Abbie's Story

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On June 13th of 2004 our family changed forever. We had just brought our 3rd child home from the hospital the day before and after spending some time with our three year old we realized what something was wrong. The more time we spent with her it became apparent that she was really sick and needed to be seen right away. We took her to the hospital and after some testing the Doctor informed us that our daughter had diabetes. The next few hours were an experience that we will never forget. Abbie was so sick they had a hard time getting an IV started and stabilizing her blood sugars. I watched my husband lay on Abbie over and over again while they tried to find a vein that wouldn’t collapse. The next 5 days the Doctors worked to stabilize Abbie’s blood sugar and the educators taught us our new “life style.” It was overwhelming and emotional at best. For a three year old I am sure it is the scariest thing imaginable. Suddenly, 8 to 10 times a day you are having your fingers poked and every time you eat you get a shot. When a nurse would walk into the room she jumped for her Dad and started crying. I remember sobbing as the educator took out a bag of needles and a vile of saline to practice giving shots to each other. As a parent you do everything you can to protect your child from pain and then in a blink of an eye you are told that in order for her to live you are the one who has to inflict the pain.

Once we got home from the hospital we tried to settle into a routine. It was new to all of us. All of the sudden our lives were ran by the clock. When it was time to eat or have insulin you woke her up or dropped everything to eat a meal. With time things started falling into place. We learned tricks of how to get her to eat when she didn’t want to. We learned to how cook meals and figure out the carbohydrate count. Abbie even learned how to test her own blood sugar and get shots with out crying.

Financially was a scary time. Josh had just graduated from collage and was working part time in construction while he found a job. Diabetic supplies are not cheap but we did what we had to do in order to get the things Abbie needed. Insulin and supplies came first and everything else after that. There were some months the grocery bill was non-existent so we got creative. Grandma’s house became the grocery store on a number of occasions. Now five years later there are still times that it can be over whelming. Some of the newest technology isn’t covered by insurance companies and so if you want your child to benefit from these things that comes out of pocket. Some months are bigger burdens than others. If she is sick or going through a growth spurt we will need extra supplies that month. We look at diabetic supplies the same as we always have; they come first everything else after that.


I think that the emotional burden is the most devastating. Not only for Abbie but also for us. When Abbie was first 

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 diagnosed we knew that Abbie would look to us as an example on how to feel about diabetes. We always talked optimistically and positively about this disease and her ability to live with it. Then after we would put her to bed we would break down, cry, and start all over the next day. Despite how well adjusted Abbie is there are still days when diabetes is too much. On those days we rally around her as a family and hold her while she cries, remind her how brave she is, and that she doesn’t have to do it alone. There are some things that Abbie really hates about her Diabetes. She hates that she has to plan a head for things like riding her bike to school or playing at a friend’s house. She worries that if she gets sick she will have to be hospitalized or that she will have to take lots of time from school to get better. Abbie is 8 years old now and doesn’t fully comprehend this disease. At some point she will and at that point we will rally around her as a family again.

As the parent there are so many feelings that it is hard to articulate them. You feel guilt that perhaps genetically you gave her this disease or that you are not doing enough to keep her healthy. Knowing that you have someone’s life in your hands adds an enormous amount of pressure. If we don’t take care of Abbie the way she needs to she could die. This weighs heavily on our minds as parents. Most of the time we don’t sleep through the night. We test her levels at 11:00 pm if she in the normal range we sleep all night if she isn’t then we either don’t get to go to bed till she is or we give insulin and set our alarm for 3 am to retest.  We can’t just leave Abbie with anyone. Every babysitter has to have some training on how to take care of her and we can only leave for an evening. Josh and I have not been over night together in 5 years. We recognize that this will not always be the case but we miss the time we could spend together as a couple.

 We realize that there are some amazing families out there dealing with more than we do and for that we honor them. Although this disease is manageable it is still a disease that will affect Abbie for the rest of her life. We try not to think about the things that Abbie will face in her life but instead embrace her triumphs.


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