Our daughter Hailey passed away less than 24 hours after being diagnosed with Type One Diabetes, while traveling overseas on a family vacation. In her case, she wasn’t misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. She was diagnosed too late…
Because none of us knew.
We didn’t know that her increased thirst just a couple weeks before our trip, was one of the most common signs of this disease. She had just joined a running club at school & we thought that was the reason she was drinking more water.
We didn’t know that weight loss was another symptom. We thought the running at school & the exercising at home was the cause for her looking slimmer. We didn’t worry because Hailey was always slim & in the recent months she had a few growth spurts. We knew she was growing up to be tall, just like her Daddy.
We had no idea….that instead our baby girl’s body was being consumed by this monster of a disease called Type One Diabetes.
We knew of the diabetes that everyone else knows about; Type 2. But we would of never thought. After all, Type 2 is always related to being overweight & Hailey was always the slimmest of her sisters.
We didn’t know that the plane ride & trip would make her sicker. We didn’t know that by the time we landed in La Paz, Bolivia- a city over 11,000 feet; she was already showing symptoms of DKA- diabetic ketoacidosis.
We thought it was altitude sickness, which is very common in La Paz. We were aware of that going in. When she vomited once & complained of a tummy & a headache– we told her that it was going to be ok; that she’d be better in a couple of days, once her body adjusted to the altitude.
But she never adjusted….
Our precious, beautiful, innocent baby girl was in a coma just two days after. Then she passed away from complications of DKA & cerebral edema on the third day of our trip.
Just like that, she was gone.
No parent or other human being should ever have to endure this kind of pain.
No one should ever have to live through this kind of nightmare. No one should live with: If only we knew, if only we could turn back time, if only we hadn’t travelled, what if, why, why, why?
I don’t wish it on my worst enemy, which can now only be this disease that took our baby girl. In learning more about it, we have learned one harsh fact. That is:
Even knowing what we know now, we might of lost her anyway.
Why? Because there have been & still are children & adults being either misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. Even here, in the U.S.A.
Symptoms are being mistaken for other illness; such as the flu…
Children are dying. Other beautiful children have lost their precious lives after Hailey, because of this terrible disease.
I know this because I’ve met & talked to their parents in person & online. This is not made-up. This is real & it keeps happening & it’s heartbreaking each time.
How many more lives will it take?
I lived with guilt many months after losing our baby girl.
I thought how could I have not known? How could I have missed this? Why didn’t I pay better attention?
It’s taken my angel, my other two beautiful daughters, my husband, my family, friends & a higher power to show me that I shouldn’t blame myself. That in fact, there is no one person or thing to blame. Not God, not myself, or doctors, or the world…
The hardest lesson to learn was; we really don’t know what could of happened if it had played out any other way & we can’t change what happened.
We can’t change it for us, but maybe we can change it for someone else.
Maybe we can become a voice for Hailey & in her memory, tell others about Type One Diabetes. We can tell parents, teachers, nurses, doctors, & children themselves…everyone.
We can tell them that this deadly disease exists & it is on the rise & that it should not be overlooked! Not by anyone.
So please share. Please educate. Please test. Don’t overlook T1D.
In memory of Hailey & all others who lost their lives to this disease.
Don’t let it be too late for you or anyone. Don’t guess.
Because…it’s better to know than not to know.