Heroes come in all ages. When most think of teenage siblings, they think of fighting or arguing. When a young man steps up to honor his sister, it deserves a round of applause, a standing ovation, a line of high-fives! The story below is about a young lady named Juliette who has recently been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Her first year, like many with this diagnosis, was a struggle. When Freddie heard about the Score for the Cure event, he immediately signed up for the Hockey game and began spreading the word to his teammates. He was determined to play in honor of Juliette. He will be hitting the ice on August 14th in support of his sister and to help raise awareness of this terrible disease and all that comes with it. Come out and support Freddie, Juliette, and the entire family. Activities for all ages and non-hockey players as well!
Imagine one day you go to school and aren't able to keep your eyes open because you are so physically tired. Imagine you’re sitting, eating lunch with your friends, and just can't quench your thirst. Now, imagine going to your doctor for answers and being told that you are just upset and depressed that your parents are away for a weekend hockey tournament with your brother. Finally, imagine if that doctor was wrong.
Juliette’s doctor was wrong. She wasn’t upset. She wasn’t depressed. Thankfully, we insisted that her doctors conduct tests — even for ailments that don’t run in our family. On February 19, 2020, our daughter Juliette was admitted to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) with a blood glucose level over 500 and a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.
Immediately upon arrival at CHOP, Juliette was hooked up to an IV to get much needed, life-saving, insulin into her system to bring her numbers down. We spent the next 24-hours in the ICU before her levels were stable enough to move her to a regular room. At CHOP, we learned more than we ever knew there was to know about the critical components involved in Type 1 Diabetes care and maintenance: carbs, food and nutrition, insulin injections, MATH, and more. For four days, we undertook the start of what will be a lifelong learning process for us and for Juliette. We were quizzed on all the new information, tested to make sure we knew how to properly inject Juliette with insulin, and how to determine the right number of units to use, and then we were released back into the world to do it on our own! It was terrifying but, somehow, we made it through the weekend.
Monday arrived and we all went back as much as possible to our normal routine — school, clubs, dance class, track meets, and time with friends. Juliette quickly adjusted and was learning how to cope with Diabetes and still live a relatively normal life for an 11-year-old girl.
Then, on March 13, 2020, Covid struck. Not even a month after Juliette’s diagnosis changed our lives forever, the pandemic delivered another blow. School was shut down, initially, for two weeks. All activities ceased. Until Covid hit, Juliette was doing well and was happy. Sure, there’d been some challenges, and a few meltdowns, but not too many.
Two weeks quickly turned into two months and then school shut down for the rest of the year. Covid hit everyone hard, and Juliette was no exception. She began to struggle with coping and I have never seen depression strike so fast and so hard. For a young girl who thrived on being involved at school and in all kinds of activities, being forced to stay away from others, to remain inside much of the time, and to have NOTHING to do really was a challenge. It took a toll, leaving Juliette frequently upset.
After a few months passed, Juliette started to rebound. She was able to start seeing her friends again and remembered to live life to the fullest. Her smile returned!
Since her initial diagnosis, Juliette now sees a great team of specialists at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Juliette uses the DexcomG6 continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and recently started to use an insulin pump. These tools, and experience, have helped Juliette’s life become calmer and more stable. Still, with T1D, there’s never a dull moment!
Once the initial shock wore off, our family was able to come to terms with Juliette’s diagnosis. We’re very blessed that Juliette was diagnosed and not ignored. We’re blessed that Juliette’s older brother and younger sister have learned about T1D so that they will be able to help if needed. We’re blessed that we have family and friends willing and able to lend a hand if asked. Most of all, we know how blessed Juliette is to still have the ability to live life on her terms regardless of whatever her carb ratio is that day.