Supporting Families
Living with Diabetes
through the use of Community Advocacy, Social Media, & BLUE Flamingos!

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Avery's Story...

In April 2009, Avery had just turned 3 years old.  She was a normal, happy, healthy child.


Then I began to notice a few disturbing things. She was REALLY skinny. She's always been petite but her little shoulder blades were really protruding from her back. We started noticing about that time that she was waking up with a VERY full diaper. She even soaked through it a few times. That had never happened before. She was drinking a lot. I remember sitting on the couch and asking if I should be worried about this. I specifically asked if I should be worried about diabetes. "No, it's just hot here. You worry about everything."   Hmmph.


We got home and at times it seemed better but it never left my mind. We thought about going to the doctor, but thought it was too early. And as soon as I would be ready to call, things seemed to get a little better.


But.....Her attitude got worse. She was grumpy, angry, and nasty. She had her best friend over and she spent half the night crying in her room over some small dispute. The littlest thing would just send her over the edge.


She started crying and not wanting me to leave her at school. I just assumed it was because she was in a new room. She started having "potty" trouble.  She was pretty much trained in the toddler room but after moving to the preschool room things got worse. I thought she didn't like it there. I just figured that was stressing her out. She started stuttering. She was constipated.


Finally, we had signs we could no longer ignore.


We went to the zoo on April 25th.  As part of a special day, we stopped for breakfast on the way.  Avery had orange juice and donuts.  It makes me ill now to think of what that food did to her body. It was a horrible experience. She was afraid of the train, threw a fit at lunch, refused to walk and had to be carried through the entire zoo. She threw up that night.

She seemed better the next day. We went to the park. But she wasn't interested in playing. She refused to play and wanted carried back to the car. 

That night my parents came over to watch Avery so Jason and I could go to Bible Study. I remember sitting on the back deck of our friend's house enjoying the evening.  It was peaceful and relaxing.  Until...They called us and said we needed come home right away. She was very uncomfortable and something was not right.

When we got home, she was laying by her bed moaning.  She had been really thirsty and they had given her orange juice.  She had drank two glasses.  She threw up again but seemed to feel better after.

I knew.  I knew then.  We kept looking up diabetes symptoms on the computer.  Some she didn't have.  I never noticed fruity breath.  But that night we checked to see if throwing up and irritability were symptoms.  They were.

The next day, I took her to the doctor.  The throwing up gave us just the excuse we needed to take her in. Jason met us there.

This is where it gets tough.

The first thing they did was check her weight.  When I saw it, my stomach lurched.  She had lost 3 pounds (down to 25) since her 3 year well check a month earlier.

The doctor thought it was due to throwing up. I asked about diabetes and he said he didn't really think that was what it was  But, he said it was an easy test that they could do in the office so they'd check and see.

The nurse pricked her toe. She cried. A lot.

The nurse came back in to say that they thought there was something wrong with the machine and they wanted to try again.  So she did another toe prick. Avery cried again. A lot.

And I knew.  I just knew.

The doctor came back in the room and told us she has diabetes.

He said we needed to get to the hospital right away. He sent us home to pack a bag but told us to do it quickly. He had called ahead and they were expecting us.  We were not to go to Emergency - we were to go to Admitting.  He said to plan to be there a few days.

Of course, we cried.  Millions of tears.


We arrived at the hospital they took us right upstairs to our room. They immediately started hooking her up and checking her blood. That was horrific. She had tubes and port things inserted in each arm. She sobbed and screamed while they were putting them in. "NO Mommy.  No. Please.  Make them stop!"  It took 3 or 4 nurses to work on her and hold her down.


Her blood came back that she not only had extremely high blood sugar but she also was in DKA- diabetic ketoacidosis. Had we waited much longer to get her to the doctor, we would have been in ICU. She was hooked up to IV fluids and an insulin drip and couldn't eat until her ketones came down.


She started getting insulin intravenously.  At first, they came in to do a finger stick and check her blood sugar every hour. Her tiny fingers were pricked every hour on the hour all day and all night long.  That was a long night! We got very little sleep. We took turns sleeping in the bed with her.  I was so worried.  I couldn’t even really touch her because every movement hurt her bandaged arms. 

Avery came off the IV the second day and was able to eat "real" food again. We started learning to count carbs and draw up insulin in the syringes. Very soon they wanted us to start doing the shots. I was first. I remember getting ready to do my first injection and having tears in my eyes and thinking "I just have to disassociate. This is just a leg. I've got to get this done. I am not hurting my baby."

That's thing with diabetes. There is a HUGE learning curve. You are totally overloaded with information. Important information that you need to learn to keep your kid alive. No pressure! It's also really tough because it requires you, as parents, to basically hurt your child. Even though you know it's good for her, you know you have to do it, you know that it's what is keeping her alive - it's really hard be the one to inflict pain on your child. Parents are supposed to protect their children from pain - not cause it.

After 5 days, they finally kicked us out! It was scary to leave the security of the hospital.


In October 2009, Avery got her insulin pump and happily said “GOODBYE” to shots!  This helped her tremendously to just LIVE her life and be a normal kid.


Diabetes is still is scary, at times.  I still have moments when I'm sad.  Or mad.  Or scared.  Or frustrated.  Or whatever....


But each day moves us along the path.  Each time you do something for the first time, you move forward.


And you know that the bad days, the hard days, the sad days.... they don't last forever.


Sooner of later, it becomes your life.  And you realize that while your life is different, you don’t have to let diabetes keep you from anything.


And while you will NEVER forget the day that changed your life forever, you know your purpose now is move forward with grace, courage, and hope.


The thing is, Avery (and Noah and all the other Ambassadors) is not just a normal kid anymore.  She’s incredible!  She is the bravest person I know!  She is so strong and she is such a fighter.  She may have diabetes, but she is determined that diabetes will NEVER have her!





2012 Ambassador

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