Sunday, October 14, 2012

Seth's story

Looking back, all the signs were there: weight loss, thirst, frequent urination, hunger. But they were masked by the fact that Seth has always been a skinny kid, has always had a big appetite, and was a lifeguard during summer. All lifeguards are thirsty and eat a lot. We were cautiously watching the weight loss, planning a check up with the doctor, just to be sure. Then he started getting sick on the day of his Eagle Court of Honor, August 19, 2012. He could barely keep his eyes open during the ceremony. I knew he was very ill.

Eagle Ceremony, Aug. 19
Jason called the doctor Monday morning, and scheduled the first available appointment, which was Wednesday. I took the day off from work to take him, then to attend a funeral that afternoon. The doctor was very thorough, I thought. Asked lots of questions, thorough physical exam, but no lab work. He ruled it a viral infection, possibly mono. Rest, plenty of fluids, should be good to go soon. We went home relieved. Fastforward about 36 hours. I came home from work on Thursday evening to this:

I cried and cried. Jason was at the Ranger game. I texted the picture to him. He got home as soon as possible. In the meantime, Josh was helping out. He was such an awesome big brother! We decided to have Seth at the doctor's office when they opened at 8 the next morning. Seth slept in our room that night, for the first time in about 16 years. We were up with him about every hour and a half, going to the restroom. Jason left about 6:30 Friday morning to get a couple of things done at work before we went to the doctor at 8. I got up, took one look at Seth in the early morning light and decided we couldn't wait until 8. I called Jason, he came right back home. I showered and quickly threw a bag together. Texted my department head and a dear friend from church. And called my mom. We headed to the ER.

Checking into the ER, Seth was so weak he couldn't even stand on the scale for a weight. They got him into a room quickly, and had a diagnosis in minutes. The glucometer in the ER simply read "Hi." They started 2 IVs, wide open, and insulin. We were getting transported to Children's Hospital in Dallas. Our dear friend Rachel came to the ER, contacted people from church, and stayed with us. Jason called his mom and step mom, I think. I really don't remember who called who. It's all a bit of a blur.

The transport team got there, and they had a little trouble getting a 6'6" 16 year old boy onto the pediatric transport stretcher. Then we were off to Children's. I knew how serious it was, but at the time I was very calm. God had his hand on me and kept me from falling apart. I rode in the ambulance, Jason and Rachel followed in their cars.

Once we got to Children's, we went through the ER for them to sign off on something, then straight to the ICU. Jason and Rachel met us there, and the attendant from the welcome desk came and whisked us away to fill out some paperwork. As we left the room, there were 6 nurses and 2 doctors working on my child. Later, it occurred to me....8 people were working on my kid!!!

The next 12 hours lasted a lifetime. A stream of nurses and doctors. The results of his blood sugar...935 when he first got to Children's. Which means it was much higher when we got to the ER. Facebook updates, texts, phone calls, visits. Assuring everyone he would be ok when I wasn't 100% sure of that yet myself. I spent the night, Jason went home so Josh wouldn't have to be alone. I pulled out the little couch and tried to sleep. Sleep wasn't easy....I didn't want to miss anything. I finally dozed off, and woke up to the sound of Seth's voice. That beautiful voice! It sounded tired, but normal! He was quizzing the nurse about what this and that was for. At that moment, I knew all would be ok.

He wanted to see what his view looked like, so I opened the blinds to this:

It's a terrible cell phone picture, but it symbolizes so much to me. There was peace in that ICU room that night, a peace that passes all understanding. I was able to get a little sleep after that. The next morning, he was so much better!  He needed to stay in ICU a little longer to get his sodium level back to normal (it spiked while they were rehydrating him).

Pictures from Saturday:

 The plan was for Jason to spend the night and for me to go home, but when it came time to leave, I couldn't. So we both stayed. I got more sleep that night, Jason got less.

On Sunday, my parents and my brother came, and they brought Josh.  They stayed a big part of the day. Seth got moved to a regular room on the endocrinology floor, my mom stayed with him so that Jason and I could get school started the next day.  She insisted that teachers shouldn't miss the first day of school.  I was too tired to argue with her.

Pictures from Sunday.  Left is sitting in a chair the first time, right is leaving ICU.

 Our great friend Michelle went to pick them up when he was discharged on Monday afternoon.

That first day of school was tough.  I think I cried in every class, but my students now know I am human.  I survived the day.  When I got home, Seth and Mom were there, Jason's mom and stepdad were there, and we had several visitors that evening.  It was a great evening, just exhausting!

He's home, and he just got his back to school haircut!  Thanks, Mrs. Norma!

Seth started school on Wednesday, Aug. 29.  His teachers are amazing, the school nurse has been great, and all the staff has just surrounded us both with love and support.  It has truly made it bearable.

First day of school, carrying his "shield against diabetes."

Friday, August 24, 2012 is a day that changed our lives forever.  In no way would anyone ever wish a chronic life threatening illness on their child, but I am thankful every day for the insulin that saved his life and will allow him to live a (mostly) normal life.  One day, we will indeed KDA!!!

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  1. Cassie I've had such a hard time holding back the tears. Let just say I couldn't. As I said we miss having Seth in class, but please let him know he is welcome anytime. If there is ever anything he needs please know you guys can count on us to help. If nothing else we always have food! (small attempt at a smile) You are all in my thoughts and prayers as you continue this journey.

  2. Cindy,thank you. I have cried many tears the last couple of months, but he doing well. Food always sounds good :) Thanks for the thoughts and prayers.

  3. Hi Cassie. I just came across your blog and HAD to leave you a comment. My husband was diagnosed on August 23, 2012 at 24 years old. Our story is very similar (as most diabetes diagnosis stories are, I suppose.) How is your son doing now? Please know you are now in my prayers and if you guys ever need any support, please feel free to email me at

    1. Hi! Thanks for the comment and the prayers. Seth is doing well. He is pretty amazing! If you need support, feel free to email me as well!

  4. Hello! Just came across your blog via Pinterest, and thought I'd say hello... my daughter Lucy (15) was diagnosed on 3rd Sept 2012, so we've had that steep learning curve going on lately too! Makes you realise how brilliant our kids are! She spent 2 days in hospital, then started school the next day... we were very lucky to spot the signs early, and they just had her injecting from the first moment she reached hospital. Luckily our doctor did a blood test straight away, and rushed us in. I'm so sorry you had such a traumatic time at diagnosis. Love from Helen (England)

    1. Thank you, Helen. I'm sorry to hear of your daughter's diagnosis, but I'm glad it was caught early. Our kids are just amazing!

  5. this is almost too painful to read. i'm glad you're sharing your story.

    and as the parent of a younger CWD, it's very interesting to read about a teenager!

    1. It was almost too painful to write! But I decided to share our story in hopes that it would a) help me process it all and b) help others on the same journey.