Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Reason We Walked - Spencer's Diagnosis

Last weekend we participated in something special. Spence, the kids (except Little Man), his parents, his sister, her fiance, and I arrived at the Mall of America for the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes.

When Spencer was just 2 years old, he came down with what appeared to be a bad flu.  High fever, wouldn't eat, felt crappy.  His mom took him in to the doctor, who told her he had the flu and told her how to handle it, then sent her home.  Meanwhile for a week or two they hadn't been able to keep him away from drinking fountains or gallons of juice, he wouldn't eat food, and he was peeing constantly.  Two days after the doctor appointment she took him back because his fever was back up and she was concerned about his symptoms.  She wanted the doctor to test him for diabetes, but he told her that she was being over protective and kids his age don't get diabetes... it's the flu. 

She went home, called someone from the diabetes association and asked them about his symptoms.  The person at the association told her to go back and demand a blood test.  So she did.  She went back and told that doctor that she wasn't leaving until they did a blood test to check him for diabetes.  They drew the blood and sent them home.  On the way out the door Spencer and his mom passed the nurses station where the doctor got everyone's attention and announced, "Everyone, look at that woman.  Her kid is going to grow up with so many psychological problems because she is overprotective and worries about every little thing."

Humiliated I'm sure, they left the building and went home, where she put Spencer down for his afternoon nap. 

At noon the doctor called her and, without introducing himself, told her that he was sorry, Spencer has diabetes, you need to get him to the hospital immediately there are people there waiting for him.

Upon arriving at the ER three people came and immediately took them to a room. 

Normal blood sugar for a diabetic is between 80 and 120, Spencer feels pretty crappy if his blood sugar gets up in the 300s.  His blood sugar when he got to the hospital was 983!  They were amazed he wasn't yet in a coma.  His body was shutting down, his veins were collapsing,  they couldn't get an IV in him, and for about 24 hours they didn't think he'd survive.  Remember, he was two years old.

Obviously he survived, and has been extremely lucky to have had no complications after 27 years of the disease, he isn't even needing glasses yet.  And although I want to strangle him from time to time, I don't even want to imagine a world where he hadn't made it through that time. 

So while I've been wanting to do some kind of walk for the cure for a long time, my dear hubby has dragged his feet, and I haven't had the stamina to push it, so we haven't done one since we've been together.  When his sister signed us up for the Mall of America walk I whined a little about the time of day we'd have to have everyone up and ready to leave the house, but I'm so glad she did it because it was a great experience!

We left Little Man with my parents, knowing we'd most likely stay to go on rides and he'd miss his nap, but the turnout was great!  There were so many people there, and it was touching to see all the teams of people walking to raise money to cure type 1 diabetes.  About 18,000 walked that morning to reach their goal of raising $2 Million to find a cure and keep making advancements in care and treatment for diabetics.  The advancements already made since he was diagnosed are enormous.  There are pumps that will inject the correct amount of insulin into the wearer's body based on the food info they enter into it.  My aunt trains service dogs to detect high and low blood sugars in their owners and alert them even before a glucose monitor would detect it!  The progress made is reassuring and exciting!

Not only was it a rewarding morning, we enjoyed a delicious brunch and a few rides, and some quality family time.  Next year Little Man will come too and we'll have more time to raise a bunch more money for the cure, because I want to keep this guy around for a LONG time!


mom said...

Great job telling Spencers story. So glad his mom was there to keep pushing for an answer. That Dr should be ashamed of himself for doing the public shaming like that. Glad it all turned out for the better and that Spencer is still doing so well.

Makenzie said...

What a great story abby, almost brought a tear to my eye! Cant believe how rude that doctor was!

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

My friend has had two kids diagnosed with it this year so I've learned a lot via her experience. Thanks for the post, and thanks for raising money and awareness.

Laura said...

Thanks for sharing Spence's story! Even though I have known him for a long time - through Camp Needlepoint, I still didn't know the details of his diagnosis! I do the ADA Walk in early October. A ton of Camp people walk then too! That was awesome that there was such a great turnout at the MOA! said...

makes me so mad to hear about that Dr.- good to see you getting your kids out there to serve others needs - great lesson for them! new follower- kelli

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