9 Year Old Jessica

I was probably what my husband thought, a VERY overprotective and overreactive mother. Our daughter, Jessica began at the age of 18 months to run these crazy fevers of 101-104 for no known reason. Several times I would take her to the ER in the middle of the night with her burning up and acting crazy with a fever. Since my husband was an over the road truck driver, many times the decision to go or not to go was left up to me. Being by myself, that choice many times was to go. Then in September of 1993, Jessica began to wet her clothes several times a day. I thought this so bizarre, she was 3 and potty trained for over a year. She then began to wet her bed, then her sister's bed, and eventually our bed, all in the same night. This went on for a few weeks and I again decided it was time to go to the pediatrician's office. We had just been in July for her 3 year old check up and was tickled to hear she weighed a whopping 36 lbs! I was fully expecting to come home from this visit with a prescription for an antibiotic for a UTI and the wetting problem would take care of itself. Much to my surprise, when Jessica stepped up on the scales she only weighed in at 29 lbs! My energetic, beautiful, blond hair, blue eyed baby was quickly losing weight and the sparkle in her eyes was just no longer there. She was so very tired all the time and she drank and ate constantly while she was awake. When her lab work came back a few hours later, our pediatrician broke the news to me, alone, that Jessica definitely had Type 1 diabetes.

Being ignorant to what diabetes was and is, my first question through a cracking voice and tears was, "Is this fatal?". Randy was phoned immediately and told that I had Jessica in the hospital and he was to get there. He thought that yet again I had overreacted and was angry with me. When he was told that we were not in our hometown hospital but one in a nearby town, he said his heart fell. Never before had we felt so completely dependent on one another. We were going to have to be a team to make this work. We spent the next week in the hospital learning about diabetes and it's complications.

Six years later we were still trying to learn all we could and with no avail her blood sugars were soaring out of control and even our endocrinology team at Arkansas Children's Hospital couldn't help us. We were trying 4-5 shots a day and still having no luck. There was no way Jessica was ever going to have a normal life. She was missing out on overnight parties-parents were scared to death of her roller coaster blood sugars. During one overnight party, Jess got so sick we ended up in the hospital with ketoacidosis. We knew that there had to be a way to help her. Thank God for our SUPER endo team and the MiniMed pump!! In June of this year we made the trip to Little Rock to become one of the first 10 patients from there to get our pump. It was scary to say the least going from such a tight fisted control to actually breathing easy and letting her have birthday cake for her 9th birthday. We hadn't done that since she was 3!

We have seen such a tremendous change her! The blood sugars are back within the normal limits and her HA1C went from 9.7 down to 7.6 since her June visit. I can't say enough good for the pump and the personnel associated with MiniMed. Jessica was doing her own shots at the age of 5-so she could go to camp! She now can draw her insulin for the pump, prime it, and change her own sites. She is going to parties, playing softball, singing in the Arts Center of the Ozarks Children's Choir and planning a trip to Washington D.C. with them in June of 2000. The pump has given her back the childhood that diabetes tried to take away from her. If any parent would like to talk to us about pumping and the pros and cons, feel free to  write and we'll chat. Thank you.


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