Living with Diabetes
through the use of Community Advocacy, Social Media, & BLUE Flamingos!
In May of 2007, Noah was in kindergarten and seemed like any other normal 6 year old little boy. He was very active in school and sports, playing soccer, baseball, basketball, and karate, however, as his parents, we noticed that he became extremely tired when he got home from school everyday. We found that he needed to take long naps right after school and right after activities. There were days when Noah would complain of chest pains, many times while just sitting on the couch. After a few weeks of these symptoms, we grew concerned and took Noah to his physician and expressed our concerns. They told us that maybe he was just in too many activities and with him being in school now, he had a lot going on, which should explain his fatigue. When we expressed concern about his chest pains, they told us that he may have exercise-induced asthma and gave us an inhaler to use before activities.
We tried Noah on the inhaler but the chest pains didn’t seem to come on during activity. I remember one day, my husband was coaching the baseball team and had everyone get up at bat, he said that anytime they hit a ball, he was going to have Noah run the bases. He was bound and determined to prove the doctors wrong! He insisted that Noah did not have exercise-induced asthma and that with him running those bases constantly, it was either going to send him into an asthma attack or he didn’t have it. Sure enough, Noah ran those bases as fast as his little legs could take him, having a great time, and had no asthma attack, nor did he have chest pains. When we got home, he became extremely fatigued. We spoke to his physician again who agreed with us that he did not have asthma, but could not explain a real reason for his fatigue and chest pains. We were put on a "watch and wait" kind of regimen. We were to write on a calendar when he had these chest pain symptoms and to start keeping track of how long he would sleep. This went on for a few months with no real explanation for his symptoms.
In September of 2007, Noah started first grade and was very excited. After a few weeks, however, of first grade, he once again started experiencing the symptoms of extreme fatigue. He would sleep when he came home from school until he had to go to karate classes, he would sleep on the way home from karate, eat dinner, and then would go to bed for the night around 7:30PM and sleep until 7AM the next morning and would still be extremely fatigued. We noticed that he started complaining that he was thirsty all the time and then one night, he started wetting the bed. We first thought that maybe he was just nervous about first grade and that it would subside, however, the bed wetting started getting so bad. He got to the point one night that he was up almost every twenty minutes to go to the bathroom, yet he still wet the bed over and over again that night. I remember him just standing there while I was changing the bed for what seemed like the tenth time that night. He was crying and saying he is just so tired and he doesn’t know why he keeps wetting the bed because he keeps getting up and going too. Finally, the next morning, I called the doctor and explained the situation. I told him that I thought he had something really wrong with him. They told us to come in right away.
By the time we reached the doctor’s office that morning, Noah was so tired, almost lethargic, and saying he was so cold. I brought him in and they weighed him and said he had lost 7 pounds since his last visit in May. Until that moment, I hadn't really noticed it, but I looked at my son and he was, in fact, very, very thin, and so fragile looking. They immediately did a urine test and pricked his finger to check his blood sugar. At that moment, they finally had an answer to his ailments that he had over the past four months. They told us that our son had Type 1 Diabetes. He had a blood sugar over 600 and told us we needed to take him up to Boston to Children’s Hospital immediately because he had diabetic ketoacidosis and needed treatment urgently.
We rushed Noah up to Boston as fast as we could. We felt we couldn’t get him there quick enough. As I looked at my son in the back seat of the car, extremely lethargic at this point, so thin, and so cold, wearing his bright orange winter coat and black knit cap, I was really hoping that this wasn’t what they were saying it was, that there was some kind of mistake, but the puzzle pieces all seemed to fit so well. He was rushed into the emergency room at Children’s and there, they confirmed the diagnosis that we knew would change this boy’s life forever, that he had Type 1 diabetes.
Raising awareness with Silly Bandz!
Recently, the Diabetes Dude went to the Children With Diabetes Friends for Life Conference as a guest of Insulet Corporation, the makers of the OmniPod Insulin Management System! If you attended the CWD, you may have been one of the lucky ones who recieved a special blue flamingo silly bandz that were handed out, not only by the Insulet team, but also by Noah, The Diabetes Dude, and his dad! The flamingo silly bandz were the idea of Insulet to help spread word about Noah's Flamingo Flock diabetes awareness campaign. These fun little bandz have become quite popular in recent months with kids of all ages from all over the country so it was only natural that the most innovative company in insulin pumps would have the hottest item around for kids! Please know that if you are lucky enough to be wearing one of these bandz, it is very special, according to Noah, so wear it with pride. Noah would like to thank Insulet, once again, for helping him spread the word about his campaign!
The Diabetes Dude is Making News!
The Diabetes Dude is really starting to make a name for himself! Here are some local news stories about his diabetes awareness campaign!
Channel 10, NBC, Providence