Saturday, February 09, 2013

Reaching for the Stars...Or a Diabetic Alert Dog

Sarah will be turning 4 years old on February 24th.  I cannot believe it has almost been two years since she was diagnosed on May 25th, 2011.  At only 27 months our entire world changed.

For months before Sarah's Second birthday we knew something was wrong.  She kept having problems with diaper rashes and being sick off and on.  It was terrible and we could not figure out what was going wrong. The doctor just kept saying that the diaper rashes were yeast infections and that it was completely normal and since she was almost 2 she needed to be potty trained.

Fast forward to her second birthday, her party was planned for the Saturday of her birthday, everything was set to go and suddenly she was very sick,  she had the stomach flu for 3 days and right after that happened she started being very lethargic, would lay in bed for hours just watching TV and sleeping. She would drink huge amounts of water and juice so much that she would literally pee through her diaper sometimes 2 and 3 times a night, she wouldn't eat food  she just really wanted nothing to do with anything.  At her two year appointment she weighed 25 lb's two, almost three months later she was down to 20 lb's.  It was devastating to see my baby girl wasting away and have the doctor just keep telling us that she was fine.

I finally put my foot down and on May 20th I took Sarah to the doctor and complained that they absolutely must figure out what is wrong.  Well since she had eaten food already the doctor said they could not test her for diabetes.  So he sent us home to come back in 5 days after fasting. It was a very long weekend waiting to go back to the doctor on Wednesday.  When we showed up to the doctors office they took us back to the nurses room. My 13 year old daughter was with us as well.  They pulled out a Blood Sugar Meter and poked her finger.  I saw the number... 185...I had no clue what a normal blood sugar number was.  Was it high???  The nurse asked me if we had let Sarah eat or drink anything.  I responded nope...She immediately rushed out of the room and called the doctor downstairs.  She walked back in five minutes later and said that the doctor wanted to see us immediately.  We walked downstairs just knowing something was wrong.  Wishing I had my cell phone (I had left it at home) I text-ed my husband from my oldest daughters cell phone and told him that I had a feeling Sarah was really going to be diagnosed with Diabetes.  (all of the signs above, the losing weight, the excessive thirst just pointed to it happening)  I finally had enough.

Within minutes of getting downstairs the doctor was in the room with us, telling us how sorry he was that he should have accepted my fear and concern.  That we needed to rush home, get clothing and childcare together for the next 3-5 days and rush back across town to Phoenix Children's hospital. We went home and  on the way to the hospital we stopped to get Sarah something to eat as she was crying from hunger. We let her eat part of a corn dog and some diet soda.  Once we got to the hospital when I told them Sarah's name they literally rushed us to a waiting room, Luckily my husbands mom and grandmother met us there to get our two oldest kids from us.  Once in the hospital room they put in an IV and took blood and then had to catheterize her to get urine as she was not potty trained and they needed to check for ketones.

Sarah was quite the trooper over the next 4 days in the hospital.  However her father and I were devastated   We had no idea what we could do to make her feel better. She slept through a lot of the days and we took classes and talked to counselors and muddled through.  I remember on the first night we were in the hospital the nurse came in at 4 am and said that Sarah's blood sugar was over 500 and we needed to give her insulin and since I was awake, now was as good of a time as ever to learn how to do it.  I was laying the the bed with Sarah about to give her a shot...Seriously they thought I should poke her with a needle!!! Seriously!!!  I cried seriously cried that I was going to have to poke her! The nurse drew up the insulin and handed me the needle and said to go for it.  Sarah was asleep, didn't feel a thing.  Things over the next few days got easier. But it sure sucked giving my kid shots and poking her fingers!

Fast forward and it's almost been 2 years since we started this journey.  Last year Sarah got an insulin pump  which has made life a little bit easier.  Sarah now get's insulin through a device that hangs off her belt and a catheter is inserted under her skin every 3 days.  This device leads me to the second most important device that will help us with her diabetes.  A Diabetic Alert Dog. 

A Diabetic Alert dog will change her life. This animal will have the ability to tell us when Sarah's blood glucose is going too low or is even too high.  This dog will be her constant companion 24 hours a day.  Eventually the dog may even get a chance to go to school with her.  Since Sarah is so young, she does not know or cannot convey to us that her blood sugar is low or high.  Low blood sugars below 40 can cause serious issues including killing brain cells and possibly as it goes lower, death.  This dog will be able to tell us when her blood sugar gets to the 80 range which is when she really needs to be corrected.

This dog costs $2000 and is being purchased from a great breeder KC Owens from This woman spends her time imprinting the dogs from the time they are born to know what a low blood sugar smells like and what they should do to alert either the diabetic or the diabetic's partner/parents.

This dog will literally save my daughters life every day.  I cannot wait to get it.  However it costs money. A lot of money,  Money which after paying huge co pays and deductibles each month leaves us with very little left for such a big expense.  Which is why I am coming to my friends on my blog and my friends friends.  Asking for a donation.  Donations can be sent to me via Paypal @ or via a website that we set up for Sarah for donations  The problem is that there is a fee to use the site and it eats up a lot of the donations.  The third way is to contact the breeder directly at her website and forward a donation to her with Sarah Pittman's name on it. If you would like to talk to me you can email me at my email above or contact me on FaceBook  

Thank you!

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