Written by: Cari Nudera
Tessa is our second child; she and her older brother are almost 17 months apart. From the day she was born, she was our easier child, she fell into her brother’s routine, she ate well, slept well, and was overall a super happy, healthy baby.
A few weeks before Tessa turned 15 months old, we started to notice that she was drinking a lot of water and she was soaking through her diapers regularly overnight. I googled the signs and though it did say that these were signs of diabetes, she was happy and active and keeping up with her older brother, so we dismissed it. At her 15 month well child visit (November 2019), she had lost 2 pounds in the past 3 months, I mentioned this to her pediatrician as well as the drinking and urination, she agreed to test her blood but did not think that it was a big cause for concern. We both just thought it was more than likely because she was growing and had started walking and moving more. A blood test came back with blood glucose levels over 400. We were told to take her to the Emergency Room and to prepare to stay in the hospital. We took her to the emergency room where they started her on fluids and insulin. They then told us we would be better served at a larger hospital. So, we were transferred to Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. There we spent 24 hours in the PICU treating DKA, and then another day and half learning what the new normal in our life would be. Tessa’s grandparents came to learn as well, we are so lucky for the support of our family and friends. It was at the hospital that we received our JDRF backpack! We kept all the information together to allow our family and friends to read and learn along with us. Tessa was a little young for Rufus, but it did help us to explain to her older brother what was going on with his sister.
Since Tessa was diagnosed, we decided that our mission would be to raise money and awareness for T1D. We want to play an active part in working towards a cure. We were lucky that we were released from the hospital with the Dexcom CGM, which helped reduce the number of finger pricks, however, seeing that foreign device attached to our baby’s skin just broke my heart. The pump in addition to the CGM has really helped us to lower her A1c and keep her steadier, but it is hard seeing these things attached to your child. Despite that, we are so thankful for the technology that makes it easier to treat this disease. Tess is 2 years old now and every time we must do a site change or a finger prick, she gets anxious, upset, she cries, and it hurts us every time.
Our goal is for our daughter to lead as normal of a life as possible, with minimal disruptions from diabetes.
The information that we receive through emails from JDRF gives us hope. For right now, we can take care of our daughter, but when she gets to be a little more independent, we hope that there will be more advancements made in her treatment and she can just be a kid. Our biggest hope is that someday there will be a cure. Which is why we have felt that it is so important to raise money for research.
We read about the Walk being one of the larger fundraisers, so we were gearing up to have a pretty large team, make T-shirts, and celebrate with all who have come to support us. Then COVID happened. We had a long talk and were worried to ask people to donate money when so many are having a hard time. Ultimately, we decided that the research was important, and we still had to raise money, and whatever we raise is better than nothing. So, we signed up, sent a few emails and posted on social media and with the help of our family and friends we smashed our goal!
We plan to continue to raise money for the remainder of the campaign and we are so looking forward to next year, when we can do what we set out to do. We want to keep raising money in honor of our little warrior Tessa, who is still one of the funniest, spunkiest, energetic, and loving little girls you could ever meet! We will not stop until we can end this for her and all the other kids fighting this battle.
To learn more and support Team Tessa, click here.