Caylee – Age 8
When looking back at the weekends prior to Caylee’s diagnosis, there were very few symptoms that would have helped her parents know that she had type 1 diabetes (T1D). Caylee was an extremely active child, participating in gymnastics, softball, and soccer. Right before her diagnosis, she was at an all-day sports camp, which her parents thought explained the exhaustion and increase in drinking water. However, that was not the case.
On the day of her diagnosis, Caylee and her brother, Braeden, were getting ready for Keva camp. Caylee kept telling her mom, Melissa, that she wasn’t very hungry. Immediately after saying so, Caylee began throwing up. She slept all day, only waking up briefly for a quick half sandwich and PowerAde for lunch.
Caylee was heading to her dad, Scott’s house that weekend so her mom went to go wake her up late in the afternoon. However, when Caylee’s mom went to wake her up, Caylee could barely stand up straight and struggled to get her shoes on. Caylee’s mom began calling the doctors to see what was wrong and on the third call, she was instructed to head straight to the Emergency Room.
When Caylee and her parents got to the hospital, Caylee had to be carried in. By the time they were escorted back to the room, she was completely out of it. Caylee had no idea where she was and just stared blankly back at the ER staff and her parents. After about an hour and a half of testing, the doctor came into the room and said to Caylee’s parents, “your daughter has type 1 diabetes.” Melissa started crying and left the room while Scott listened further to the doctor trying to understand what was happening. When Caylee was diagnosed, she was suffering from Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) and her blood sugar was 499. Caylee was diagnosed with T1D only four days before her 8th birthday. Her parents were horrified at the thought of Caylee spending her birthday in the hospital.
The family is coming up on their first “diaversary” and managing the disease has gotten a little easier. However, it is still a daily struggle with all of the supplies and bags that need to be packed every time they leave the house. During the first year of living with type 1 diabetes, there was so much to learn about the “fudgeable science” (dad’s new favorite word) and managing Caylee’s activities, meals, etc. Caylee has been able to remain active and play sports, but needs to check her levels often. She has been asked several times what the devices are on her body—she currently wears the OmniPod pump and a Dexcom G5 CGM. Sometimes she’s comfortable talking about her T1D, but other times she is embarrassed and gets very sad. For her parents, it’s heartbreaking to see their eight-year old have to deal with a disease like this, knowing that currently there is no way to make it go away.
Caylee and her family are very thankful for the American Family Children’s Hospital and the nurses that have helped them along the way. This disease may technically only affect one person, but no one goes through type 1 diabetes alone!
Caylee and her family will be participating in the 2018 JDRF One Walk in Madison on Sunday, September 23, 2018. If you want to support Caylee’s Crew, visit her Personal Page. Thank you to Caylee for sharing her story and setting a great example for the T1D community!
If you want to submit a story about your diabetes journey like Caylee, please contact Jen Allen!