“Hunter was born 9lb 4oz and was fully breastfeed until he was 7mths old, although it wasn’t a breeze I wanted him to have the best start in life. He has always had a pretty good diet, never fussy, always given new foods a go, and so not something I have ever had to worry about. He has always been active, starting soccer at age four and then deciding that rugby might be more his thing, and giving that a go, so I would say that Hunter was a fit and healthy kid.
When Hunter started complaining of being hungry and thirsty all the time, I assumed he was going through a growth spurt, and I needed to add more food to his lunch box, but when his thirst became more urgent and the complaints more frequent, I started to think his behaviour was a bit odd. He started getting up in the night to go to the bathroom, sometimes more than once, and had also wet his bed, which was not something he had done since he was a toddler. He was moody and emotional, which again was out of character, I knew something wasn’t right, but I assumed it was something simple, and easy to fix.
I had a chat to my sister about my concerns, saying that I was going to make an appointment at the doctors, weirdly the same day a pamphlet about type 1 diabetes arrived in our letterbox! And Hunters symptoms matched, my mind was racing, and of course I feared the worst, but also told myself that this doesn’t happen to people like us, I remember Hunter that very evening saying to me before bed, “Mum I won’t have Diabetes aye” I told him not to worry, and I am sure everything will be fine! Little did I know how that very next day; our life would change forever.
The day of diagnosis, will forever be etched in my mind. Siting in the doctor’s surgery waiting was like an eternity. Once in the room with the doctor, I explained the symptoms, and showed him the pamphlet, he seemed confident it wasn’t Type1 diabetes, but could do a blood sugar test to see if they were normal, and put my mind at ease. Unfortunately, they were not good, and we were told to go straight to Starship. I felt helpless, confused and kept telling myself this couldn’t be real, I don’t feed my child lollies and junk food, how did this happen? Having little knowledge on T1 or T2 diabetes, I was completely clueless, and no idea what was ahead of me, and my son.
Once at Starship, and diagnosed officially, we were praised for picking up on Hunters symptoms early, as he was in quite good shape compared to other kids, purely due to people not understanding the disease or the symptoms.
When I reflect on our stay at Starship it is a blur, the days were filled with blood testing, doctors’ visits, and endless information on how to care for T1 Diabetes, I couldn’t take it all in, I was too busy siting in denial that this had even happened to our family. What did I do wrong? How did this happen? No one in our family had T1 diabetes, it all seemed so unfair. I felt so helpless, but I knew I had to get over it, my son was dealing with it with such strength and courage, and I had to stop my pity party, and so that’s what I did. I sat with the dietitian, I soaked up all the information, I went on the internet, looked for support from the diabetes community, and found Cure Kids, who have been amazing, and made this journey so much easier to handle. Hunter has been amazing throughout all of this, laughing and joking around at the hospital pretending he was in a 5 star hotel. He stayed positive and strong maybe because he has to, or perhaps not fully understanding the overwhelming implication of forever. Not often, but every once and awhile the reality sets in, and he pauses, hovering his insulin needles inches from his skin, looks at me with teary eyes and says, “I don’t want to do this anymore” and all I can do is hug him for a while, before reminding him, you have to son.
One year on, things are much more settled. We are all much more confident, and although T1 diabetes does what it likes, we try and control his levels the best we can, by carb counting, and keeping Hunter active. He loves to play rugby, soccer and is a keen fisherman. He is a strong, and determined person, and I know that he will do his best to live a full and productive life. I feel blessed that somehow that pamphlet landed in my letterbox the day it did, if it hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have acted as quickly as I did. I believe in angels, and I am certain one was watching over my son that day.”