My Mother Saved My Life


It was Friday October 28, 2016 and I had just finished a full week of work. I had a three-day weekend to look forward to because I had taken Monday off which was my birthday (Halloween). I was feeling sick that whole week but had been trying to push through because I wanted to have a fun birthday weekend. I decided to treat myself to some retail therapy and headed for the local mall. Walking around the mall I felt foggy and very thirsty. I went to a convenient store and bought a Snapple (looking back this was a horrible decision) and kept walking around. I went to Gap and bought something for my sister for Christmas and then went to Old Navy and bought an outfit to wear when I met my boyfriend’s parents. Along with my birthday plans, I had also had plans to meet for them for the first time. Afterward, I got in my car and still had this foggy feeling. Something just wasn’t right; I had this sinking feeling. Still I was determined to make it home.


Thankfully I made it home but could not muster the strength to park my car in my driveway. I called my mother up and said that I needed her help. She was out but I waited parked in front of my neighbor’s driveway until she came home and parked my car for me. Once inside, I immediately felt sick to my stomach and went upstairs and puked. My mother came upstairs and said, “I don’t think you’ll make it out tonight; you should cancel your plans.” I knew she was right, so I texted my two friends and told them that I wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t make it out that night. The rest of the night I couldn’t eat anything and just kept drinking liquids. I woke up several times that night puking and peeing. It was an endless cycle that I thought would never stop.


The following day I was worse and couldn’t keep anything down; even my god mother came over with homemade chicken soup and soda for me. I tried eating the broth and couldn’t keep that down either. That night I slept downstairs because the bathroom was closer. I woke up often and it was the same cycle puking and peeing. At one point, I even slept in the bathroom because I wasn’t making it to the toilet.


It’s now Sunday morning October 30 and my mom comes down around 8:30 a.m. and sees what a hot mess I am on the couch. Something in her motherly instincts made her go upstairs to get our scale and told me to get onto it. The number is something I will never forget. Normally I’m around 110 pounds but the number on the scale that day said 89 pounds. My mom immediately said, “Get your things we are going to the ER.”


My time spent in the ER is a blur. Once I was in a bed they did an EKG of my heart. They did some blood work and came back and told us it was diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). My blood sugar was 649. It didn’t register in my mind what was happening. My gut reaction? I puked my brains out. I waited three hours until they have found me a bed in an ICU at another hospital. I was hooked up to an IV and transported in an ambulance.


The next few hours were spend getting settled into the ICU and letting family and friends know what was happening. Everyone was terrified. The nurses would come in every hour and prick my finger. I was also getting blood work done every three hours. By the end of the night I realized something. I was going to be spending my 27th birthday in the hospital. That first night in the ICU was horrible. Getting woken up every hour to have my finger pricked and also getting blood work done. I did not sleep well, that’s for sure. The following morning, October 31, we got the grim diagnosis: I had Type 1 diabetes. This began the long process of learning how to count carbs, learning about protein, insulin doses, pricking my finger and the dreaded needle injection. Not how I had imagined spending my birthday.


It’s been long and hard seven months since my diagnosis. Tears have been shed but there has also been joy too. As Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday, I can’t help but think back to that dreadful day. Had my mother not done what she did, I would not be alive today. I will forever be grateful for her and what she did. I often hear in the news stories about young people who passed away from how they describe it: “complications from diabetes.” It sends chills down my spine thinking, “that could have been me.” No matter how many gifts I give my mother, I will never be able to repay her for saving my life. Happy Mother’s Day to my amazing mother Cynthia. I love you!

Read other stories by mothers and for mothers.

WRITTEN BY Suzannah Spinks, POSTED 05/10/17, UPDATED 12/09/17

Suzie lives in Cambridge, MA. I'm 27 years old and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on my 27th birthday, which fell on Halloween October 31 (oh, the irony!).