Julia: Nothing Stops Her

tennager with diabetes

This is Julia, my awesome, incredible, beautiful, athletic, caring daughter who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on 12.2.13. She had a heart ablation done in August of that year and doctors believe that may have triggered something in her autoimmune system to cause this. In September, she was showing signs (but we didn't know it at the time, we attributed all the symptoms to puberty)--lethargic, moody, eating constantly. We thought we had it figured out because she then got her period. She was 12 and we were relieved that it must have been causing all these changes in her. Well, another couple of weeks later she was sick and we thought she had strep throat. Went to the doctor and they said no strep, just a virus. Couldn't even give antibiotics, just had to ride it out. She wasn't getting better and 10 days after the doc appt, she said to me "Mom, is it possible to lose 11 pounds in 10 days?"  I jokingly said "if it was, don't you think I would be on that diet?!"  She said she remembered what she weighed at the doc office and our scale said she is 11 lbs lighter now. I said our scale must be off. Then I looked at her and noticed she did look skinnier than normal. And pale. We went to the grocery store and she sat down in the middle of the aisle because she was "too tired to walk". This was not my normally very athletic kid. She was taking 4 dance classes and volleyball on top of her normal every day activities. I looked up her symptoms on Web MD and narrowed it down to 2 diagnosis:  Type one diabetes or heart immune disorder. I immediately ruled out Type one diabetes because I figured it didn't run in our families and thought you had to be overweight to have diabetes. I figured it was the heart disorder because of her ablation in August. I was upset that the ablation obviously didn't work and we had to do something more. I called my personal doctor and asked his opinion. He said, "Have the pediatrician test for type one diabetes immediately". "What??  But it doesn't run in our family and she's grossly underweight now". He said "doesn't matter. Do it, and get in there ASAP". He saved my daughter's life. When we got squeezed in that morning, her blood sugar was 930. Some people are in a coma at that level. She was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. We were stricken with fear and both hysterically started crying. The doctor had us go to the ER at the Children's Hospital where we had the heart ablation. I gathered the family and packed an overnight bag. They took us right away and we spent 3 days getting a crash course in diabetes care. Overwhelming to say the least. But, 2 years later, I have to say she handles it like a pro. She's amazing. Nothing stops her. She plays volleyball, softball, dances, loves to swim in the ocean, is on the high honor roll and basically leads a normal life. We pray for a cure everyday. Julia jokes that she will marry whoever comes up with a cure. We pray. Every day 💙