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Mothers Day but also a very special day for our daughter.
When your 7 year old gets type 1 diabetes...
We were living in Christchurch when Payton was diagnosed. She was a normal seven-year-old, who enjoyed dancing, playdates with her friends, loads of giggling, and life was great! But one day Payton came home from school feeling really sick. She vomited all night but we put that down to the tummy bug that had been doing the rounds at school.
The next day she started to breathe heavily and I googled it (bad idea) and Dr Google said that you can experience this with a gastro bug. We didn’t take her to the doctor (another bad idea). About 10pm that night, she woke up with an extreme pain just below her ribs. I phoned Healthline and they told us to go straight to a hospital.
We woke up Payton’s older brother Brody, nine, and off we went. The Christchurch Hospital waiting room was full but the triage nurse took one look at Payton and we had a bed (and a diagnosis) within 10 minutes. She was presenting with all the symptoms of severe DKA – diabetic ketoacidosis – and we ended up being in hospital for about a week.
I remember a lovely nurse, I don’t know her name but will remember her face forever. She said to us, as we sat there wide-eyed and in disbelief: “This is shocking now but Payton will still do everything she was always going to do – this won’t stop her from doing anything.” And she was right.
But back then we were still in shock. We never considered diabetes as an explanation for the symptoms Payton had been experiencing before our emergency dash to the hospital. She was drinking a lot of water – but it had been quite hot. She had lost a lot of weight – but she had also just had a big growth spurt.
Luckily we had a wonderful team in Christchurch to educate us about how to care for a child with type 1 diabetes. They were patient, kind and very caring towards our little family and helped us come to terms with our “new normal”.
Four years on and we are pretty onto it. We’ve moved back to Auckland to be closer to our family and life is still great. We are carb-counting machines! Payton has four insulin injections a day, two in the morning and two at night. We have a fabulous, resilient, brave and happy 11-year-old girl who happens to have type 1 diabetes. It doesn’t define who she is, it is just a part of who she is.
Payton now has a pump and a CGM which gives her so much flexibility and we have found it has stabilised her blood sugars immensely.