When Alanna was two years old, we started to notice an increased thirst and a frequent need to use
the bathroom. The symptoms continued to get worse to the point that she would be in tears until
we gave her something to drink. She also started having bathroom accidents on short car trips. We
started to suspect diabetes only because a family friend was diagnosed with type 1 a few years
earlier. Without knowing about diabetes, we may not have acted as quickly. We made an
appointment to see Alanna’s pediatrician. They immediately checked her glucose levels and they
wouldn’t even read on the meter. We were sent directly over to Children’s Hospital where Alanna
was admitted. We didn’t want to admit to ourselves that it was diabetes, but deep inside it was
obvious to us. When it was confirmed that Alanna had type 1 diabetes, it was tough to accept but
wasn’t much of a shock. The next morning, we started our diabetes training. It was so much
information to consume, especially the high emotions still festering. Eventually, we were released
from the hospital and made our way back home. It was hard at first. We were very overwhelmed
and had so many questions. What caused this? Is it something we did to her? Will she be able to
live a healthy, normal life? Can we really handle taking care of this? We questioned if we had
listened and learned enough to care for her.
After a few long days and longer nights, we went back to Children’s Hospital for our first of many
classes about diabetes. As time went on, we learned more, and relaxed a bit. It started to become
easier to care for her and we worried somewhat less. In the summer of 2011 at the age of 6, Alanna
started on an insulin pump. This was more work at first, but has really made a difference in Alanna’s
life. It is a much better way for Alanna, us, and her teachers and other care givers to administer
insulin. Alanna has been able to keep her diabetes under control and has not had to be hospitalized
since her diagnosis.
Years now after her diagnosis, Alanna has become much more knowledgeable on checking her
glucose levels, identifying and understanding carbohydrates in foods, including being able to use
carb factors. She has learned how to use the pump under supervision to give bolus insulin, and
could help someone change her injection site.
We still constantly worry about Alanna. There are only a few people we trust to care for her over
extended periods of time. It will probably be quite a few years yet before she can care for herself
enough to go to a friend’s house for her first sleepover. It is difficult knowing that if not constantly
monitored, immediate and long term consequences are imminent. We pray for the day when a cure
is found so our precious daughter can live life without this burden.
- Rob and Joleen Sawall
Sophia's Promise, Inc. - S75W14240 Restfull Lane - Muskego, WI 53150