It was just a week before Christmas when accountant and mum-of-two Kate had her world turned upside-down by a visit to the doctors.
“My seven-year-old son Blake had recently started wetting the bed, he was more tired than usual and also extremely thirsty. I had been Googling possible causes and thought it was due to a UTI, the heat, or the fact he was exhausted after a big year of school. I was chatting to our female GP about all of this and fully expected to be given a prescription for antibiotics and be on our way.
“The doctor listened intently then tested Blake’s urine and did a quick finger-prick blood test. The results were startlingly clear – she told me very simply and gently that unfortunately Blake had Diabetes Type 1.”
While Kate struggled to understand what the implications of the diagnosis were for Blake and the family, the GP told them to immediately go home and pack for hospital. While they waited anxiously in the Emergency Department, they were visited by the diabetes support team.
“I was in complete denial and I kept waiting for someone to say, ‘I’m sorry, there has been a mix up, your son is fine and you can go home.’ I was given mountains of paperwork to read and everything the diabetes experts were saying to me went over my head. All I could think of was my poor son and how was I, with my needle phobia, going to be able to inject him every single day?”
Blake had to remain in hospital over Christmas while Kate, her husband Pete and their youngest son Luca came to grips with the news.
“We were all devastated but aside from the shock of the diagnosis, there was so much to learn about the erratic nature of Diabetes Type 1 and the technicalities involved in treating Blake.
“Not only did we have to inject him with insulin four times a day, but he was given a blood glucose monitor to wear on his arm 24/7 that feeds data back to a phone and diabetes App via Bluetooth. He would also need us to give him finger prick blood tests at least four times daily to calibrate and check the monitor was working.”