Breakthrough T1D One Walk Spotlight – Josie’s Journey

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“The most common question I get is how did you find out Josie was Type One…I missed it for way too long. In June of 2017, I had a surgery and was home recovering. Josie was doing 2-3 days of gymnastics a week at 2 hrs per day. They were spending a lot of time on strength and conditioning. You’d think since I was off work I would have noticed how thin she was getting. I did notice but she’s always been petite, I figured she was getting taller and had burned off any extra body fat because she was spending so much time in the gym.

Josie is not a complainer so there were no outward verbal complaints that were consistent, other than I don’t feel good. We had been to the doctor many times. Mono and strep were tested for multiple times as well as her thyroid since she suffers from a hypothyroid. Finally, through a true act of God, I heard her complaining she was frustrated that she had to keep going downstairs to go to the bathroom because our upstairs bathroom was being repaired after a storm sent a tree limb through our bathroom wall. Like I said, an act of God. Then I heard her complain of being so thirsty, which would explain all of the trips to the bathroom right?  I knew absolutely nothing about diabetes and it was nowhere on my radar.

August 29th, Josie’s 11th birthday, she stayed home sick from school. Her symptoms were that she just didn’t feel good. Nothing to seriously alert me her blood was toxic and poisoning her. Little did I know she was in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), life-threatening diabetic complication. The symptoms that are obvious now, were not then. She was so thirsty, using the bathroom constantly and had sudden weight loss. Josie had yet another trip to the doctor on the August 30th that grandma took her to. Still no answers.

I was getting desperate because I knew something was not right. September 1st, I called back and spoke with the nurse asking if the doctor had reviewed the email I had sent, when grandma took her in for her appointment, listing all of Josie’s symptoms over the last 3-4 months. The doctor had not read my email yet; after reading it they asked if we could stop by to drop off a urine sample asap. We were headed out of town to see my stepson in Colorado so on our way out of town we stopped by the office.

I thought we’d drop the sample and go, but they wanted us to wait. It didn’t take long. The doctor came back in and said the words that would forever change our lives. “Josie has type one diabetes. This is the type of diabetes you don’t want your child to have.” And then, “if you take her directly to Children’s Hospital we won’t transport her by ambulance.” The next four days were full of hourly finger pokes, iv’s, insulin, doctors and education. A lot of education!

For any carbohydrate Josie ingests she now has to take insulin which is calculated by an insulin to carb ratio. She/we had to learn how to live this new life. The carefree days were gone. My 11-year-old daughter now had to learn how to be able to make her own medical decisions. That’s a very big responsibility for an 11-year-old child. This disease is 24/7/365. No breaks, no vacations. It is always with her.

Over the next six months, Josie amazed and inspired me as she learned her new responsibilities and adjusted to her new life with diabetes. She was so strong and brave. Her dad and I adjusted to the reality of having a child with diabetes. It was tough and so much work. It was really waring on all of us. When you are a newly diagnosed family your focus is learning, adjusting and living your new life. It can become very lonely and hard. There are sleepless nights, frustrating high blood sugars and scary low blood sugars. Of course, there is always that fear of making a mistake and dosing the wrong amount of insulin.

And then we were connected to Breakthrough T1D which we were so thankful for. We had been displaced from our old life and had not really found our new fit. I love Breakthrough T1D for the work and research that they do to find a cure and advance technology. But for us, it was more than that. They were where we fit in! They were our support by helping us connect with the diabetes community. We made friends with other type one kids and their families! Josie was the only diabetic in her entire Jr High so this was huge for us. Josie was just like the other kids again and as a mom, having other parents to talk to who just know what it is that you are going through was a godsend!

I am so thankful for Breakthrough T1D and the relationships they helped foster for us through their TypeOneNation Summit, Empower 1 meetings, events for our kids. Their staff is amazing!!! We love our Breakthrough T1D family! They are a true blessing to us and our community! Someday we will have a cure, until then, Breakthrough T1D will keep us all going!

Please help support Breakthrough T1D’s research and their amazing programs for our kids and Type One families! Join us at the 2019 Breakthrough T1D One Walk on August 24th!  You can join our team, donate or both using this link.

Thank you for your love and support! Please pray for a world without Type One Diabetes!”

— Shawn, Channy, Josie, Katie & Brecken