Trusting Intuition to Save Diego’s Life
Editor’s Note: Early warning signs of Type 1 diabetes include: excessive thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, and exhaustion. Seek immediate medical care if you or someone you love is experiencing these symptoms. Share this graphic to help raise awareness.
To learn more about the warning signs of Type 1 diabetes, DKA, and help spread the word to save lives, check out our DKA Campaign.
Diego was diagnosed on April 23, 2019 at almost two years old. But my son’s story, like many other children, was marked by misdiagnosis.
1 month prior to his diagnosis, I noticed that he was losing a lot of weight and was eating excessively, but I simply didn’t make the connection. I asked his day care if he was eating well and they said he was. Everything appeared to be normal and yet something seemed off. He was like this for an entire month and it kept getting worse as he started vomiting after eating, and urinating so frequently that I had to change his diaper every 15 minutes. He seemed very irritated, he would cry about everything, would tell me his head and his stomach hurt and his skin felt very dry. We then took him to his pediatrician who told us that it was the hot spring weather that was making him drink more water and causing the frequent urination.
As a mother, I knew something was wrong and I just wasn’t satisfied with that answer. I took him to a Social Security hospital where they told me it was probably a stomach infection, but I noticed Diego was getting worse every day. He had no energy, he had trouble breathing and nothing they prescribed him helped.
I took him to his pediatrician again and asked him to run some tests because we were a few days away from going on vacation to the beach and I was scared to take him in this state. Again, I knew something was wrong. They ran the tests and the pediatrician looked them over the day before we went on vacation; that was when he saw Diego’s blood glucose levels and told us to get him hospitalized immediately.
Since then, our life has been all about learning and getting reorganized as a family, and forming new habits. Diego is a very happy boy who loves cats, he likes to run a lot, and to have people read stories and sing songs to him. That is why the change in his mood struck us. He went from being very loving and cheerful to crying all the time and not wanting to play.
Diego is now three and a half years old. He went back to being a happy, restless, curious, smiling, talkative, sociable boy. He is no longer upset and irritable all the time. He looks healthy and has regained the lost weight.
Educating ourselves to face a challenge
As a reminder and recommendation for all parents: trust your intuition. If you notice suspicious or abnormal behavior in your children like vomiting, fatigue, excessive thirst, frequent urination or sudden weight loss, you should visit a specialist immediately and insist they run the pertinent tests to rule out diabetes or other conditions. Moms always notice when something is not right with our little ones.
As Diego’s mother, a child who now lives with Type 1 diabetes, I can tell you that at first, it was hard. I felt like the world was crumbling down, I was scared for Diego’s health and didn’t know if we’d be able to handle this challenge. But within a few months, I realized that the only thing we could do to cope was to educate ourselves. I learn a little more every day to make management easier and that has given me a sense of safety that I try to convey to Diego.
Day by day, I want him to know and see diabetes as something that can’t stop him, that it only involves having different care, but it is nothing more than that. Seeing Diego say “no, thanks” when someone offers him a lollipop gives me strength and courage; he is my greatest teacher.
A call to action
I would like to ask the general public to share, share, share the warning signs of Type 1. I mention this because a week after Diego was diagnosed, while looking for information on Type 1 diabetes, I found an article on Beyond Type 1 with a story of a girl whose diagnosis was very similar to Diego’s. If people share this information, regardless of whether or not they live with diabetes, we can surely reach more people and reduce the number of late diagnoses that risk children’s lives. If I had read that article 15 days before my son was diagnosed, he probably would not have entered the hospital in such a critical state.
Learn more about Beyond Type 1’s Warning Signs Awareness Campaign here.