A Brave Girl Beating The Odds and Urging Others To Recognize Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms
June 2015, Father’s Day weekend. That’s when I first noticed something was seriously wrong. I watched my then 6 year old, chug bottle after bottle of water, pee 3 times an hour and beg for more to drink. She had been doing this for about a week. It’s summer, it’s hot, she’s just thirsty.
I noticed she had thinned down a bit when she came strutting in, in her new bathing suit saying how skinny was. She’s just growing, I told myself. Dark circles plagued her eyes. She’s been sleeping so much though. Her “diva” like ways had become not so cute anymore. She was just being plain mean these days. She had the sweetest smelling breath, too. She must be really brushing those teeth good!
I was able to explain away every sign, not knowing it could pertain to Type 1 Diabetes symptoms.
Fast forward to Father’s Day. We took my husband out to eat at our favorite hibachi restaurant where the serving size always required a left overs box. Not this time. Mady had polished off a man size plate and only had a bite of chicken, a pinch of noodles and a few veggies left. Odd. She’s a growing girl. I told myself this a thousand times.
Monday rolls around, Madysen was feeling ill. Complaining of her belly and head hurting and saying she couldn’t even walk. Okay, little diva. Whatever you say. I’ll just carry you to the bathroom, I guess. She was still using the bathroom regularly, so I kept giving her bottle after bottle of water and gatorade and told myself that it will pass soon.
Around 1am Tuesday morning, the vomiting started. Uh oh, she has indeed picked up a stomach bug. Dang it. Again a few hours later, I was taking her back to the bathroom, her vomit was bright pink this time. Hmm, Okay. Around 7am I noticed her breathing was rather labored. She was having an asthma attack. I ran and got her rescue inhaler. A few pumps and nothing. Crap. She (barely) sat up in bed, looked over at me as I was changing out of my pajamas and said, “Mommy, put some pants on. We need to go to the doctor. NOW.”
Except, I had trouble making out what she had actually just said. Her words were so mumbled and forced, I wasn’t sure what she had just said but I heard ‘doctor’ and ‘NOW’. That’s all I needed. I loaded her up in the car and rushed to the Emergency Room, which was only 5 minutes away.
Once we arrived, they triaged her and vitals looked good. I told them all her symptoms and they didn’t bat an eye. Just the flu, probably. Sweet Relief.
No one had the slightest idea that this could be Type 1 Diabetes symptoms.
They took us back to a room and told us the doctor would be in soon. Still, even though she could barely form a single word, she was still chugging that water. Within a few minutes of the nurse leaving us to wait, Madysen wasn’t breathing right again. Her eye was twitching and her hand squeezed the water bottle so tight, water went everywhere. I yelled for someone to help.
A nurse came in, and then doctor rushed in, took one look at her, laid her bed down, and then he called for a crash cart. Crash cart. I rolled it over in my head a few times. Crash cart. CRASH CART! Why a crash cart? Panic set in.
The realization of my deepest fear hit me like a ton of bricks. She had stopped breathing. I text my husband, who was home with our other two daughters. I told him to get here now. Seconds later, my daughters lifeless little body was being rushed across the hall to the trauma room. Nurses flying by me, rushing to help. No pulse. She’s not breathing. We need to intubate. Cut her clothes off. These words were flying through my brain and I stood there in shock.
My husband made it to my side and there I stood in total disbelief at what was happening. Watching every available nurse and doctor working feverishly to stabilize my baby. She still wasn’t breathing. The doctor came buzzing by me and I heard him call out, “Type 1 Diabetic, sugar 601. Get med flight here now.”
Type 1 Diabetic? It all made sense now. How did I miss that? How all of these Type 1 Diabetes symptoms could easily be misdiagnosed.
Her body was failing. After a few failed attempts at intubating, they finally got it. By then I was a crumbled, crying mess, sitting on the floor of the ER trauma room and my baby was in a coma, not breathing on her own.
Shortly thereafter, a helicopter landed to take us to Children’s hospital. Once we got to Children’s, which is 2 hours away from where we live, they ran multiple tests on her. Our family and close friends came, we prayed, we pleaded and begged, God just let us keep her. You name it, we said we would give it up, just don’t take her. Madysen remained on the ventilator, it was keeping her alive, breathing for her for many hours.
Finally, she started generating a few of her own breaths. She was fighting. My baby wasn’t giving up. She isn’t going down without a fight. We were standing over her, holding hands, praying to our Almighty, then, a miracle happened. She started fighting the breathing tube. One answered prayer. 15 minutes later, they came in and took the tube out. She was breathing on her own but she still wasn’t waking up.
We tried and tried for a response from her. Hours passed by, no change. We prayed over her again and asked for another miracle. Just wake up already, Mads, I kept saying over and over. I wanted nothing more than to see those big brown eyes.
A few minutes later, I bent down, I kissed her sweet little cheek, I told her how proud of her I was and how much I loved her. I promised her we would get through this. I laid my head down next to hers and she whispered a sweet mumbled, “love you.” I once again found myself a crumbled mess on the floor next to her bed, crying, thanking God for another answered prayer.
After the visitors left, we settled down to rest. My mind was racing. What will tomorrow bring? Will she be okay? She WILL wake up, she HAS to wake up. The doctor told us there weren’t any signs of brain damage. Everything looked good. But she still wasn’t awake. She was in a coma. Now we wait.
5am Wednesday morning, the sweetest sound I have EVER heard broke my drowsy state. “Mommy, why are you all the way over there?” My heart felt like it was going to explode. Tears filled my eyes. She’s awake, she’s talking, and she was seriously confused as to why she had tubes and wires coming and going from all over her body. My girl was going to be okay. I took my first real breath in what seemed like forever.
The next two days were filled with questions and carbs and formulas. How in the world will I ever remember all of this?
Life as we knew it had forever changed and became one big math test. I hated math.
It’s been 14 months since diagnosis and Madysen is thriving. She hasn’t let T1D slow her down. She has accepted that this is life. We are a T1D family. A family that wants others to be aware of Type 1 Diabetes symptoms, for it, could save lives.
June 23, 2015, Madysen was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
June 9, 2016, on her 7th birthday, Madysen was diagnosed with Epilepsy. She is an inspiration to everyone she meets, and has the best support team from our family, friends, and our community.
She is my hero. My fighter. My warrior. My brave, brave little girl.
Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms in Both Children & Adults:
- Frequent Urination
- Weight Loss
- Increased Thirst
- Fatigue and Weakness
- Blurred Vision
- Irritability and Mood Changes
Other Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms Resources: