In honor of national diabetes awareness month in November, we are recognizing Sadie Edwards. Happy birthday, Sadie!
For this 12-year-old Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent patient who celebrates her birthday on Nov. 20, the past year and a half has been a whirlwind.
Sadie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in March 2017. Spring was beginning to approach, and her mother Kristen decided to get some of Sadie’s summer clothes out of storage. As Sadie was trying on clothes that should have fit, many were loose fitting. An experienced nursing professional for several years, Kristen decided to weigh her daughter and noticed that she also had lost about 10 pounds. Other warning signs such as Sadie drinking liquids more often prompted Kristen to schedule an appointment with her pediatrician.
While at her doctor’s appointment, Sadie’s blood sugar levels were so high, mom immediately had to take her to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital to be admitted. Thankfully, she decided to drive her to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent for care.
“From the beginning, our experience [at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital], was phenomenal,” said Kristen.
Kristen credits Andrew C. Riggs, MD, pediatric endocrinology, and the pediatric inpatient department staff for making a positive first impression on Sadie during her quick transition into life as a diabetic.
On the day Sadie arrived at the hospital, her focus was on the next day’s school field trip. When she knew she would have to go to the hospital, her thoughts quickly shifted to not being able to go on her fourth-grade field trip to an NFL combine fan experience, a trip she had been excited about for weeks.
In her mind, Sadie was determined to go on her field trip and not even diabetes was going to be a hindrance.
Enter Dr. Riggs and the entire clinical team at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital who worked fast and tirelessly to stabilize Sadie’s blood sugar levels, explain to her what was happening, provide compassionate and personalized care and educate her parents. It was a very sensitive matter and daunting experience for a 10-year-old.
Thanks to the hardworking team of professionals, Sadie was discharged and stabilized by that evening, which meant she was cleared to go on her field trip.
“She has a totally different outlook on diabetes,” thanks in part to the experience she had while in the hospital, said mom Kristen. “She was able to go on her field trip, and she had the best day. That all happened because of the team at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital.”
And Sadie’s care didn’t stop outside the hospital. Sadie now has regular visits with her endocrinologist Dr. Riggs, and he and his team have gone above and beyond.
According to Kristen, they worked tirelessly during the summer to get Sadie approved for an insulin pump for use to help her decrease the number of visits to the school nurse throughout the day.
“The pump has completely changed our lives and provided Sadie with more freedom,” said Kristen. Sadie is now able to play at friend’s houses, attend sleepovers and birthday parties, and live a healthy and productive life.
“Kids with diabetes don’t want to be different. Sadie loves school and hates missing class.”
Nowadays and as she prepares for the holiday season, Sadie is enjoying life as a pre-teen. And living diabetes comes one day at a time.
Helpful tips for parents, as shared by Allison Dant, RN, and Benjamin Commons, MSN, CDE, FNP-BC, of Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital.
How can parents identify the signs, just as Kristen did with Sadie?
Beyond those three classic “poly” symptoms, we will often see significant unintentional weight loss because the body is unable to use and store carbohydrates and is also losing a lot of water to make urine, trying to remove the excessive sugar from the bloodstream. If you have concerns that your child has these signs and symptoms, it is important to follow up with your primary care provider.
How can parents be better advocates for their kids?
Know the symptoms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes can often look like the flu when first being diagnosed. If your child has flu-like symptoms (nausea, vomiting, fatigue, etc.), especially in the presence of increased thirst, urination, hunger and unexpected weight loss, be sure to take your child to your primary care provider or urgent care right away. They should check to see your child’s blood sugar and/or see if there is sugar or ketones present in the urine.
In type 2 diabetes, diet, exercise, and weight management are important controllable-aspects of preventing diabetes. Kids often need help making wise food choices from their parents and will naturally prefer foods that contain a lot of sugar, saturated fats, and overall high calories. Parents also need to set good examples themselves for their kids to follow when it comes to being active and eating healthy!
Anything else you care to share?
Diabetes is a common disease and most people reading this probably know someone who has been affected by diabetes. Diabetes can cause many complications if not managed; however, the vast majority of these complications can be prevented if the condition is detected early and managed appropriately. And that’s our goal: to keep diabetes from affecting a child’s long-term health. We also want everyone to know that kids with diabetes can still achieve whatever goals they set their minds to and they absolutely do not have to be limited by the disease.