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Robert's Road to a Cure for Type One Diabetes
Posted on February 26 2016
Thanksgiving 2013 started out like any other holiday in our house. Little did we know it would end with a three day hospital stay at William Beaumont Children's Hospital - Royal Oak Campus.
The week of Thanksgiving began with Robert coming down with a sore throat and a trip to the doctor's office where we were assured that it was nothing serious, just a virus that needed to "run its course'. All week long, Robert drank water like it was going out of style. Of course, what went in, HAD to come out, right? We paid it no mind.
Thanksgiving night while gathering with our family for dessert, my sisters-in-law all remarked how Robert had gown several inches and slimmed down considerably since they had seen him the month before. Again, we paid it no mind. That was, until Robert turned down all of his favorite desserts in favor of a dozen or so tall glasses of ice water and kept talking about how tired he was. Right then and there, it hit me. There was potentially something seriously wrong with my child.
The next day, on a whim, we used a glucose meter we had in the house and did a simple, non-fasting finger stick and the meter read "HI". We panicked a little, bit but decided to test him again the next morning when he was fasting to see if it was just all the rich foods he had eaten over the holiday. Sadly, it wasn't the case. The meter read 268 fasting. We called the doctor and then off to the local ER we went. Our local ER wasn't equipped for Pediatrics and Robert was sent by ambulance to William Beaumont Children's Hospital where more testing was done, diagnosis confirmed and Robert was admitted.
The next two days were a whirlwind of education. Everyone right down to the nutritionist was caught off guard with Robert's understanding and knowledge of Type One (a friend & classmate at Robert's school is a Type One so we had a leg up on most people). The doctor and nurses were impressed that Robert was able to calculate his carbohydrates and his insulin bolus and give himself a shot after the first night in the hospital. (One year post diagnosis, Robert now uses an insulin pump and wears a continuous glucose monitor. Both provide a little more freedom.)
Since diagnosis day, we have continued to learn more than we ever thought possible about Diabetes. He's had many highs and lows to mention, but he's still just your average kid. With one little exception... Robert has entered the world of Advocacy and loves speaking to people about his disease and educating them where possible. He, and his entire community of family and friends, feel that a cure is just around the corner and over the horizon!
THE STORY OF ROBERT'S DIABETIC ROCK
Our family participated in our first JDRF One Walk on September 28, 2014. It was just a small team our immediate family of four, my husband's sister and a friend and her son. That's it - just the seven of us. We were a small but mighty group. What a powerful event that first walk was for us. What an amazing gift we brought home with us.
At the beginning of the 1.5 mile Walk route around the General Motors Tech Center in Warren, Michigan, Robert found a chunk of concrete shaped like an oversized rock. He picked it up and carried it through the rest of the Walk. When it got too heavy, he popped it in his pocket.
At the end of the Walk , we all started talking about how we all felt after participating in the pomp and circumstance, the fun family events, enjoying the snacks and learning even more facts about how JDRF and its sponsoring partners are working so furiously towards finding a cure. We forgot about the rock until we arrived back at our car. I told Robert to leave it behind, that we didn't need it. His response was "But Mom, this is my Diabetic Rock. I have to take it home as a memento of my first Walk!"
We started talking about what the Rock symbolized. The weight of the rock symbolized the weight he carries around in all of his supplies, the weight of having an incurable disease that people often mistake for "the old people diabetes", the weight of having an "invisible disease". Robert, being the silly kid he is, began to tell silly stories about his new pet rock named Diabetes. We laughed until we cried.
We decided that the Diabetic Rock needed a special place to be displayed in our home. It will stay in its special place until the day we receive word of a Cure. And on the day, in the not-so-distant future, we will have a huge party to celebrate the cure and to smash our dear friend Diabetic Rock to bits. And then we will all dance as if no one is watching and cry a million tears of joy!
OUR ROAD TO A CURE CONTINUES.....
We are now two years into our journey. We, along with Robert, are now an Advocacy family for JDRF, I am the statewide Michigan Volunteer Mentor Chair for JDRF, and we are planning to join the next One Walk. Robert still speaks at various support groups, has been interviewed by our local newspapers and has even recorded an informational program for our local government access TV channel. He will not stop until he achieves that cure!
Our son may have an incurable disease, but it will never have him! He is the personification of the word BRAVE. He inspires every one he meets to BE BRAVE!