We’re in the car driving on our way to the emergency room in Hershey, PA, and my wife is walking a fine line between freaking out in the passenger seat, and keeping it together for our two-year old son in the backseat.
On Super Bowl Sunday 2017, our son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and our family’s world suddenly became a tiny boat thrown into a giant storm in the middle of the sea, with the potential to capsize at any moment. And this was that moment.
Roughly 8 months after his diagnosis, he became feverish and irritable—which are normal for any toddler who hangs out with groups of other toddlers (who, by definition are fun, inquisitive, exciting, inspiring creatures who carry every germ imaginable with them like trading cards). But for a Type 1 Diabetic, it means routine trips to urgent care facilities as blood sugars can spike up or drop down with fevers. The body produces ketones, which are acids remaining when the body burns its own fat. In people that are insulin-dependent, such as my son, high levels of ketones in the blood can result from taking too little insulin and can lead to a particularly dangerous condition known as ketoacidosis—which often results in a coma, seizures, and can even be fatal.
For reference, the doctors say you should have low ketones [0.2 level], and when you have a level of 0.6, you should call your doctor, and if you have levels of 1.0+ to go immediately to the emergency room. Our son’s level was 3.1 and he seemed to be declining before our eyes. And my wife, in this moment, truly doesn’t know if he is going to make it.
No diet put him in this situation. This was not a result of giving him candy. He simply got a fever. But it can also happen to him if he is active, like playing soccer. It can happen to him if he has a good dream in the middle of the night. It can happen to him if he gets stressed out about something.
There is no math formula to plug Type 1 Diabetes into to figure out the daily routine. In fact, there is no real routine. It’s similar to trying to complete a giant Sudoku puzzle but as you make progress, the numbers change and you have to kind of start over. It’s frustrating, to say the least, but my wife and I don’t mind because we love this ‘Sudoku puzzle’.
Everything is a big ‘unknown’. Estimating the amount of insulin is at best, an educated guess at meals. We don’t know if he will wake up the next morning, or if his emotions raced during a dream. We don’t know how he feels at any point during the day, because he is not self-aware enough yet to verbalize that himself. We don’t know what this means for his internal organs long-term. We hardly even know what we’re doing as his parents.
But we do know that God is good. We know that He is present. And we know that He is faithful.
God, I don’t know what I am doing here in the midst of this. In fact, I may not even know what I don’t know. But you know. You know me intimately, you know my son—who You created, you know my wife, and you know our family better than I ever will. Let us lean a little deeper into your love together. Let us lean a little harder into a trust that puts you at the forefront of our minds, rather than the back of our minds together. Let us lean a little softer into your presence, and may your peace wash over us in a way we simply can’t explain in any other words except “thank you”, together. Amen.
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