Crystal Cowart’s son, Jordan, was diagnosed with T1D three months ago at age 13. JDRF had the pleasure of hearing Crystal’s inspiring story about how her family, friends and community have come together to help their family after Jordan’s diagnosis.
What’s the story of how Jordan was diagnosed with T1D?
Jordan was 13 when he was diagnosed. Neither of his two biological siblings (sister Taylor, 11, and brother Jayden, 8) has T1D, and no one that we know has T1D. However, my husband TJ is adopted, so his history is unknown.
Jordan has big dreams of becoming an NFL football player, so he’s a super active football player. In October 2015, Jordan started losing weight drastically. He went from 126 pounds to a mere 97 pounds. He was constantly thirsty, losing weight and exhausted, but we didn’t think anything of it because he was having a growth spurt.
I will never forget the doctor’s phone call on a Sunday night. She said Jordan’s blood-sugar levels were 440 and that we needed to go to the ER the next morning. On February 22, 2016, Jordan was diagnosed with T1D.
It’s so scary to go for so long not knowing what is wrong. Once you finally got the diagnosis, how did you learn how to care for someone with T1D?
We knew absolutely nothing about T1D. We stayed and got education while at the University of Virginia for two days, but after that we were on our own. I actually talked to several other moms while in the hospital.
I posted Jordan’s diagnosis on Facebook and immediately got private messages from friends and people in my community that I could talk to. After that, I was introduced to a local support group called T1DE. A lady from this group, Carole, became my biggest supporter and ally. She lets me text and call anytime, even during the middle of the night. I was blown away by my community.
The T1D community is definitely a supportive and welcoming group. How has Jordan handled his new life with T1D?
I have never been more inspired by anyone in my life. Jordan was in immense pain for nine weeks and was diagnosed with T1D on top of this. He never gave up. He never stopped believing that he could do it. I only saw him break down twice! And that was simply just tears that needed to be cried. I am beyond proud of his attitude and even though his life immediately changed forever, he continued to believe in himself, his family and his faith. He is incredibly strong and brave and faces life’s battles with an incredible amount of passion.
Jordan wants to be in control of his diabetes—not let diabetes control him. He also believes that he will one day be in the NFL, and his ultimate goal would be to be a NFL Coach. After only a couple days of knowing he had T1D, he was posting pictures on Facebook, encouraging other kids with T1D.
Go Jordan! You two sound like a great team, tackling T1D together. Get it? Anyway, who has been your biggest supporter, Crystal, in taking care of a son with T1D?
My husband, TJ, my mom, my friend, Carole, and my amazing friends at my church have been my biggest supporters. My mom spent two weeks investigating everything she could about T1D and how to achieve normal blood-sugar levels. I have a pack of girlfriends at church who love me dearly and gave us meals, prayer and support. My husband travels a lot, but thankfully when he is in town he does all the night checks. Jordan and I would not have been able to get through the last several months without these people.
That’s incredible. How has JDRF been a resource for you since Jordan’s diagnosis?
We are very thankful for JDRF. We received the Bag of Hope in the hospital. The little bear, Rufus, is a neat idea, and Jordan has it on his bed. He also has been able to use the little book and bear to explain to little kids what is happening to his body on the inside. We hope that one day someone will be able to find a cure for T1D!
Be sure to thank your diabetes supporter on social media using the hashtag #MyGreatestSupporter! Join the conversation on TypeOneNation.org.