As told by her Mother:
It was three weeks after Elise’s fourth birthday that she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She had been very tired, quiet, (not the typical Elise), drinking massive amounts of water, even throughout the night, and having problems making it to the restroom. She went to see her pediatrician. We assumed it was a bladder infection, but they checked her blood sugar and it was 583! The doctor told my husband to bring her straight to the ER. That’s when I got the call from my husband and he said, “I think Elise has diabetes. We’re going to the ER.” At that moment, I was no longer a nurse, but a scared mom of a child with type 1 diabetes. She spent three days in the hospital. It was a whirlwind of education on how to take care of her. I just didn’t know if I could do it!
Well, I did. She came home on two shots a day, Regular and NPH insulin — yes, that’s all we had! She had specific times she needed to eat, which was a challenge for a busy family with four children. Everyone learned how to check their blood sugar and give a shot. We all needed to understand what Elise needed to do so her diabetes would be controlled. She had no problem checking her own blood sugar. By five years old she gave herself her shots supervised and at seven she was on an insulin pump and could tell you what she ate that needed insulin given by her pump. She never thought she couldn’t do this!
School started, oh, how will we do this? The teachers, school nurse and paraprofessionals were excellent. When the cafeteria worker told her she couldn’t have rice, she had her call her mom, she knew her carbs. Her friends even became educated about diabetes.
Oh, when Elise was seven years old, she attended diabetes camp. She learned that there were a lot of children just like her. She enjoyed camp so much. She eventually became a counselor there.
Middle school and high school oh my! Yes, there were times she hide food, didn’t take her blood sugar and insulin when she was supposed to, but with the help of her diabetes educators and endocrinologist and support team, she made it through. She never missed a dance, school activity, and even played softball!
Elise was ready to go off to college! How could I let her go? Because she had been educated about her type 1 diabetes and how to manage it since she was four years old.
As an adult she was diagnosed with another disease, Factor V, a clotting disorder. She had many hospitalizations for blood clots in her legs and lungs. Yes, of course, it wreaked havoc on her blood sugars. When she was diagnosed, she told me, “It’s OK mom. It just means I have a pill to take once a day for the rest of my life!” It’s that attitude that has allowed her to do all the things she’s dreamed of. Nothing was going to stop her – maybe slow her down, but not stop her!
She fell in love with Adam, who is a paramedic. He took diabetes head on and learned everything he needed to know to help Elise manage her diabetes. He has two beautiful children that Elise treats as her own and, yes, she does all this and manages her diabetes.
I’d say Elise has kicked type 1 in the butt and she will continue to be a warrior to continue that fight until there is a cure!
She has waited 25 years for this medal to show she could manage her diabetes. What a surprise it will be when we give her the medal and celebrate her 25th Diaversary!
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