Braden was 8 years old when he was diagnosed with T1 diabetes. It was devastating. I think those
first couple days in the hospital we were still in denial. We didn't want to accept there wasn't some
way to reverse the damage to his pancreas. I was desperate to hold off administering insulin
because I am not someone who readily turns to medication to solve health issues. When he
received his first injection I cried wondering why I had to give my child this poison just to stay
alive. It was hard. I didn't know how to explain to my happy, loving, sweet boy why this had
happened to him. But, during that week in the hospital, Braden decided that diabetes wasn't going
to define him, it was just something that happened to him.
The first day back at school, Braden gave a presentation to his class to explain what T1 diabetes
was. He showed them how he gives himself injections and talked about the symptoms of low/high
blood sugars. Braden was determined to gather a support group around him so his life could be as
normal as possible despite this disease.
Although Braden had a good attitude, we still saw him struggling. His grades were like a roller
coaster - up & down. Regardless of our best efforts we couldn't regulate his BG. We were planning
a party for his 1 year anniversary, only to wake up that morning to screams from my older children.
Braden was having a grand mal seizure. Using the Glucagon for the first time was scary. We thought
we were going to lose our son. Braden suffered several more seizures during the coming months
before the doctors realized that he was having adverse reactions to his long term insulin - that
poison I had first feared.
Once we were able to find the right insulin for our son and he went on the Omnipod pump life began
to feel normal. Braden's a1c came down and he was focused at school again. As a surprise for our
son, we sent him to a Riding on Insulin snowboarding camp. The camp helped him gain confidence in
his own ability to control his diabetes instead of the disease controlling him. It was just the
encouragement he needed.
The teenage years are proving to be difficult but we are seeing him grow in his own understanding
of the disease and how to manage it. He's an avid scouter and spends many weekends on overnight
campouts, hikes, boogey boarding and airsoft competitions. He is surrounded by friends that
understand his disease and I often hear them reminding him to check his BG or to take time for a
snack. He is an active, happy and loving young man who is looking forward to the rest of his life - all
the while counting his carbs and managing his boluses. Life is good and we are all, finally, sleeping
through the nights again!
- Murray and Jodi Clay
Sophia's Promise, Inc. - S75W14240 Restfull Lane - Muskego, WI 53150