Graduating from High School with Undiagnosed Diabetes: A Mother and Daughter Share Their Story, Part II

This two-part article was written by Angela Meeks, the mother of 18-year-old Lilly, who was recently (and unexpectedly) diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Click here to read Part I.

The doctors explained that when your body stops making insulin it uses your fat cells to try to break down the sugar in your blood, but that causes acids and poisons to be released into your body. Lilly’s body had a lot of poison in it. The doctors told me that, according to the abnormalities of her blood, she shouldn't be here, and her breathing hard was her body trying to correct itself, but her lungs were giving up, and that's why they had to intubate her.

They had IV’s going into her; three pumps were hooked up with four bags of fluids and meds on each pump. They checked her blood every hour to see if it was improving. They ended up putting a central line in her chest because her veins kept giving out. Slowly the numbers started improving.

Transferring, Stabilizing and Reflecting

By day three, the doctors told me she was stable enough to move to a different hospital – one with more capable of handling her situation. They wanted to Life Flight her there, but there was a storm settling in, so they opted for the ambulance crew to take her. We followed her to the bigger hospital, where she was again admitted into ICU.

It was a huge turnaround. Her blood levels started leveling out, and within 24 hours she was awake. They took her off the vent, and she was talking to me. She was kept in ICU three more days to monitor her blood. On the sixth day, she was moved to a room on the floor – one of the happiest moves of my life.

As I talked with the doctors, I realized that she'd been getting sick for a few months. But everything she complained of, there was another reason for it. Her head hurt and eyes were blurry. I assumed she had a migraine headache. She was tired and thirsty. She was a teenager. And it's been hot. All of these were signs of diabetic issues. I just failed to see them as such because she had never had a problem before. I beat myself up for her being so sick because I didn't pay attention. I almost lost her. I asked myself over and over: Why didn't I see this happening? Three doctor visits, a dental visit, and an ER visit. No one caught it. No one suspected it was her sugar.

If our story can make one person pay that extra attention and keep this from happening, I will be satisfied. Today, three weeks later, Lilly is almost back into her grove. She doesn't remember much about her graduation day, but she is preparing to go to college this fall. She has been doing great monitoring her blood sugar and giving herself insulin. I'm very proud of her for not letting this beat her out of her dreams. She is always looking for advice and wisdom on being a type 1 diabetic, so any information is appreciated.

A Few Words from Lilly

Being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes meant that I had some things that I would have to change: the way I ate, what I drank, and become more active. At first, I was scared to death because I didn't know what was going on or what a diabetic even was or what could happen. I have learned to check my sugar and give myself my insulin shots. I read every day about being a diabetic and what it means. I know I still have a lot to learn.

I am starting to feel like myself again, but eating healthier. One thing, I'm not going to let diabetes bring me down. I'm going to stay strong and live life to the fullest.

Photo: Pexels

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