Her child has type 1 diabetes. The signs were so subtle that she ignored them

Last spring, 2-year-old Laila Henchen held the water “squeaky,” recalls her mom, Ashley Henchen. At first, she wondered if it was the heat that made her daughter so thirsty.

“She was drinking about two cups of water at a time,” Henschen, 33, of Indianapolis, told TODAY.com. “Her diaper was constantly wet. We’d change her diaper. Then in 30 minutes, it’ll be soaked, so it needs to be changed. She was 22 months old at the time, so it’s very unusual for her to get soaked that quickly.”

Henschen was pretty sure something was off with her daughter’s thirst and urination, and changing her diaper was becoming stressful, so she decided to call the doctor. This led to Layla receiving a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes before she could get sicker.

When 2-year-old Laila Henshen started acting nervous, her parents wondered if it was just part of her behavior.

When 2-year-old Laila Henshen started acting nervous, her parents wondered if it was just part of her behavior.

“I just trusted my gut,” Henschen says. “Her blood sugar was around 500, while a normal blood sugar for someone her age should be between 80 and 100.” Drinking, soaking through diapers, eating more

Starting in May 2022, Henshen noticed that Laila was constantly drinking water. The temperatures were rising, so Henshen thought Lily was coping with the heat. Although Henshen was worried about Lily soaking all her diapers.

“I was thinking, ‘Do we need to measure in diapers?'” Do we need night diapers? ”

But then she noticed that her daughter was acting grumpy and often in the pantry eating snacks. However, it was difficult to understand whether these changes in behavior were a new developmental stage or a problem.

“We just kind of brushed it off. It’s growing,” Henshin recalls. “It seemed like every sign and symptom could easily be dismissed as something else.”

Laila’s parents initially attributed her attitude’s transformation to the “terrible couple”.

“She was so irritable. It was hard going to a restaurant at that time,” Henschen says. “We went on a trip, and she was really awful all the time. They warn you not to go out with your two-year-old to a restaurant and so on. So, she was It has all the signs, but because we didn’t know what to look for, (we lost it).”

After two weeks of Lily constantly soaking in her diapers such that every morning Henshin needed to change all of her bedding, Henshen had had enough and called his pediatrician.

“One of the nurse’s questions was, ‘Do you wake up wet every morning?'” And I said, ‘Yeah,’ Henshin said.

When the Henschen family learned that Lila, 2, had type 1 diabetes, they took a crash course on carbs and insulin so they could best care for the baby.  (Images courtesy of EmKay)

When the Henschen family learned that Lila, 2, had type 1 diabetes, they took a crash course on carbs and insulin so they could best care for the baby. (Images courtesy of EmKay)

The nurse told Henshen to bring Laila right away. After testing the urine, the doctors noticed Leila’s high blood sugar levels and diagnosed her with diabetes.

“It wasn’t just an idea in my mind,” Henschen says. “I was so confused. They said (her blood sugar is) so high, you have to rush to Riley Hospital (a children’s hospital) now, and they talked about her being (inside) the pediatric intensive care unit, and that was an overwhelming experience. … It was It’s very shocking.”

When Lila arrived at the hospital, the doctors ran more tests and discovered she had diabetic ketoacidosis, which occurs when a person does not have enough insulin to convert sugar into energy. Instead, the liver uses fat as fuel, causing a buildup of ketones, which can be dangerous at high levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Henschen took her daughter to the doctor just in time.

They were like, ‘How did you pick this up? When we see patients come in with this spike in blood sugar, it usually gets to the point where they go into a diabetic coma.” They said it was diabetes. … I knew type 1 was worse, and when they said type 1, it was the most exciting thing to shock.”

Type 1 diabetes

“Type 1 diabetes is insulin deficiency diabetes, and the most common cause of type 1 diabetes is autoimmunity,” says Dr. Tamara Hannon, director of the Pediatric Diabetes Program at Riley Children’s Hospital, who did not treat Lila. com. “Over time, the autoimmune reaction destroys the pancreatic beta cells so that the body cannot produce enough insulin to support its needs.”

Almost immediately after Leila Henshen began treatment for her type 1 diabetes, her mood and energy improved, and she was rushing about all over her hospital room.  (Courtesy of Ashley Henchen)

Almost immediately after Leila Henshen began treatment for her type 1 diabetes, her mood and energy improved, and she was rushing about all over her hospital room. (Courtesy of Ashley Henchen)

Signs of type 1 diabetes include:

“Parents notice that their child may use the bathroom more than usual, urinate more than usual, and drink more than usual,” says Hannon. “It means eating a lot. Not taking insulin is like starving.”

Insulin is a hormone that helps the body take energy from sugar in the cells. But without it, sugar and fat are not properly stored and converted into energy. This means that even when people eat more, they don’t gain weight.

“Unexpected weight loss is another symptom,” says Hannon. “If diabetes gets severe before these symptoms are detected, the person could be very ill. They could have abdominal pain. They could feel sick.”

When parents notice these symptoms, they should call their pediatrician to set up an appointment, she says. “A simple blood test can diagnose diabetes,” she adds.

While Ashley Henshin was intimidated and confused when she first learned of Lila's diagnosis, she now feels well-informed on how to help her toddler manage her type 1 diabetes.  (Courtesy of Ashley Henchen)

While Ashley Henshin was intimidated and confused when she first learned of Lila’s diagnosis, she now feels well-informed on how to help her toddler manage her type 1 diabetes. (Courtesy of Ashley Henchen)

People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin throughout their lives. They cannot rely on medications that can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.

“If you’re not making insulin, you need to replace the insulin,” she says. “Insulin is absolutely essential in type 1 diabetes.”

Lily lives with type 1 diabetes

Laila stayed in the hospital for two days after her diagnosis. While there, Henshin and her husband learned how to care for a child with type 1 diabetes.

“It was really hard to accept that, and you want to be sad, but you have to accept it first, and there are so many feelings,” she says. “I had to put my feelings aside and learn how to take care of my child. This is the only option I have.”

Almost immediately, the family notices a change in Layla’s mood.

“She’s much happier now. We know she wasn’t feeling well, and her attitude changed when we were in the hospital.” “She was running around the room.”

To keep Leila Henshen involved in receiving her insulin injections, her parents gave her five injections after each injection.  (Courtesy of Ashley Henchen)

To keep Leila Henshen involved in receiving her insulin injections, her parents gave her five injections after each injection. (Courtesy of Ashley Henchen)

There was a bit of a learning curve. Lily used to eat a snack when she was hungry, but now Henshen needs to read the labels to see how many carbs are in them and whether Lily might need an insulin shot to enjoy the food. They try to associate insulin with something fun.

“We give it five times after we inject it,” Henschen says. “It’s crazy to see a two-year-old with such strength and courage.”

Laila wears a blood glucose monitor on her arm, which delivers instant blood sugar readings to her parents’ phones.

“We don’t have to check her sugar with a finger poke before meals, which is nice. But it’s hard because she also doesn’t understand,” Henschen says. “Distracting her or let’s do the Big Five, that really helps.”

After her daughter’s diagnosis, Henschen worried that Lila could only eat sweets without sugar, but she learned that this was “kind of a stereotype”.

“It may require more insulin,” she says. “We’re not trying to stop her from anything, and even when she’s older, I don’t want her to feel left out or like she can’t have what her friends are going through.”

While having a baby with type 1 diabetes requires a little more planning, life hasn’t changed dramatically. Henschen hopes that when others hear about their story, they will seek help if they notice something is wrong with their child.

“Trust your mother if you think something is wrong,” she says. “The worst thing a doctor can say is, ‘No, she’s fine.'” ”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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