Let me apologize in advance. I try to keep this column lighthearted, but this has a hold on my heart and won’t let it go. I’d like to tell you about a little girl named Kycie. Kycie was a beautiful, active 5-year-old until undiagnosed type 1 diabetes stole that. Here’s her story according to the Kisses for Kycie Facebook page:
“On January 25th, 2015, sweet Kycie started complaining of a headache. On Monday she said her tummy hurt and a little later she threw up. Her mom and dad figured she was coming down with the flu. She slept all day Monday. She was giving her sprite and water to help her tummy. She did not want any food. Tuesday there was no change, and her brothers started to complain of stomach aches and sore throats. Jamie took Daxton and Kycie to the doctor on Wednesday. They were given antibiotics for strep throat. By Thursday night, she was worse. On Friday they went to the doctor and went to the ER at 1:00pm. By 5:00pm she was life flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital with blood sugar of 1148. Her parents had no idea that sweet little Kycie had type 1 diabetes – TD1!
Enroute to the hospital she had a seizure and another one right when they got to the hospital. She has been unresponsive ever since. At this point her blood sugars are under control. After reviewing her MRI the doctors said that she has extensive damage to the brain. The brain had herniated into the brain stem. They said if she survives to prepare themselves for her to be severely handicapped. They will do another MRI on Tuesday and at that point with decide if they should consider taking her off the breathing machines…”
They didn’t take her off the breathing machines. She began therapy. She was working hard to learn to walk and talk again, but on July 11, this sweet little girl passed away. It’s unbelievable to think that just six months ago she was your typical 5-year-old. As the mother of a 6-year-old daughter, my heart is just broken for this family!
Unfortunately, there are many cases were type 1 diabetes goes undiagnosed. While most don’t end up this severe, they can end with horrible results. The real kicker is that this is unnecessary. With type 1 on the rise, I would love to see blood sugar checks become part of the well checks that children undergo on a routine basis. Many parents can tell you what percentile their children are in for height and weight, but can they tell you what their last glucose level was? No, because until their child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and their world is turned upside down, most of them have never even heard the words “glucose level.”
I’m really hoping this test gets added to the routine checks, but until then (and actually even after then) you must know the signs of type 1 diabetes and fight for your children (Even if the doctor thinks you’re crazy). Keep in mind that not all children show these symptoms and many times only one or two are shown (same goes for adults), but trust your gut! Symptoms include: increased thirst, frequent urination, bedwetting in children who previously didn’t wet the bed, extreme hunger, weight loss, irritability and mood swings, fatigue and weakness, blurred vision, and a sweet smell on the breath (like syrup). If you notice any of these symptoms, go to the doctor. Tell them your thoughts and ask for a glucose test. The quicker this can be treated, the better.
In memory of Kycie and in honor of her family, let’s learn a lesson from this devastation and prevent another one.