow to have you as his mommmy. Many hugs to you my friend.