The Girl Who Battled Monsters
Disease. A monster that breaks down vital parts of your insides, or debilitates your outsides, while forever changing the landscape of your daily existence. It can be freedom lost, and it can be devastating. 🥊 Makes me want to get my fighting gloves out.
I would like to share an inspiring story about disease. It’s best to let Kathy tell the story – Kathy is a friend of mine whose daughter, Maura looked straight into the eyes of a scary monster named, Type 1 Diabetes (the monster coward). Maura is the reason we fight. She is the reason we raise funds and do the walks and buy tickets to kitchen tours. She and countless other monster fighters are the reason we support JDRF and the work they do to end the beast known as Type 1.
Here is her story:
Maura was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes shortly after her 7th birthday. It was Thanksgiving weekend and she was feeling and looking terrible. I took her to the pediatrician, they tested her for the flu and the test result was positive for flu A. We went home and treated her symptoms for the flu, but by the next day, she was looking and feeling much worse. We took her to the Urgent Care center where they ran a few tests and said she could have pneumonia and gave us a prescription for an antibiotic. So we went home, yet within an hour my “mom-gut” said to take her to the ER. I had never seen one of our kids look so sick.
We drove to St. Luke’s ER and the first thing they did was blood work. Within 30 minutes they told me that she had diabetes and that they needed to transport her to Mercy because they couldn’t treat her there. They took us there by ambulance and told us at Mercy that she was in Ketoacidosis (DKA). We spent three days in the hospital as they regulated her blood sugars and educated us on how to take care of her at home.
The Urgent Care doctor came to the hospital to see her and apologized for missing this diagnosis. He told Maura he would never miss this again. He said, looking back, she had all the signs of Ketoacidosis (DKA) but since she was sick with the flu, he attributed the symptoms to that. Maura still talks about how she probably has helped other kids being diagnosed because of the experience with that doctor. In retrospect, she had signs of diabetes for the past couple of months. She was coming home from school and drinking and eating a ton! I thought it was a growth spurt. But I did actually cut her off from drinking juice boxes because she would gulp three to four down after school. I didn’t realize she was using the bathroom a lot more. She was older and went to the bathroom on her own.
Being in the hospital was comforting. I knew she was being taken care of and she was starting to look and feel like her normal self. But by day three, they were ready to send us home. I couldn’t believe that Maura was going to have to get shots 4-5 times a day. But she was such a trooper and dealt so well with the shots and this new norm that was thrown on her. The long-lasting, Lantus, shot did sting more than the others and we had to come up with strategies to help with that one. We would sing “Let it Go”, loudly, as she was getting that one each night. The distraction helped. For the first year, her endocrinologist wanted her to stick with shots, rather than moving to a pod. She felt it was important for Maura and for us to understand the carb counting and math involved in figuring out the insulin amount, etc…
Maura was able to get a pump after the first year. It has been such a freedom for her. There are still the blood sugar checks and counting carbs but only putting a pod on every three days, rather than multiple shots a day has been awesome.
JDRF has been with us from the start. Someone from the JDRF foundation came to the hospital and brought Maura a backpack, teddy bear and a bunch of JDRF goodies. She was there to talk to me about the organization and ways they support families. We started walking in the JDRF walk that first year and continue to raise money and walk each year. The strides that are being made in finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes are in large part due to the funds raised by JDRF.
Maura says she wants to be a diabetic nurse when she grows up. But she is ready to choose a different profession if they find a cure!
For more information or to find a calendar of events that support the cure, visit the JDRF website