‘I need you to go to the Children’s Hospital right now, Asher has a 578 blood sugar level.’: Mom’s advocacy for son leads to Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis

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“Having kids has always been my dream for as long as I could remember. In that dream, my kids were happy and healthy; little did I know the healthy part was going to take a turn so quickly.

brother and sister cuddled together
Courtesy of Kenslie Burkhart

Asher is in kindergarten at a charter school where the COVID protocols are still strictly followed. On February 16, 2022 Asher threw up at school from a virus that was going around, so he was put in a 10-day quarantine. We stayed home those 10 days and tested for Covid twice, getting negative results both times. While we were home, Asher started asking for food and water excessively. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water and ate anything and everything he saw. We brushed it off as him being bored because that’s what you do when you’re bored, right?

Our 10-day quarantine was up and I got Asher ready for school and noticed he looked a little sick, but I figured it was allergies. I gave him Claritin and sent him on his way. The next morning, it was the same thing, so I tried Flonase. On that Tuesday, the school nurse walked him out to my car where she said he was still acting sick and looked sick. I agreed, and before even leaving the school pick-up line, I had a pediatrician appointment for the next morning at 8:30. We did our normal nighttime routine and I was starting to feel a little nervous but happy we had such a quick appointment. Wednesday, March 3rd, I sat up in the morning, grabbed my phone, and texted my mom: ‘I think Asher has diabetes.’ At this point I had zero information about what diabetes was or the symptoms; I just felt like he did.

We get to our appointment where I asked for a ‘diabetes test’ and our doctor said, ‘No, I think he is just still trying to catch up from being sick.’ But I said, ‘I really need one for some peace of mind.’ She said ‘fine,’ did the finger poke to get his blood sugar levels, looked at me and said, ‘I need you to go to the Children’s Hospital in Plano right now, Asher has a 578 blood sugar level. I will call it in and on your way there find someone to come get River.’ I immediately started sobbing! Asher looked at me and said, ‘Why are you crying, I’m the one who got poked!’

mom and diabetic son taking a selfie
Courtesy of Kenslie Burkhart

At that moment I knew I needed to stop crying for Asher. He had no idea what was going on, and honestly, I didn’t either. Sadly, the situation was much worse than I realized. I thought this meant Asher had to eat super healthy and he would be okay. I didn’t realize my 6-year-old would be required to have 6-12 finger pokes to read his blood sugar and 4-5 shots of insulin a day to survive. Once we got to the hospital, I walked in and the waiting room had at least 50 patients, but before I was even done answering the COVID questions they called Asher’s name. This is when I started hyperventilating again. A nurse grabbed River from me and another grabbed me, hugged me, and prayed for us.

I will never forget this nurse. I hate hugs from pretty much anyone other than my direct family and it felt like I gave this little nurse all of my weight, like she was carrying me while I sobbed on her shoulder. After we got to the emergency room, they checked Asher’s levels which were now 534. With high blood sugar, you become very thirsty and hungry, but they were not allowing Asher to eat until he was in a room upstairs and an endocrinologist could come to see him. So, we sat in the emergency room playing with some toys the nursing staff brought and watching TV.

type one diabetic in the hospital trying to recover
Courtesy of Kenslie Burkhart

The first day was horrible; we didn’t know any information about diabetes and we didn’t want to google anything because we know the internet can only tell you the worst stuff first. While in the hospital the doctors and nurses said we caught this so fast, so finally I asked what does this even mean and when they told us most kids that have Type 1 diabetes but don’t know come in unconscious or super sick, Asher and I knew we had to start sharing the symptoms because this could happen to anyone of any age and not many know these are symptoms of diabetes. After 3 very long days full of IVs, insulin shots, finger pricks, and urine tests, both dad and I felt confident to go home and take care of Asher on our own with what we learned in the hospital.

diabetic boy in hospital
Courtesy of Kenslie Burkhart

On our first night home, I got on TikTok and searched Type 1 diabetes – WORST mistake! The videos were sad and negative. I refuse to let my son live a life like that and I want to show people that yes, type 1 diabetes is so hard to manage, but it’s doable and you ARE able to live a normal life and be a normal person after diabetes. Asher can still practice Jiu-jitsu, or play football, or go swimming, or run – he can do everything you can, he just might need an apple juice or two while doing it.

little boy at a baseball game
Courtesy of Kenslie Burkhart

Some of the biggest misinformation is diabetes can be cured with weight loss and a healthy diet. That’s not true, type 1 diabetes is insulin-dependent. Asher can eat whatever he wants, he just has to have insulin for it before he eats it. If I could tell one thing to a parent who goes through this it would be that it does get easier, it is not the end of the world no matter how much it feels like it is the first few days. Your child is SO much strong than you could have imagined. You will both get through this together and build a stronger bond because of this. Asher is still the happy, silly, loving, brave, strong, encouraging 6-year-old boy he has always been and that will never change no matter the diagnosis!”

diabetic boy in green shrt
Courtesy of Kenslie Burkhart
mom, dad, sister and brother all standing for a pic
Courtesy of Kenslie Burkhart

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kenslie Burkhart. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more about Type 1 Diabetes here:

‘Mom, I’m so sorry. I couldn’t help it.’ The bed was soaked. She’d wake up in the middle of the night, begging for water.’: Mom shares daughter’s Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis, ‘She wears it like a badge of honor’

‘Can I go to the nurse’s office?’ I was dizzy, ready to faint. My teacher turned to me and said, ‘Absolutely not. Sit down.’ She didn’t believe me.’: Young woman recounts journey with Type 1 Diabetes

‘My sister called. ‘Rachel is thirsty. I think she has heat exhaustion.’ She stopped breathing. I was on the phone as they started CPR.’: Mom loses daughter to undiagnosed Type 1 Diabetes

‘My eyes! Something is wrong with my eyes!’ He throws down his backpack, screams, and slumps onto the bench.’: Mom to son with Type 1 Diabetes claims ‘no one can prepare you for this’

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