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

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.

Picking out the perfect prom dress, matching shoes, nails done perfectly; graduation announcements, senior pictures, planning a graduation party – all of those things seemed so important.

My daughter, Lilly, now 18, has been healthy her whole life. She was a little overweight, but other than that completely healthy.

It All Started with a Toothache

Lilly had a toothache, so we went to the dentist. She had an abscessed tooth and was put on amoxicillin for 10 days. By day three, she developed a yeast infection. All of this I marked up to being normal. I took her to the doctor, and she was given a pill for the yeast infection. Two days later, she broke out in huge boils – one under her armpit and the others on her inner thighs. They were painful and quickly became infected, so we went back to the doctor where she was treated for MRSA with a prednisone and antibiotic shot and given oral antibiotics.

The following day the boils burst and started draining, which is what they were supposed to do, but she felt nauseous and sick, so I took her to the ER. At the ER that day, they looked at the boils and said to follow the doctor’s orders and take the antibiotics given from his office the day before. They said I needed to give the meds seven to eight days to start working. The next day was her high school graduation.

She was tired and saying the boils hurt, but she went through the ceremony. Everyone said she looked like she didn't feel well. She was so tired that we went home, canceled her graduation party and she slept. The next morning – June 1, 2014 – she woke up and she didn't know who or where she was. She was breathing uncontrollably hard like she was in labor. Then she started talking gibberish that made no sense. I called 911, and they took her the hour trip to the hospital.

Learning About DKA in the Worst Way

The doctors came in, checked Lilly out and told me she was in severe DKA. I’d never even heard of it. What was he saying? He explained to me it was diabetic ketoacidosis, and I thought: But she's not diabetic. She's never even had a high blood sugar. Her labs four months ago were completely normal. Her sugar was 635.

Her breathing slowed, and the staff moved faster and started to intubate her. I was horrified as they put her to sleep and started putting tubes into her mouth. The doctor told me she was going to be admitted into ICU, that she was very sick and the next few hours would be critical. The words echoed in my head and heart.

I sat in the hallway and cried with my oldest daughter until they moved her to the ICU room. It was terrifying waiting to hear something. When I was permitted to go back into the room with her I sat and cried, praying that God would bring her back to me.

Click here to read Part II.

Photo: Pexels

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