My 29th birthday, May 20th, 2009 was a birthday I will never forget! My youngest daughter Whitley was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I had my mother in law take Whitley to the Dr. that morning 100% anticipating a call saying she had a UTI, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined I was so wrong. I received a call from our PA telling me she was fairly certain that Whitley had diabetes. I hung up the phone in a fog and then called her right back and said, “are you sure, I know she does not always eat the best I am sure she just had too much sugar”! I obviously didn’t know much about diabetes. I sat staring at my computer screen when I did what was the most ignorant thing I could do…GOOGLED DIABETES. Do you know what comes up when you Google diabetes? DEATH, BLINDNESS, AMPUTATION, KIDNEY FAILURE!!! I couldn’t breathe! We immediately were referred to an Endo and had an appointment the very next morning!
When we get to his office I was expecting some man with a white coat and very professional. Instead a man with a brightly colored flower shirt comes boppin in smiling and on top of the world. “WHO IS THIS GUY, SURELY NOT THE DOCTOR”! First thing out of his mouth…”Mom, It’s gonna be ok, (as he slides the tissue box to me) Get yourself together! “WHO IN THE HELL IS THIS GUY TO TELL ME TO GET MYSELF TOGETHER”? Then he proceeds with “Mom, she is going to be fine, she can still have babies (how did he know I had been thinking about Steel Magnolias), there is only two things she can’t do. 1. Fly a plane 2. Drink Alcohol….which many of my patients disagree with me on! FINALLY, some good news! On that day, my husband and I went from everyday parents to giving shots, checking BG levels, understanding carb counting and then we were sent home to try to remember all we just learned. The office and staff of the ENDO were so amazing, giving us their personal cell phone numbers and home phone numbers. (Needless to say, I love our Endo…he is amazing and creates a layed back atmosphere that you don’t realize you NEED at the time of diagnosis) Over the next few days, we somehow managed to “cope” with her needs. We learned quickly and were feeling a sense of peace when BOOM…I go pick up her ONE MONTH SUPPLY of meds, needles, lancets, strips, band-aids, alcohol swabs and $700 later walk out of the pharmacy! How in the world do people afford this? Another hurdle we had to jump! We figured it out, just like anything Name brand makes a difference in price and so we used the “knock-off” brand until I joined the ADA and have good insurance coverage and can afford the luxury’s in diabetes care Whitley will be 7 on Friday and doesn’t remember life without diabetes. She has actually got to meet some wonderful people and was chosen as a cover model for the American Diabetes Association Gift’s Of Hope magazine! She plays competitive softball, basketball and loves all things that most 7 year old girls do, Justin Beiber, music, dancing, acting and being silly! I decided to get out of real estate and go to work for the American Diabetes Association and am grateful for my choice! Whitley’s motto is “I wear my heart on my sleeve and my pancreas in my pocket”!!