Our story doesn’t really stray very far off the typical events leading to the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes . . . but it is agonizingly precious because it is ours ~ it is our Ryan’s Story.
The months and weeks leading up to that day, that hardest day of all of my life thus far, were in successful progression. In late summer, early fall, I noticed he was drinking a lot. But we live in Texas, it is hot here. And I got on a water kick and was pushing and pushing the boys to drink less soda, less juice and more water. Ryan was my best water-drinker. But then I noticed him peeing a lot too. But hey, he was drinking a lot of water, so it made sense he would be peeing. He never complained of pain (I was always looking for a bladder or kidney infection), so I figured it was all normal. His appetite was increasing too, but I thought nothing of it. Growth spurts can cause increased appetites. This was normal. So I thought.
And I never put the three symptoms together . . . heck, I never called them symptoms.
But when we really started getting concerned was around November. He started experiencing mood swings, severe ones. He became withdrawn. He experienced severe separation anxiety. He would get “depressed” and lie on the couch and watch the other two boys play and wrestle. He wasn’t sleeping well. We thought he was sleep walking. He would get up a few hours after bed, when Jason and I were still awake, and come downstairs, use the bathroom, sometimes get a drink of water. But most often, he would just wonder around aimlessly. We even laughed at him a little when we first witnessed this. Then the frequency was alarming. Seemed almost every night.
Then we just flat got scared.
The mood swings and anxiety and his disconnecting from everyone and everything overshadowed the physical symptoms. We wholeheartedly believed our child was experiencing some pretty severe emotional problems. Jason began asking a lot of probing questions, wondering if something had happened to Ryan when we weren’t around. And one night, less than a week before dx, Jason sternly got on Ryan (both of us at our wits end) and told him that we can’t help him if we don’t know what is wrong and begged him to explain. His reply was, “I don’t know what is wrong!” Acknowledging something was wrong but not knowing what and how to explain it. I was asking all the wrong questions. Do you feel bad? Does your belly hurt? Does your head hurt? Are you sad? I even thought possibly at one point he was grieving the death of my grandmother who had passed away in the summer. All the wrong questions . . .
On Wednesday, I had my parents over to see the drastic difference in Ryan. At dinner, things were somber and quiet. Afterwards, my dad said we needed to take him to the doctor. Make sure nothing physical is going on before we travel down the ambiguous road of mental or emotional illness. On Friday morning, I called a new pediatrician and was just trying to get him in possibly after Christmas in about two weeks. They had a cancellation, an appointment was set for 3:30 THAT DAY.
And that’s when our life with d began.