The Mulvaines’ carefree, active lifestyle soon evolved into an intricately planned, timed schedule when their lives were overtaken by type 1 diabetes (T1D). Rachael was diagnosed with T1D 10 days after her eighth birthday in summer 2014.
“Summer, for our family, no longer means sleeping in or having a late dinner,” said Julia.
“Simple activities like going to the pool or packing for vacation now take extra thought and preparation, especially when having to check Rachael’s blood sugar roughly 30 times per day.”
For years, Rachael, now 9, demonstrated various, yet inconsistent T1D symptoms dating back to when she was 5 years old. “She would wake up from night terrors screaming in my bedroom with no recollection of why she was there or how she got there,” recalled her mother Julia. “Or she would have bladder control issues throughout the night.”
Said Julia, “It came to the point where Rachael was using the bathroom so much that we decided to take her to a new pediatrician, this time thinking it might be a urinary tract infection.”
The new doctor immediately recognized Rachael’s issues as part of a bigger problem and had her tested for T1D that day. Results indicated Rachael’s blood sugar as 238 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter, normal levels are less than 140) and ketones present, which are dangerous by-products of diabetes when there is a shortage of insulin in the blood. Additionally, her hemoglobin A1C was 10.8 percent (normal range is between 4-6 percent), leading everyone to believe she had unknowingly been dealing with T1D for a long time.
“When it comes to your children trust your intuition,” said Julia. “I wish I hadknown about the symptoms earlier so that I could have prevented possible lifelong damage for Rachael due to a late diagnosis.”
Although having to adjust to a new daily regimen, Rachael hasn’t stopped doing anything she used to before her T1D diagnosis. She is still very active in gymnastics and Girl Scouts and enjoys hanging out with her new friends she’s met through JDRF.
Julia first became involved with JDRF by joining its Coffee House Group. “What I’ve learned from JDRF and the friends I’ve made in the Coffee House Group has been life-changing. I don’t think we’d be as comfortable with treating Rachael’s T1D if it hadn’t been for the support, education and hope we’ve received throughout the past year,” she said.
Approximately 40,000 people per year are diagnosed with T1D in the United States and will require insulin injections or pumps for the rest of their lives. By 2050, 5 million people in the U.S. are expected to have T1D, including nearly 600,000 youth.
To raise funds for critical research to develop a cure for T1D, JDRF invites the Southeast Michigan community to join in us at the JDRF One Walk to help turn Type One into Type None.
This year the Mulvaines will be participating in their first JDRF One Walk in Metro Detroit since Rachael’s diagnosis as Team Rachael’s Funky Monkeys.