My name is Ashley, I am 34, well 35 next week. I live with my 17 year old daughter Caitlin, by the beach in beautiful SoCal. As I type this, the temp outside is 79 degrees. Sorry to rub it in, but I love where I live!
I'd like to say this first post will be a step forward for me. I hold my feelings in a lot. Especially about diabetes and how it has or has not changed me. I am prediabetic, still something to take seriously, which is what i have trouble with.
To be honest, I have never really grasped that I, Ashley Riddle, of sound mind and body, could possibly one day, have Type 2 diabetes. At the time of THE doctor's appointment, back in August of 2009, I was already frustrated with months of labs and scans and stupid doctors appointments, it was kind of a relief to find out that I finally knew what was going on with my body. Did I understand? hell no. Did I want to take action? kinda. The doctor kept saying type 2. I knew nothing about it, it's symptoms,etc. To me that just meant I was FAT, and needed to lose weight to avoid giving myself shots every day. Boy did I have a lot to learn...
Telling my family wasn't something I took seriously, because I never really felt it was a big deal. I didn't feel sick. My mom was the first to know. She didn't take it well, but I knew she was just as scared as I was. She was my buddy through this time period. I had to be strong and keep it together for my child.
I knew I wanted to know more about my type 2. I took the diabetes education classes offered through my medical group, free of charge.( I also work for said medical group). I learned so much about portions, carb and calorie counting, how to check my blood sugar before and after meals. Such a great resource for those new to the D word. Then I was sent a blood glucose monitor. My anxiety set in, and testing my blood became a hassle. I hated it, and my numbers were never over 140 after eating. I just felt it was unnecessary.
After months of getting on track, by December 2009, I was still having weight issues. I didn't like what the Metformin was doing to my body. Nothing stayed in my system long enough. Doc adjusted the dose to 500mg twice a day. Much better.I lagged on testing my blood and eventually just stopping checking.I just didn't feel the need to.
My daughter was just 14 at the time I was told this news about my health. Her best friend, Cassie,also 14 has diabetes, but not the same as what I could potentially have. She was diagnosed at age 4. She wore a pump. That is all I knew about her condition. I felt at ease knowing I had a diabetes person to chat with if needed, even if she was 14, she definitely knew more than I did.
Cassie spent a lot of time at my house. She was a petite little thing, with gorgeous red hair, freckles, and the most infectious laugh. She ate whatever she wanted and drank diet pepsi. I never saw her give herself insulin at my house, I just figured her pump did it all for her.
On December 31, 2009, my daughter had a sleepover at our house. Cassie and 4 other girls from the JV cheer squad came over to spend the night and have innocent NY Eve bonding time. I had gone to a big over the top dinner with my friend, so when I came home, I was in a food coma. Like literally, on my couch just waiting for the Metformin to take over. Bad girl.
As the night went on, the girls were running around, playing music and then eventually settled down to watch a movie. Cassie, excused herself to the restroom. My daughter later told me Cassie had thrown up her dinner from earlier. When Cassie returned from the restroom, a little embarrassed, she said she had eaten something bad and she was fine. I was more concerned about H1N1, since it was the headline stealer at that time. We all did not want to get sick. She swore she was fine and she'd feel better in a little while. So, activities proceeded and the NY came, and eventually I went to bed.
Here's where my lack of diabetes education failed me: At or around 3am, I heard noise in the restroom, and thought it was my daughter, throwing up. I called out "Caity?" "No it's Cassie". I said" Are you okay, do I need to take you home"? She said, "No, its the food poisoning, I am okay". I think I just went right back to sleep because I don't remember what happened after.
The next morning, I was woken up by some moaning, and hearing the word "Ouch" over and over. It was Cassie, rolling around on my living room floor. Cramps or something.
I called out to Cassie, asked her if she needed help or what was going on and she said it was too bright in the house and she had a cramp. I asked her about her diabetes, had she checked her sugars, and she simply said, "Not yet, but I will". I let her lay in my bed while I went into the kitchen to make breakfast. She wandered back into the kitchen and started to fill a huge glass with water. Sat on my couch, passed out, then woke up went to the bathroom and then filled her cup again. She just kept repeating this, and I unknowingly just kept doing what I was doing.
The girls finally woke up sometime after noon, and after I had gotten a little more concerned about Cassie's condition. I knew my daughter knew more of where her items were and her mom's phone number so I made my daughter check Cassie's bag for her phone and locate her diabetic supplies. Cassie had taken her pump off, took a shower and then forgot to put her pump back on. I knew this was bad, so I called her parents. They came over in record time and got her after I explained what I had witnessed to them. They brought this small case looking thing and gave her shots. I checked her blood glucose and it said "above 600 Not able to read".
This scared me. I could see the tears forming in her mother's eyes. She was shaking. We were told it would take a day or two for Cassie to be back to herself, but she would be okay. Her dad carried her downstairs, all the while Cassie was saying "I'm sorry Daddy, don't be mad. My pump didn't work".
My daughter walked with Cassie to the car, and Cassie told Caity "I love you sissy" and when Caity came back in we all started to cry. I remember her mother mentioning "acidosis and ketone"...I went to Google. I was shocked and scared and overwhelmed with what I was reading. The usual questions circling my head at the time "what if I had noticed sooner" "why didn't I call sooner"...Cassie's condition only became worse as the night progressed. By the next morning, 430 am to be exact, Cassie's step dad called and left a voicemail, saying that "Cassie went into a coma and was admitted to Childrens' hospital. She had passed out at home after showing signs of getting better, then screaming about a massive headache and then collapsing. Her mother said she watched her head swell before she passed out. We were told that we could come down to the hospital to say our goodbyes, as the doctors detected no brain activity and Cassie was going to die".
WHAT? Is this some kind of sick joke? We were all shocked and wondering how this could have happened. Not our Cassie.
We hurried up and got in the car to get down to the hospital. Arrived at 1:45. The announcement came at 3:47. Our beloved Cassie has passed due to complications of Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes.
I could go on and on about what took place after this, but I won't.Not yet. It's all so painful still, even after 2 years. Cassie's death was my wake up call.
When I read some of the posts that the T1 parents or teens or even T1 adults share, I can't help but feel some guilt.
I still have so much to say about this experience. I will save it for my next blog.
Thank you for listening. Rest in peace Cassie.