“Noah was not feeling well and he was also not looking well,” said Roxanne De Villiers. Now eight, her son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2012, just two weeks before his third birthday.
“When we took him to his paediatrician, he was diagnosed on the same day. Noah’s sugar levels were so high. It could actually be said that we got there just in time to avoid a diabetic coma.”
She said Noah had been frequently thirsty, urinated excessively, lethargic and had lost weight.
When she received the news he had Type 1 diabetes, “tears rolled down my face while I looked at Noah being handled by nurses and the paediatrician”.
“I had no clue what to do.”
But her husband, Derick, was the calm in her storm. “I recall Derick coming super close, reaching out and holding my hand so tightly. That told me that he is there and that he is going to protect Noah.”
But she said he, too, had had his vulnerable moments after Noah was diagnosed.
With the diagnosis came major adjustments to Noah’s lifestyle – mainly his diet.
“Noah is a growing boy with a healthy appetite. So we had to learn to count carbs and to pay attention to sugar content, then teach him how to as well. We had to know what insulin levels to inject with meals, adjusting it at certain times like big family celebrations and kid’s birthday parties, where meals are part of the occasion.”
However, the adjustments were not limited to Noah, as De Villiers and her husband also had to adjust.
“Emotionally and mentally we had to adjust quickly. We needed to get into a routine that could not be disrupted. We were eight days straight at the hospital after the diagnosis: counselled, taught to test, taught to inject.”
It also hasn’t been without challenges for the family.
“Getting his finger pricked lots and getting injections during the day was tough. All he wanted was to play and walk around and be at his educare. So the teaching of a two-year-old to accept this new way of life was a challenge.”
Noah is also required to see his endocrinologist every eight weeks for routine checks.
According to Noah, the hardest part about having diabetes is feeling tired when he has low sugar levels.
“I feel really tired and I need to eat to get it back to normal quickly.”
But he said he has great parents who support, protect and love him.