Maybe I'm lucky that my friends haven't suffered much, or maybe Dave is just one heck of a writer:
Dear family and friends,
We are writing you on behalf of Tyler.
We will never forget that day – October 1, 2008 – Tyler 's doctor called us late that night and said "Tyler has Type 1 diabetes". Our family's life (and especially Ty's) changed forever after those words were spoken. First we cried and then we were thankful that it wasn't something a whole lot worse...and then we stepped into a world of constant 'needles and poking' our little three year old.
Next came three intense days at Children's Hospital learning to give injections to our baby and check his blood sugar. It was unbearable holding him down and listening to his pleas and screams to not hurt him anymore and begging us to stop. It is something that we hope no other parent has to go through.
We learned to check his blood sugar 5 times a day, which requires using a pen type device to poke his little fingers to draw enough blood for the glucose meter to read his sugar levels. Already his little fingers are riddled with small holes and calluses.
Tyler is not old enough yet to really tell us how he is feeling or indicate if he is high or low ... we constantly watch and listen through the day and night for indications that he is out of his target range. Most children sleep peacefully at night, but no longer our little guy. Tyler must endure another finger check at night while he is sleeping and if it is a low reading, we must wake him up and give him food to eat. Imagine how tough that is for a little person! He no longer sleeps soundly through the night as his body will often naturally wake him if his blood sugar is going low.
We have learned to count carbohydrates to calculate the quantity of insulin to inject. He must eat 6 times a day of carefully monitored meals...and he must eat, even if his little tummy doesn't feel like it. Learning what he can eat and only at specific times has been challenging...birthday parties, holidays, special days, dinners at friends, or eating out has to be well planned and discussed. Gone are the days of grabbing a quick bite to eat or just showing up somewhere and letting whatever happens, happen. A chunk of his childhood is just not the same as it is for most children.
To this day, every time we calculate the insulin we second guess ourselves as we struggle to keep his blood glucose in his target range. There are so many additional factors to consider such as sickness, activity level, time of day, stress and previous blood glucose level. Simply put, we have had to learn what to do to prevent Tyler from going into a coma from a low blood glucose level as well as prevent him from suffering from a high blood glucose level which can lead to ketoacidosis. Even simple stomach flu can cause plummeting sugar levels which require emergency hospitalization; a virus which results in simple bed rest for the rest of us. Although somewhat in denial, we also have to face the possibility of other complications that Ty may have to deal with such as:
- kidney failure
- nerve damage
- heart disease
- reduced life expectancy.
We refuse to go there!
Reality sets in each day when we see the sharps container on the counter full of needles and lancets. To date, Tyler has had:
- 1,350 finger checks
- 540 needles
- 1 low-blood sugar seizure
and it has only been 8 months since diagnosis. It is not easy giving an injection when your child begs "Please don't hurt me."
THIS IS NOT A CURE!
We have learned that every high and low is not life or death but still very serious for his health and how he feels. We have also learned how very strong our little boy is. He IS the strongest member of our family.
So, we are asking for your support to help change this. We understand that these are tough economic times for everyone but those factors will not stop this disease. Research into Type 1 Diabetes is making huge progress. If you are able to help out, we greatly appreciate it. Just click on the 'support me' button below. E-receipts will automatically be issued for online donations of $20 and more. We want to thank you for your support and would also be honored to see you at the Telus Walk on June 14th at the Greater Vancouver Zoo. Let us know if you'd like to join us and we will get back to you with more details.
If you would like to join Team Tyler and raise pledges yourself, please let us know and we will send you pledge sheets and more information.
much love, Lonnie, Dave, Tyler and Sydney