Our Feature Friday this week involves a family who is kicking diabetes butt together! Let’s face it, having Type 1 Diabetes or caring for a child who has T1D isn’t easy. The Bradway family is truly an inspiration and proves that with love and support, anything is possible! Kirstie is the mother of Trevor and Gavin who have Type 1 Diabetes and her husband is also a Type 1. Please enjoy reading their journey and how they are thriving together…
My husband got diagnosed at the age of 9 and has had type 1 for nearly 28 years. My oldest son Trevor was diagnosed at age 8 (12/26/2019) and he is now 9 years old. And my middle son Gavin was diagnosed at 2 (9/20/2015) and is now 8 years old.
Diagnosis Story ~ Gavin & Trevor
Gavin was 2 years old and was potty trained during the day, but not at night time just yet. One night he started completely soaking his diapers and waking up completely drenched in pee for about 5/7 days in a row. One morning, I woke him up and I could smell this weird smell. I guess the only way to describe it is a fruity smell.
I mentioned this to my husband (who is also type 1) and along with his constant mood swings and the amount of drinking he had been doing in the week prior, he suggested that we test him with his tester when he got home from work (he works the overnight shift). So when he got home we tested him and his sugar wouldn’t read because his BG was over 600. We tested 3 more times on 3 different fingers all with the same result. We rushed to the ER to get the official diagnosis of what we already knew was type 1.
I was 15 weeks pregnant with our 3rd child at that point and I was a complete disaster knowing exactly what all of this would entail for the rest of his life as I have watched his father live through it for most of his life.
Trevor was 8 years old at the time and we noticed crazy mood swings with him as well. One night just him and I went out to dinner and to get a milkshake at Stewart’s after that. We got home around 8pm and he went to the bathroom. He came out of the bathroom and made the statement of “Mommy I’ve been peeing and drinking alot”. My heart immediately sank. Before we even tested him, I knew in my heart what this all meant. Before we tested he then told us he had been peeing and drinking a lot overnight and also while he was at school. We didn’t know any of this until he told us this that night. I then tested him on 3 different testers and 3 different fingers and they all came back with meter BG over 600.
I knew then and there our lives had completely turned upside down for the 2nd time in a little over 5 years. We rushed him to the ER where his blood glucose when admitted came back at 724. We thankfully saw the signs earlier enough just like we did with Gavin, that neither of our boys were in DKA when they were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
My initial thoughts after my boys were diagnosed was “it’s not fair” “why them?!” “how are there now 3 diabetics in our 1 household? This can’t be happening”.
I knew this diagnosis for both of them was completely life changing and my heart hurt for them more than I could ever explain. With Trevor’s diagnosis it hurt me so much more emotionally than Gavin’s did. I don’t know if it was because I never thought that this would actually happen to us again. Or the fact that I was occupied at home so much with 2 toddlers and a newborn to even process Gavin’s diagnosis. But regardless, both diagnosis’s broke my momma heart into a million pieces.
How did you explain diabetes to your children?
With Gavin’s diagnosis he was so young that we didn’t really know how to explain to a 2 year old what this means. He just looked at us as if we were hurting him on purpose and he didn’t like it. As he got a little older and could understand things a little better we told him that the medicine we give him for everything he eats is jut to keep him safe and Mommy and Daddy would never let anything bad happen to him. With Trevor’s diagnosis he had already seen his Daddy and brother living with it for so long that he didn’t really need an explanation for his diagnosis.
Diabetic Tips & Tricks
If I could say one thing about diabetes is that you’re never going to always get it right. You will get carb counts wrong, you will hurt your child unknowingly and by accident and it will kill you inside, you will miss judge on many things. But just know that you are doing the best you can and you will get through it.
Diabetes is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Give yourself some grace, you’re doing amazing even when you think you aren’t.
Mindset: That diabetes may win some battles, but it will never win the war, We are stronger than type 1. Also, find your tribe. It took me a very long time to find my tribe that understood how much of myself that I had to pour into caring for my type 1 children. When you find them, love them and keep them.
What the word Thrive means to me is that my boys are living their best, healthiest, happiest life that I can possibly provide for them. They are growing, they are learning, and they are succeeding in things every day; all because of you and what you are doing for them 24/7/365.
How do you thrive as the caregiver to your boys?
What helps us thrive with diabetes is that we have finally realized we’re going to make mistakes and we’re going to be okay. We’re doing the best we can. We learn something new every single day even with us being over 5 years in with our children and with almost 28 years with my husband. As long as my child is happy, healthy and growing; we are thriving.
Words of Encouragement
You will be okay. Things will get easier even if you don’t think they will. You will always be learning something new about type 1 no matter how long you have been at this diabetes game. Things will become so routine that you may forget what life was like without having a child with type 1. You will realize that that sweet child of your can and will do everything that they ever hoped and dreamed they could do, because they have you!
You are not alone. We are all in this together and all have 1 thing in common; whether you are the parent of a type 1 diabetic, or are a type 1 diabetic yourself; we are warriors and we will never stop fighting.
♡ Kirstie Bradway (Bros Before Lows)
If you loved reading this and are feeling inspired, click here to check out an amazing family who was featured last week! Thank you for your support and love- come back soon!