February 05, 2007

I don't even know where to begin. There's so much I want to say right now, but some of the words are sticking. I don't want to see them in print because it's all going to be that much more real. 2007 is kicking my ass. I want to hit delete, go back to somewhere last summer and head off down a different path.

Olivia has type 1 diabetes.

All the behavior that I have been bitching about to Marc, crying that she was draining me and that I couldn't keep up much longer...the clinginess, the irritability, the big tantrums...Olivia has been sick. She's probably been sick for months, but we really only started to recognize physical symptoms two and a half weeks ago, a thirst we couldn't quench. She was constantly asking for water and milk; if put off before a nap, she woke begging for a cup of water. Given the cup, she would drain it and ask for more. And she started soaking all her diapers, filling them so fast that I couldn't keep her, her clothes, her sheets dry. I knew something was wrong. And I knew that these were symptoms of diabetes. And I was nervous, but I never for a second believed it could happen to her.

I had just taken her to the doctor last week for a bad diaper rash that we couldn't clear up (another symptom of diabetes, but I didn't know that at the time). Tuesday, I called back to his office and told him what was going on. It could be nothing, he said, but the only way to know would be to bring her in and let him check her out. That, I knew, meant a blood test and part of me refused to think that there was any good reason to put her through all that. But by Wednesday afternoon, I knew that something was wrong, bad wrong. She looked awful, droopy-eyed and worn out. She would barely leave my lap when we met Francene and Q for a play date and asked over and over to eat. Thursday morning I called and made an appointment for the afternoon. By the time we needed to leave the house, I was sick. I don't know if it was vertigo, a premonition...I was dizzy and vomiting, practically lying on the floor of the bathroom. I had to ask O to go get my phone so that I could call Marc. I was so dizzy I could barely move, much less walk. Maybe we should cancel the appointment, I thought.

But Marc came and got her, loading her up in the car, after helping me to bed and putting what I later realized was the bottom of her potty chair next to the bed. I slept until he called to say that they were on their way home. Her blood sugar level was too high for the machine at the pediatrician's office to read. They had taken a second vial, sent it out to a lab and sent Marc and O home. I knew this was not good news. I knew that the alternate explanation of "The machine could be broken" was unlikely, but I didn't know how much I was hoping for a miracle until the doctor called and said, "Bring her to the hospital; we'll be waiting for you."

She had just gotten out of the bath. Wandering around in the pink footie pajamas that she's almost outgrown, damp curls on her neck, trying to tell her daddy "night-night"...there is now everything before that moment...and everything that will come after.

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Blogger courtney said...

okay. well, anytime i start a new assignment it's a matter of time until i cry for the first time at work. sometimes weeks or months but it always happens. (i even called you crying from work once on the day you found your bio mom, you may recall. i'll never forget that...) usually the clients make me cry. i'm just glad to have that out of the way. your post made me sad, because i hate to think of O being sick, and i really hate to think of you being scared about what was wrong, because that kind of angst is bigger. i'm happy that you know what this is, and that it's something they can treat. i'm happy that O has you to take such good care of her. i love you guys.

2:39 AM  
Anonymous Katy said...

I am going to get into the habit of reading you here now so that you won't have to waste any time retelling me things when you have so much on your plate now. Thank god you are gifted with the ability to read fast and absorb and apply. Thank god you are also very perceptive...so that you can pick up are her changing bs-related behavior. (I meant to tell you that on the phone.) We love you guys so much and are sending giant clouds full of it around the globe to shower you.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Nicole P said...

Hello, Paige,

I happened across your blog after reading a comment you made at my friend Sandra's blog. I am a 33 year old woman, diagnosed at age 8 with type 1 diabetes. 25 years later, I have no physical complications from the disease - except a bit of gum issues which if I stay on top of should resolve nicely. This disease is difficult, it is unkind sometimes, and it is undeniably hate-worthy.

BUT - your daughter has you and your husband. Parents who will teach her that her disease is controllable - and who'll teach her how to gain that control. You are parents who will let her live her life - who will give her the tools she needs to be healthy and strong. You will comfort her and explain to her and love her. If she has those things from you, diabetes will NOT get in her way. She will be at the wheel - and diabetes will just be a part of the journey she has to navigate sometimes.

Sure, it sometimes won't be easy. But I can tell you from experience, it is sometimes something that a child/adult busy with living and growing and being just doesn't think all that much about. I love those moments.

This disease has come a LONG way since I was diagnosed in 1981. I've seen new technologies come and vastly improve the quality of my life. The advancements won't stop - and I do really truly believe that your daughter may see a cure in her lifetime. I do hope so.

I really want you to know, though, that even if the cure doesn't come - her life CAN be amazing. She CAN do anything she wants to do. I know - because my life IS amazing - and diabetes hasn't stopped me for a second.

I'm wishing you all the best - if you ever need help/advice/etc. - Sandra and other bloggers in the DiabetesBlog world are an excellent resource. And you can email me ANYTIME.

11:30 PM  
Blogger Penny said...


I too came across your blog via a comment at Sandra's blog.

My four year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 in October 2005.

I can feel your pain in this post. I've been there and I'm so sorry it's happening to you and your little girl.

But, here I am 16 months after diagnosis and my pain in dulled. Sure there's an ache every now and then, but it's nothing like it was in the beginning.

If you'd ever like to chat send me and email: pennylane5001@mchsi.com

Take care.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Sandra Miller said...


I've been thinking a lot about you today. After responding to your comment on my site, I came here and read this post.

And since then, I've been trying to find words that might take away some of the pain you're feeling right now.

But I know there are none.

She's your little girl, and you've worked hard to care for and protect her. But you couldn't prevent this.

And right now, that is unbearable.

Though my son was diagnosed more than two years ago, I remember this pain all too well.

But, as Penny notes above, it does get easier.

Paige, if it's all right, I'd like to add a link to your site on my blog so that others in the diabetes online community can find you more easily and offer support.

Please take care,


2:37 PM  
Blogger Bernard said...


I wish I could lift all of you up with words of encouragement. But I imagine you're feeling pretty down at present.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1972 at the age of 15. So I'd already gotten used to a normal teenage diet and getting over that took a lot.

That was in the good old days of glass syringes and urine tests. Things were a lot worse then - believe me.

This September will be my 35th year with diabetes. And so far I have no major complications or problems.

I think the future looks a lot brighter if today is your starting point. There are much better and purer insulins. There are better meters. And you can use insulin pumps for improved control.

I know that you both will struggle with this disease from now on. But remember that Olivia is a little girl first and that diabetes is a small part of her makeup. Yes she'll have challenges, but she'll also have days where you hardly ever think about it.

I hope and pray that you have many more of the better days for all of you.

5:35 PM  

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