My beautiful son is called Jamie. He’s nearly a leap year baby, born on 28 February.
Our type 1 diabetes story starts like this… Just after Jamie’s first birthday things starting going downhill. Jamie’s development stopped and even went backwards. He had been starting to use words, starting to walk and was doing well with independent feeding.
But slowly he began to deteriorate. Within 2 months he was limp, and didn’t even want to crawl or move anymore. He lay there with no expression and, as you can imagine, I was devastated. It was clear he was not a normal happy one year old.
After many trips to the local doctor and emergency ward, Jamie was sent home with a cold, a viral infection, a chest infection and a hip inflammation. He had ultrasounds and X-rays that showed a ‘lazy-hip’. This explained why he had stopped walking and lost his appetite.
We were sent home and told to come back in a week if he didn’t improve. At home Jamie began constant vomiting, and I lay by his cot thinking he wouldn’t make it through the night.
After a couple of days of intense worry, I went back to the hospital and was lucky enough to get a new nurse who asked me to start at the beginning… It was the constant wet nappies that gave her the answer. This was unusual if he wasn’t eating or drinking that much.
Moments later we had the results of a simple blood test. BOOM! Type one diabetes was in our life forever.
I don’t know what held me together. I actually didn’t cry until about a year later when I was renewing his medic alert bracelet. That’s when it really hit me.
My mum also has type 1 diabetes (T1D), so I knew a bit about how to manage it in adults. But learning about it in my own child, a child just 14 months old. That was a whole other experience.
Jamie was in ICU for two days and then had a week on the ward. The diabetes team at the hospital were great. They love their job and they really help the families so there’s lots of support.
When we finally returned home and to some kind of normality, I spent time with the child care centre staff, to teach them the ins and outs of diabetes. Jamie was enrolled 5 days a week, from 7am – 6pm. I needed to make sure he was comfortable with the carers doing his BGLs, since it was all new for him too.
Jamie is now almost 4 and we go to pre-kindy. I also taught the new carers there how to manage this disease. We recently started on a pump, which has made life so much easier for a toddler with a love of food and parties!
From just 2 years old, Jamie could almost do his own blood checks and has learnt the all the terminology about his diabetes.
I think this kid will be looking after it himself in no time- we just need to get past the concept of a toddler not understanding they can’t always have something to eat every 3 seconds!