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Alden


It was a New Years Eve that we will never forget... instead of partying and celebrating with our family and friends, we sat in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit holding the hands of our 10 month old baby, Alden, and listening to the whoosh of the machines and beeping of his heart monitor. When midnight struck, we weren't celebrating the New Year, but rather rejoicing that Alden had made it through one more day. Never in a million years could we have anticipated that our baby would be so close to dying from Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA); we had taken him to the ER for what we thought was a case of the flu or croup. When we got there we discovered that his blood glucose was over 1100 mg/dl, and we were told he was within an hour of death. We had previously been concerned about Alden's poor weight gain (he'd gone from the 95th percentile to the 5th on the growth charts), but his pediatrician just said he'd be a "tall, thin kid.” Instead, we learned that Alden's life would forever be changed; he'd be required to wear an insulin pump and monitor every carbohydrate he eats or drinks—that is until a cure for type 1 diabetes can be found.

 

Now Alden is a happy and healthy toddler. He loves playing with his 2 year old brother and helps Mommy with his new 5 month old little brother. Alden has the best sense of humor... something that we never knew about him until after he started taking insulin. Prior to his diagnosis he seemed perpetually "cranky" and irritable; we always called him our "high maintenance" baby. In truth, he most likely spent those first few months of his life in misery from his uncontrolled diabetes and fluctuating blood glucose levels.


He has adapted well to wearing his insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring units. In fact, he gets upset if we take them off saying, "Alden's belt??" (he wears them in pump packs on a belt). His latest milestone is that at only 19 months, he can now use the "poker" and prick his own fingers for his blood checks. It's a bittersweet accomplishment... for while other toddlers are just learning to use utensils or hold a crayon, Alden is having to learn the basics of how to keep himself alive. But, no one who sees Alden would know about his disease; he's a typical boy—absolutely *loves* bugs, enjoys playing with his toy cars and tractors, helps Mommy feed the chickens and goats, and is learning to ride his own pony.

 

We can't wait for the day when thanks to Dr. Faustman’s research, we will be able to say that Alden once had diabetes, but now is cured.

 

Dwight & Cherie