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An out of the blue diagnosis // Life lately

It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve sat down (without falling asleep at 8pm) and got to write a blog post about what’s happening in the Shilton household. Truth be told, it’s been one heck of a few weeks and I’ve kind of been taking it day-by-day dealing with the day at hand before getting out the laptop and trying to stay awake long enough to get my blog work and writing done. Sit back with a cuppa, this is a long one! 

We had a fantastic few days in France visiting Disneyland Paris and getting our Disney fix. I’ll write about it at some point as we had such a wonderful few days, I’m now pining to go back as it’s the place where it felt as though everything was happy and smiley and we all slept like logs!

Disneyland Paris August 2018

Upon our return from France, my husband, Shilts had to go to the doctors for a lump he’d discovered under his armpit. It had got progressively larger over the weekend when we were in Disney and we both consulted Doctor Google (who we know isn’t qualified but we still did it) and secretly scared ourselves with possible reasons as to what it could be.

The doctor believed it was an abscess and gave him some antibiotics and sent him on his way with the knowledge that if it got worse over the week whilst taking the medication he should go to hospital. The next day, Shilts came home from work and he looked really ill. His face was pale, he looked a funny shade of grey, walking with caution and didn’t look well at all. He said he was in a lot of pain so I urged him to go to A&E. Worried that he would be admitted, his parents took him to hospital whilst I stayed at home with the boys and put them to bed.

Three hours later, I got a phone call from Shilts who delivered the news that as well as the possibility of surgical drainage (vom!) of the abscess, they thought he was diabetic. Well, to say it was a shock was an understatement. A routine blood sugars test in the Surgical Assessment Ward came back ridiculously high so after a wash of his hands and a repeat test, the readings were unbelievable and in the high 20s.

I was clueless about diabetes but have quickly learned that it is a very dangerous condition if not carefully managed. I’m shocked that the outcome to all of this could have been fatal and we’re so, so lucky that the diabetes diagnosis came when it did. I dread to think what could have happened whilst we were away in France or even at home, work or out and about.

Shilts was admitted to the ward for surgery to drain the abscess that evening and treatment began to reduce his blood sugars with IV sodium chloride and there were talks about issuing insulin straight away. Fast forward two days later and Shilts had been operated on and had been given the diagnosis that he was in fact Type 1 Diabetic. Type 1 being the one that you can control with insulin and there’s no rhyme or reason as to why he’s got it all of a sudden. apparently there’s nothing that he could have done to prevent it, it’s not from eating all the bad foods or drinking etc, it’s just developed and they’ve managed to diagnosis it.

To be honest, all the symptoms were there. Shilts had been drinking so much liquid to quench his thirst over the summer, he put it down to the hot weather. I wondered if he was dehydrated and thats why he was drinking so much but it didn’t add up. He has also, without trying, lost quite a bit of weight and the day before the diagnosis four different work colleagues all commented that he had lost weight.

Couple Husband and Wife

Shilts has Type 1 Diabetes and suffers from hyperglycaemia which is high blood sugars (you can also be hypoglycaemic which is low blood sugars). He’s been issued with an insulin pen, a blood sugar tracking monitor and lots of other equipment for him to regular check his own blood sugars and ketones throughout the day. So far he’s on insulin twice a day which he self injects and he’s doing so well with it. I’m not sure I could have been so brave but I guess you never know until you’re in that situation.

We are very early days into life with diabetes and although Shilts has been the one with the diagnosis, it affects us all. Our normal is now a very different normal. I have been feeling very helpless and overwhelmed with my own lack of knowledge about the condition and it’s been quite a few days trying to get our heads around it and finding out what he can or can’t eat. Some foods send his blood sugars soaring and others don’t seem to affect it much at all. It’s all trial and error as we find things he can eat to try and reduce and maintain a lower blood sugar level. We’re still waiting to see the Diabetes clinic at our local hospital for more guidance and we’re waiting for follow up appointments and possible tests. It’s been the biggest shock but one that has been a blessing in disguise as we can now move forward and manage it as best as we can.

hand drawn hearts on hands

Amongst all that we’ve had Olly go back to school into Year One. We knew it would be hit and miss with him in the morning as he has history of being upset in school. Thankfully, he seems to be calm and much less anxious at home but step foot into the playground and the tears come. I’m hopeful that once the back to school routine is ingrained in him, he’ll settle down and the tears become less frequent. Doesn’t make it any easier at all, I still find it really hard walking away knowing he’s gone into school with tears streaming down his face but hopefully we’ll get there. We’ve been doing the hearts on our hands for when he wants a reminder that I’m there for him but I know he’s absolutely fine as soon as the school day starts so that’s a comfort and so far he’s enjoying being in Year One.

Freddie outdoors

Freddie is doing well and is growing far too quickly (you can read his 8 month update here). He’s hit the 8 month sleep regression which is hard going. He goes to sleep at the same time as usual but then wakes up frequently through the night. I’m hoping it’s a very short phase and he regains his ability to sleep through the night, I am exhausted!

Whilst all that is going on, I’ve made the decision not to return to my HR job in January following my maternity leave. It’s a decision that has been a long time coming and now is the ideal time to leave. My boss recently asked me what my intentions were in returning to work and now it’s just the formalities of handing in my notice at the end of the year. I’ve always wanted to stay at home with my boys. I want to be there for Olly after school and spend more time with Freddie. The guilt of having to leave Olly when he was younger still hangs over me but it’s something as a working Mum I had to do. I’m hoping I can really push my blog to another level and make it work for us financially but aside from that, this time with my boys being so little is something I’ll never get back. I know it won’t be easy, but when has life ever been easy. Over the last five years, I’ve been working 30+ hours a week in HR (and juggling the school holidays and childcare) as well as building up this blog and maintaining my freelance work. I’m quite used to burning the midnight oil and juggling things so I’m excited for the challenge ahead.

Well if you’ve got to the end of this, well done! It’s been quite a few weeks and I’m sure the next few months will have their challenges but life would be boring without them eh?!

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11 Comments

  • Reply Plutonium Sox

    Wow Emma, you’ve been through so much haven’t you? It’s one of those social media tricks where I only see the happy, smiley Disney photos and had no idea. I’m so glad they managed to diagnose your husband’s condition when they did and I hope he starts to find it easier to manage soon and that Ollie soon settles into his school routine. Little Freddie is growing so quickly and he seems to be a real ray of sunshine.
    Nat.x

    12/09/2018 at 12:46 pm
    • Reply Emma

      Thanks Nat, it’ll all slot into place soon hopefully x

      15/09/2018 at 12:35 am
  • Reply Natalie

    I’m so sorry to hear about your husband, such a scare. Exciting news about not returning to work!! We go to Disney next month for the first time so looking forward to reading your post!

    12/09/2018 at 4:31 pm
    • Reply Emma

      Thanks Natalie, it’s going to be a new challenge but one I am certainly ready for x

      15/09/2018 at 12:28 am
  • Reply Colette

    Mum was diagnosed with Type 1 in her mid twenties after two lots of gestational diabetes. She suffers from low blood sugar though and has to test & inject at every meal & before bed. Mostly she manages it so well that nobody outside of our family would ever know.

    I’m super proud of you both for tackling this head on & with such positivity – and pleased that he was diagnosed before things got worse xxx

    12/09/2018 at 9:29 pm
    • Reply Emma

      That’s so good to hear. I hope Shilts can manage it as well. Thank you Colette, that means a lot xx

      15/09/2018 at 12:28 am
  • Reply Clare aka Emmy's Mummy

    You’ve certainly all been through the mill recently.

    I’m so glad you managed to have a wonderful family holiday before the world was rocked for you…..I’m not sure you’d have enjoyed as much if it had happened before as the worry would set in.

    I guess things do happen for a reason, that’s my belief, even if those things really do suck! You are an amazing family who will climb this hurdle and conquer as a solid family unit x

    12/09/2018 at 11:29 pm
    • Reply Emma

      Thank you so much Clare xx

      15/09/2018 at 12:27 am
  • Reply susankmann

    I am glad things are going generally well. Olly is doing well in school which is great. And Freddie is such a wee star. Sorry to hear about your husband, that must have been such a shock. I hope he goes from strength to strength. I wish you all the best with the blog, you can do this lovely xx

    13/09/2018 at 10:12 am
    • Reply Emma

      Thank you so much Susan xx

      15/09/2018 at 12:27 am
  • Reply traceycwilliams

    Oh Emma you have certainly been through the mill, but I am certain you will get through this bump in the road and it will all become a new sort of normal for you. Thank goodness though that your husband has been diagnosed now and is getting the right treatment. My sons close friend got diagnosed as type 1 just before his GCSEs. They think he could have probably had it all his life !!! Lots of love and hugs to you all xx

    16/09/2018 at 8:09 pm
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