Today is the first day of the school term for us and for me it marks the start of being able to get back some kind of normality, with regards work at least. It’s been a long while since I posted here, but also since I’ve really spent any time in front of my laptop. This is not just because it’s been the summer holidays but because we’ve had, as a family, a new challenge to deal with. Back in July, coincidentally on my daughter’s seventh birthday, my four-year-old son was diagnosed with type one diabetes.
I’ve thought many times about blogging about this, wondering whether it is the right thing to do or not. After all, it is not my diabetes. However, seven weeks on, I have decided to write just a little bit about my experience of this situation, without (hopefully) invading my son’s or anybody else’s privacy.
The main symptoms which led to us suspecting diabetes were a very, very high thirst and an increasingly frequent need to go to the toilet. Luckily my husband and I have some background knowledge of the illness and knew these were signs to look out for. I had initially put some of the changes down to anxiety about starting school, as this all happened around the time of the initial school visits, but quickly realised we needed to get him tested. It was lucky we did as we were fortunate to catch it out before it caught us. It never got to the point that our son was ill as such (although I now realise that his fatigue and – literally – dragging of his feet was genuine and not just him being a lazy bones).
The test process was initially a urine sample taken to our GP, which showed an excess of glucose. We then returned home, to make endless sandwiches for my daughter’s birthday party whilst awaiting a call from the hospital. From then it was off to the children’s assessment unit at our local hospital, where a blood glucose test showed a reading of 25.7, meaning there was no doubt that this was diabetes.
I won’t bore you with any more details. Needless to say it was a traumatic, heart-breaking time, but I am writing this today to say that just seven weeks later, we are OK. In fact we were OK-ish even just a week later. I was amazed at how quickly we adjusted, to four insulin injections a day and multiple blood glucose tests.
Although the timing was terrible in terms of my daughter’s birthday, we have been extremely fortunate having the summer holidays to get used to everything. We have been on holiday, as a family and with friends, on countless days out, to parties and a couple of shows. It’s been the usual fun-filled holiday and, while I started out with an underlying feeling of sadness, thinking that I wouldn’t be able to ‘really’ enjoy anything, but needed to keep things as positive and normal as possible for the kids, by the end of the holiday the happiness was genuine. Despite the challenges, I know we are a very lucky lot.
It’s not easy, and today has been particularly hard as it is my son’s first day at school. A difficult day anyway as I face up to the fact that a particular part of my life has finished, but even more of a challenge handing over his care to somebody else. I have every faith in the school and his lovely teacher and teaching staff, but it’s not easy letting go. For the next few days I have to go in at lunchtimes to ensure the handover of his care goes OK, and then that’s it. To be honest it will be better when it’s done, as I don’t think having Mummy popping up in the middle of the day is great!
So now it’s back to ‘normal’ work for me. September always feels like a chance for a fresh start to me; perhaps even more so than January. Maybe no matter how old we get, we never lose that back-to-school feeling.
I have amendments to make to my new book and I am extremely excited by the new cover which my amazing designer Catherine Clarke has created. I may give you a sneaky glimpse of it soon!
I also have a new book to work on for a brand new Heddon Publishing author, and an exciting new project working with a range of children’s books which are already published.
I really hope that this might just reach some other parent out there who’s reeling in shock. Just to say that things can and will get better. They will get back to normal(ish).
I’m not saying everything is fine. I will wish forever that my little boy didn’t have this illness, of course, but the key – as far as my experience to date has shown me – is to accept it as a part of him because there is surely nothing about him that I could ever fail to accept.