Have you ever had one of those days — one of those moments — when the world you know suddenly becomes the world you knew and everything changes with just a couple of words?
Have you ever felt so ambushed by the enemy that you swear there’s some sort of target on your back?
Have you ever been launched into mom mode on steroids where you just suit up, show up and by-the-grace-of-God-alone hold it together for your child?
All of this was true for me on August 3, 2021 when my son, Finn, was diagnosed with COVID-19 and Type 1 Diabetes on the same day.
In a matter of minutes, we went from being at my pediatrician’s office for a COVID test and a weight check (more on that later) to being admitted to the ICU at MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.
In just one day — I went from thinking, “I wonder if we will be able to fly to LAX tomorrow” — to quite the other extreme of, “My son’s body doesn’t make insulin and if I don’t give it to him, he won’t live.”
To make a long story short – Finn was exposed to COVID-19 at church camp. COVID cases were popping up fast from the campers that went the week before. So much so they actually sent our group home a day early. He came home totally exhausted and with a sore throat, so Brian and I got him tested on Sunday just to make sure. As I said, we were supposed to fly to LA on Wednesday, so we needed to make sure Finn was okay and make sure we weren’t hopping on a plane with any COVID germs.
On Sunday, Finn tested negative for COVID-19.
The next day, he was in front of me in the hallway without a shirt on. He scratched his back and I noticed how thin and boney he looked. I asked him how much he weighed and he had no idea — so he hopped on a scale and I called the doctor to see how it compared to his last weight check. When the nurse told me what his weight was about a year prior and I realized it was 8lbs heavier than he was now — my momma instinct knew something was wrong.
For weeks leading up to this day — I’d asked Finn if he was drinking more water or going to the bathroom more frequently. When he reassured me he wasn’t and that he was drinking more because it was summer — I thought maybe I was just being paranoid. I knew the telltale signs of Type 1 Diabetes because my best friend’s son was diagnosed four years back and although I swore he was drinking more and peeing more, I backed off. But this weight thing? It raised some serious red flags.
The next morning I called the pediatrician and asked for a sick visit. At this point, COVID was still my biggest concern as he was still feeling sick — so I wanted to get a PCR test to find out if we had to cancel our travel plans and instead quarantine. I figured I would use the sick visit to talk about his weight loss too.
This is when everything changed.
When we got to our pediatrician, Finn gave a urine sample and got his finger pricked. Almost immediately after looking at the results, the nurse came out and said, “He probably has diabetes.”
It’s as if time stood still.
He looked terrified. I tried to act like I wasn’t. I kept hitting redial and texting Brian to “COME NOW!!!!!!!!” Our doctor walked in and told us that, likely, Finn has diabetes and was currently experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a serious life-threatening emergency. We also found out Finn tested positive for COVID-19.
We were immediately sent to the Children’s hospital and admitted to the ICU.
After staying in the hospital for 2.5 days before being discharged to our new normal — we’re home, fighting off COVID, and navigating life as a T1D family together.
August 3, 2021 will forever be marked in my memory as the day of Finn’s diagnosis — but it will also be marked as the day I was reminded of what matters most:
1. Community and family are everything. When I posted on Instagram asking for prayer, the response my family received was incredible. The prayers poured out, the texts came in. The love was overwhelming — but in the best way possible. And that was just the beginning.
The pastors of our church texted me and told me they were just driving circles around the hospital and covering us in prayer. Team Together Rising dedicated workout after workout to Finn, tagging #34 (his baseball number) and hosted a Zoom prayer night where everyone just prayed over us and the situation.
I’ve been through alot of hardship in life — really dark stuff — and didn’t have community. But this time? Having people rally around us, hold up our arms, and storm the gates of Heaven on our behalf has made all the difference. Your prayers and kind words carried us… and they continue to to this day.
Thank you doesn’t even begin to cover it.
And then there’s my family. Brian, Finn, Coco and me. There’s just something about this experience that’s created an insane bond for the four of us. We’ve always been a close knit family — but the depth of the connection we now share is something we would’ve never had if not for the road we’re just now beginning to walk together.
2. Stay in the present moment. When I think about the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to Type 1 Diabetes and neither does Finn — it’s suuuuper easy for me to get overwhelmed. What helps me not spiral into the doom and gloom of “what if” is to STAY IN THE PRESENT MOMENT.
I practice being present by doing simple things like sitting with Finn at breakfast… knowing he is happy and healthy and safe in that very moment. I don’t have to think of how I’ll handle whatever happens two days or two years later — I just need to be present and enjoy right where I am.
I can handle the present moment. But I can’t handle the swirling of what ifs.
It’s no different than the lessons I’ve learned from my 22 years in recovery. We just need to take it one day at a time, one hour, one minute at a time.
3. Be grateful — always. I’m not here to debate COVID-19 or convince you that it’s serious. But I do know this: I’m grateful for Finn’s COVID positive. In some weird and crazy way, it was totally a gift because, COVID is what got us in the doctor’s office probably weeks before Finn’s A1C numbers would’ve. And the truth is, had we waited long enough for those numbers to present themselves as undeniable symptoms, Finn would’ve been in a far scarier place by the time we saw a doctor.
God works through COVID. God works through everything.
And even though it is so insanely hard to watch your kids go through stuff like this and I wouldn’t wish it on ANYONE — I know that this is going to build Finn and bring about great character in him. I am who I am because of my fight with addiction — and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I know that one day soon, Finn will see this in the same light.
More than that and above all, I know that he is going to use it for God’s glory.
So August has been a total doozy for the Kucaba family — but we are looking ahead with hope and gratitude.
And once our quarantine is over? We are busting out of here to hug our people.