Meet Lauren Nicole!
She is our beautiful daughter of eight. Lauren was diagnosed before she was two with Type 1 Diabetes.
The Initial Moments
On a Sunday night in 1998 shortly before Lauren's second birthday, my wife and I noticed that Lauren was still very thirsty after having consumed a large cup of juice. She was very frantic in her desire for another cup. Neither my wife nor I knew anything about Type 1 Diabetes at the time. We did find her thirst odd. I recommended that my wife take her by our pediatrician the next day to make sure that she was ok. The next morning, I left for Georgia Tech for a speaking engagement that I was conducting. Immediately after my presentation, the sponsoring professor rushed to me and said that I had an emergency phone call. On the line was my wife who was in tears. She told me that the doctor had diagnosed Lauren with Type 1 diabetes and that we needed to rush to Emory for immediate treatment. I was devastated. But, as is the nature of our family, my wife and I went into action immediately. I left immediately for Emory from Georgia Tech to complete the paperwork as my wife rushed to Atlanta from the doctor's office in Lagrange, Georgia.
We were met by a team who immediately prepared us for the journey ahead. Over those three days, we learned about the unyielding demands of this disease and we learned how to meet the issues. I must say that the initial pricks of the finger and shots and the cries that came from my little princess caused my heart to break. But, this was my daughter and no disease was going to keep her from us.
We returned home to begin our effort to control this new entity in our lives.
The Early Days – Ages 2 To 4
The toughest part of our fight began immediately on arrival back at our home. We faced the challenge of managing blood sugars via frequent glucose checks every 24 hours. The pain was so hard on those tiny fingers. We had to purchase multiple alarm clocks to make sure we would wake up in the three to five checks through the night.
Lauren now had a rigid food routine that was governed by her insulin routine. Rigid food schedule and 2 years old don't go along with each other either. We learned to count carbs on all that she ate. The toughest part of this was when she just didn't want to eat and her sugar was dropping and she was required to eat or drink with tears streaming down her face.
The times that she got a digestive illness were terrible. These episodes happened about three to four times per year and caused the midnight rushes to the hospital for an IV of glucose, insulin, and Phenergin as her body fought the virus. I will never forget those little eyes as the big needles of the IV were pressed into her tiny arms.
The constant fight against lows was another challenge in these early years as we kept the guard on the low end. Though lows are a part of every Type 1's life, we have had not experienced a diabetic episode in our six years of coping with the disease. We have been fortunate in this area.
Now, the good news! My wife and I absolutely dedicated ourselves to providing Lauren with every experience that their friends enjoyed. For every tear, there were 1000 smiles. For every ouch, there were heartfelt laughs as great experiences and memories were made. Our family became closer and closer with the passing of every day. Twenty large picture books and countless video capture the wonderful times.
The Great Day!
Around age four, my wife and I started hearing about early success with insulin pumps on young children. After much research, we heard about a famous doctor in Atlanta who was leading in pump research. We were able to contact him and we set up an appointment to discuss the option. We were met by a true professional who changed our lives in a huge way.
Her doctor decided that we would try insulin pump therapy on his new little patient. We checked into Piedmont Hospital for the conversion and he and his staff made the switch. The impact was immediate.
The wild swings were now much more stable. Fixed eating schedules were eliminated. The shots were no more! The nightly check frequency was sharply reduced. A little girl could be a little girl!
Since that time, Lauren has been quite active with her doctor. Via his leadership, Lauren was asked to participate in the clinical trials of Minimed's Paradigm pump. The trials were a success and Minimed replaced her 508 with a Paradigm on product launch.
The next chapter will come in the way of a new continuous monitoring system. These programs will minimize those hurtful finger pricks.
Though her frame is so small, Lauren's presence is gigantic. Her smile is contagious to all she meets. She walks into a room and brightens it with her glow and a personality that pulls all to her. In her small school of 220 (K through 12), she gets and gives countless hugs a day from a student body who knows and cares for her. She knows them all by name.
When she sees someone who has a boo-boo or is just feeling bad, Lauren is the first to be at their side with a caring voice and a desire to make it better. She wears her pump proudly as if it were the Congressional Medal of Honor. She often shows her friends how she pricks her fingers and then dials the right amount of insulin for her meals. She understands the disease and helps all to understand it in her energetic and positive way.
This little tiger faces the disease every day with the help of her family and friends. We are very proud of her!
The Latest Chapter...
Lauren is actively preparing for the upcoming Walk for a Cure. Her $1000 goal has been smashed as donations come from all over our state and surrounding states thanks to a special note that Lauren sent to a host of family and friends. In addition, she is finalizing her application for the Children's Congress this weekend. She has received notes from friends and dignitaries whose lives she has touched. This morning's mail had a note from the Governor wishing her the best. She flipped!
Lauren and her family receive email at billblackstock AT charter.net
Originally published April 28, 2001
Updated October 12, 2004
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