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Life with a Type 1 Diabetic child

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I have been a crafter all my life.  Being able to create and recreate pretty much anything.  If it needs fixing I have always been the go to girl.  A few weeks ago I was thrown into a life situation I could not craft, create, recreate or fix my way out of.  Below is my story.  I hope it can bring awareness to a very serious disorder.  If I can help just one person to notice the signs in their own child it has been worth telling my story.

April 30th will forever be known as the day our entire lives changed.  What we thought would be a quick trip to the doctors followed by a stop at the pharmacy turned into a four day stay at Randall’s Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon.  Our five year old son was in critical condition and diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  The only signs we had were extreme thirst and excessive use of the bathroom.  Other than these two symptoms he was a normal, fun, silly little boy.  We will be forever grateful for the gut feeling we had to take him to the doctors when we did.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which Brysen’s pancreas no longer produces the insulin he needs to survive and we through injections need to replace the missing insulin.  Brysen will need multiple daily insulin injections for the rest of his life or he will die.  It is a constant struggle to try to keep his blood sugar at a safe level, requiring us to poke his finger to test his BG (blood sugar or glucose) level sometimes 10+ times a day.  Brysen requires four insulin injections 4 times a day, but can do many more depending on his BG levels and carbohydrate intake.  Brysen’s diagnosis has been very scary for our family.  We are keeping a constant watch over him.  His poor sister Maddie is so fearful of him getting sick she has stopped being an 11 year old and feels it is her responsibly to keep him safe.

One of the fears we have is, with Brysen being so young this will become a part of his life.  He won’t remember life before diabetes.  This may seem like a good thing, but for him it can be deadly.  He will not be able to recognize when his BG level is declining or increasing beyond a safe level.  We are constantly checking his BG levels even getting up at 2:00 am every morning to ensure his levels are within a safe range.  We spend many sleepless nights sitting in his room watching over him as he sleeps for fear of a change we could never see happening even with us an arm length away.

The minute we had time to process what was happening we began researching every way we could keep our little boy safe.  There is nothing more difficult as a parent than knowing no matter what we do there is no way we can fix this or make it go away. The only thing was can do is put as many tools in place as possible to protect him when his BG levels go into dangerous numbers.  After much prayer and hours of research we found the best tool we could have is a D.A.D, Diabetes Alert Dog.  Having a D.A.D for Brysen will enable him more freedom to live and a best friend to go through this journey with.  It will also give our family peace of mind by alert us when Brysen is in danger. An alert dog can detect levels below 80 and above 150 giving us an opportunity to correct the sugars before they become dangerous. We are working with an amazing company/family, Heartland Diabetic Alert Dogs, out of Oklahoma. They have a five year old Type 1 Diabetic daughter.  The first thing they asked us when we called was, “How are you doing?” They understand the struggles a family goes through having a Type 1 Diabetic child.  We feel very confident in our decision; however D.A.D’s come at a very large expense.  Each D.A.D costs between $18,000.00 to $20,000.00.  The dogs go through almost a year of intense training to enable them to be the most accurate they can be for their diabetic owners.  We have made the commitment to keep Brysen safe and will be whatever we need to do to make that happened.  We know we cannot do this on our own and we are reaching out to get help in making this happen for Brysen.  Any money donated will go directly towards paying for Brysen’s D.A.D.  If we have any donations over the purchase price we will be donating it to Heartland Diabetic Alert Dogs to be used towards another family seeking to better their family with a D.A.D.

We are so grateful for any help we can get towards our goal.  Thank you for reading our story and sharing in this journey with us.  We know God wants Brysen to live a full life and he can bless many through this experience.

To learn more about Type 1 Diabetes and the warning signs to look for please visit: http://jdrf.org/life-with-t1d/type-1-diabetes-information/symptoms-warning-signs/

You can learn about Heartland Diabetic Alert Dogs at: http://www.heartlanddads.com/  or check them out on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/HeartlandDiabeticAlertDogs

To learn how to make a donation please visit: https://www.youcaring.com/pet-expenses/a-d-a-d-for-brysen/183021

Follow our journey on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DAD4Brysen

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This post may contain affiliate links or other sponsored material. Opinions are 100% the author's.

3 Responses to Life with a Type 1 Diabetic child

  1. Beau Petit Blog says:

    I find this so inspiring. Bless you and your family. Thank you for sharing this story about your remarkable child.

  2. Lori says:

    I read your story, and I am so sorry you all have to deal with this disease.. I was diagnosed as a type 1 insulin defendant diabetic at 12 years old. I am now 39 and because of my close care of my diabetes I have had very minimal impact to my health (no neuropathy, no retinopathy, etc)

    About 3 years ago I was put on an insulin pump, and it really made my life so much easier. No more 4-5 times a day shots. I also use a machine called a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) there is a little sensor that I insert under my skin every week and it monitors my blood sugar constantly. It will alert me if my blood sugar is going up or coming down. It has been a huge help! There are some drawbacks however. Some insurances do not cover the sensors (they are quite costly a months worth can cost up to $700 full retail) and if you have to take Tylenol it affects the accuracy of the results. Other than that it has been a super helpful tool for me.

    Another thing that really helped me was going to camp as a kid. (Obviously you would want to wait a few years since your son is so young) but I went to a diabetic summer camp called Camp Midicha in Michigan. It really helped me to realize I wasn’t alone and that there were other kids like me.
    Diabetes can be very scary but working with your doctors, nutritionist, and research on your own, it doesn’t have to control your life. I wish you all the best of luck in navigating this stressful diagnosis!

  3. jessica says:

    Thank you for posting this and getting the word out. My daughter was diagnosed at 8 years old and I completely understand what you are going. Through. She is now 12. After she got diagnosed we were so lost. Those resources are great. We try to do the yearly walk with the JDRF. They also have a kit that comes with a bear that they can practice on with all of the injection sites and a book, along with some other things.

    A thing that we did with her friends is talk to them about the signs of lows and highs, If we were not present with her, and to come get us. She talks to her friends about it and they even will test with her sometimes.

    I know you do not know me, but if you need to talk or vent I am available by email.

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