Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes: Our Family's Stewardship.

Monday Morning...

Monday, November 3, 2008 was the day our youngest son was diagnosed with type 1 juvenile diabetes. It will be a day our family will never forget.

 After the initial shock subsided, reality set in. Deep was the emotion!

My wife and I struggled to contain the torrent of sentiments that flooded our hearts: Fear, anxiety, more fear, helplessness, and an overflowing sense of alarm came to the surface of our lives.

These are feelings I do not wish on anybody. They are unsettling and frightening…intimidating…humbling.

What were we going to do? What did this all mean? Why did this happen to our always-cheerful, spirited six-year-old?

Such real-life questions fluttered in our heads. We had no answers only tears… many tears. If not for our faith in a greater purpose for life, we could have frozen.

The words of James (the brother of Christ) warmed our souls:

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” James 1: 2-3 (NASB)

Although our little guy is only six, his entire life is in front of him; diabetes and all.

God has entrusted him to us for a purpose. It’s our job to steward him home!

 

Type 1 (Juvenile) diabetes: A Brief Overview.

 

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease in which the body attacks its own insulin-producing Islet (pronounced eyelet) cells (AKA beta cells). Once these cells are destroyed, the body loses its ability to control its own blood glucose levels. And since the body’s primary control center, the brain operates on glucose, a stable, and controlled blood glucose level (BGL) is critical for survival.

In short, Type 1 diabetes is a big deal. The potential complications resulting from mismanagement and/or mistreatment of Type 1 diabetes are frightening to say the least. A short list includes the following:

 

  • Loss of sight
  • Cardiac arrest and other heart-related illnesses
  • Nerve damage and loss of extremities
  • Kidney failure
  • Diabetic coma and potential death

When you first see these complications in black and white, and place a face on them (especially your child’s face), all the previously-mentioned emotions repercolate. You must grab them quick or they can overwhelm you.

Those are the moments where grace prevails.

“Yet He gives grace to the afflicted.” Proverbs 3:34b (NASB)

You seek the stories of triumph and peace and the fear subsides. The reality, however, still exists. This disease is unpredictable (no matter how well you plan for it) and its effects can be devastating.

Yes. God has entrusted diabetes to us for a purpose. We must be true stewards!

The Miracle of the Diagnosis:

When I tell people how our son being diagnosed with diabetes was a miracle, I receive more than a few awkward glances. But it’s true. His diagnosis was a miracle. Allow me to explain.

In the days prior to his actual diagnosis, I knew in my gut something was wrong. Deep in my heart I knew it was diabetes. But also stealth fully lurking were the stinging rebuttals of denial. Unless you’ve experienced this, it’s hard to describe.

The tell-tale symptoms of the disease (excessive thirst, lethargy, frequent urination, confusion, and an overall sense of not feeling “right”) were staring me in the face. I KNEW it. – It was that part of your brain that tries desperately to will things away that prevailed. – Finally, I told my wife I think our precious little boy was really sick.

Monday morning he woke up, told me he didn’t feel well, and wanted to stay home from school. This alone should have been a red flag because here’s a kid who would go to school throwing up buckets if we let him. He loves school. – (Press denial button here).

So what do I do? I give him two children’s Tylenol and buckle him in our car. – He “seemed” fine.

A few minutes later I called my wife and told her I think our little boy has diabetes. Within 10 minutes of that conversation (and after my wife explained his symptoms to our pediatrician), they wanted us to bring him in.

Most of those minutes are still frozen, surreal; the nurse whispering the words “critically high” with reference to his blood sugar level. So high, in fact, it wouldn’t register on the meter. (We would later discover how similar blood sugar levels in adults bring on comas and possibly death). – So yes. We were witness to a miracle. For as sick as our little boy was, he was stable and functioning well enough to tell us how he felt. – In fact, he was still laughing and shining his infectious smile.

For my wife and I, that was a TOUGH time. Still is. -- Looking back, though, we both agree we needed to experience it. We see the reason.

Regardless of how sick our son was at the time it was not his time to go home. We all have work to do!

Soon thereafter, our gracious pediatrician and friend (with hints of moisture in his eyes) informed us we got there in time. – Life is fragile! Everywhere! All the time!

How true is that!

A Work In Progress...

 

The rest of our story will have to be told later as we’re still learning and living with our new responsibilities and stewardship.

Words cannot describe how grateful we are to the staff at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO for all the genuine care and heartfelt emotion they gave our family. We are forever grateful!

Although juvenile diabetes is a life-changing illness, it can be controlled, managed and survived.

The God we serve is a big God! His purposes are beyond our comprehension. His ways are not our ways. – He has handed this responsibility to us for a purpose. What that purpose is? We do not know…

We do not know what the future holds… we do, however, know WHO holds the future!

This is where we’re at right now.

Our strength and His power will overcome all.

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Comments 6 comments

Madison Parker profile image

Madison Parker 8 years ago from California

Rob,

My husband has been a type 1 since he was 19. We are very involved in "finding the cure," as well as keeping him well, in control and alive as he has had the disease for 40 years; back when he was diagnosed, the care was so primitive. Your son will do well because he has a family who cares, who are educated and who will go to the ends of the earth to handle this in a beneficial way.

Rather than write a book on this right here, my husband and I would be very open to discussing your situation with you. We've both served as Presidents of our local ADA chapters in the past and there is so much good news in diabetic care today, finding the best care is so important. Please feel free to email me and we can do a phone call, if you wish.

God does work in mysterious ways. We never know what to expect in our lives day after day, but this is one challenge that can be handled well.

I wish you love and white light of the holy spirit to surround you and your family so that you will be well and strong.

Madison


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 8 years ago from Midwest USA Author

Madison,

Your words of encouragment are well-received and a blessing to our family! -- If there's one thing we've learned over the past 30 days, it would be how giving and caring people can be. -- Without a doubt, diabetes coming into our family blind-sided us. -- We have since, however, accepted it for what it is and will move forward both for our son and for others we can help.

You are so right in saying God works in mysterious ways! We are viewing this (and all of life's events) as a way to do His will! -- The tears of shock are gone; which doesn't mean we won't shed others.

Your words and your experiences are a blessing! -- My family and I thank you for affirming the good hearts among us!

I'm sure we'll be in contact at some time. Right now, we're trying to figure this whole thing out. -- It hasn't been a burden or a struggle, only an inconvenience!

SIDENOTE: My mother has a first cousin who was also diagnosed type 1 at age 18 or 19, 40 years ago! She's a postcard of health!

Blessings always!!

RJ


Lgali profile image

Lgali 8 years ago

very good healthy info


Madison Parker profile image

Madison Parker 8 years ago from California

Rob,

I am glad that you are dealing with this well. It can be difficult with a child, especially a very young child. There have been so many advances made, I'm sure you've done your share of research on the subject since your son's diagnosis.

The insullin pump has been a godsend to my husband. In the very near future, the pump may actually be able to test blood sugar, give the reading and suggest or actually give you the necessary dose to keep blood sugar down. High blood sugar is, of course, the reason that so many diabetics develop eye, kidney, heart and artery problems.

I hope your son is seeing nothing less than a diabetes specialist. It is amazing how little other docs know about diabetes! As long as he is under the care of a good specialist, (preferably a diabetes care clinic with a group of specialists) he will be in good hands.

Madison


coffeesnob 8 years ago

Rob,

Your hub is so timely for me. I just took my 9 year old Grand daughter back home today and driving home had that same sinking feeling that you described. She has been experiencing some strange symptoms and well, I just prayed on the way home that God would take care of her. She is a strong Christian and has a faith that can move mountains. She prays for her friends and cares deeply about their souls. I hate thinking anything could be wrong with her. Anyway, thanks for the encouragement and those wonderful words from the Scriptures. God's word is living and powerful and truly does not reurn void. It did not in this case, I know. I pray God's blessing on you and your family.


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 7 years ago from Midwest USA Author

Thank you all for such encouraging words of hope. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to reply to such warm comments. I'm glad all is well! Time has been so nuts lately it's been hard to keep up with everything. Our little boy has just gone on his pump and the management of his diabetes has taken great strides forward. Technology is a great thing when used in the right ways!

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