CELEBRATING STRENGTH: Alexis England is a bubbly full of life five-year-old. ALL PHOTO CREDIT: KC Boutique Photography
CELEBRATING STRENGTH: Alexis England is a bubbly full of life five-year-old. ALL PHOTO CREDIT: KC Boutique Photography

'I thought it was a tumour’: Youngster’s shock diagnosis

IF THERE'S one thing Warwick mum Krysta England wants people to learn this National Diabetes Week, it's that when you have a child with type 1 diabetes, there is no such thing as "under control".

Just a couple of months ago, her daughter Alexis was playing around like any other carefree five-year-old when her blood sugar levels rose so much she fell into a state of diabetic ketoacidosis.

The little girl's body became so acidic it started to shut down.

Alexis was rushed to the Toowoomba Hospital, where doctors discovered her ketones levels, meant to sit at -0.5, were 8.

Her family had no prior warning anything was wrong.

"It was really scary," Mrs England said, tearing up.

"I don't think people realise a diabetic can be fine one day and end up in hospital the next.

"Alexis could have a hypoglycaemic attack and go into a coma overnight without us even knowing."

 

Alexis England celebrated her first year after diagnosis in style in April.
Alexis England celebrated her first year after diagnosis in style in April.

For the England family, their diabetes journey began a year ago, just following their move to the area.

"I knew something was wrong, Alexis would be starving, eat, and then five minutes later was still sick. She was drinking 4.5L of water a day and went from 15 kgs in March to 10 kgs in April," Mrs England said.

"I thought she was depressed because of the move, I thought she had a tumour. I never thought it would be diabetes."

Type 1 diabetes affects more than 119,000 people in Australia alone.

The peak age of diagnosis is 10-14 years and there is no current cure.

For the mum, who was also busy with the arrival of Alexis' newborn sister Charlotte at the time, the diagnosis changed life overnight.

"I didn't get much sleep," she laughed.

"I became really good at maths and obsessed with numbers.

"I had to become a living pancreas. I watched her all the time to make sure her sugars weren't too low or high."

Now in school, Alexis' blood sugar levels were regulated with an insulin infusion pump 8-12 times a day and tracked by mum with an app.

 

FIGHT LIKE A GIRL: Alexis England show she won’t let diabetes stop her, shown her using the insulin pump.
FIGHT LIKE A GIRL: Alexis England show she won’t let diabetes stop her, shown her using the insulin pump.

 

Alexis is able to play and learn - and in most cases eat - like any of her classmates.

Mrs England wants Warwick to break down the stigma they may have of the condition.

"Look into symptoms and education - I know I had none prior to diagnosis - and don't judge," she said.

"I know we will go out for breakfast and Alexis will want a milkshake and we get odd looks when we get out the pumps, but she should be able to have a milkshake because she's five.

"She is already having to worry about stuff no one else needs to and taking it in her stride."

National Diabetes Week 2020 runs from July 12-18.

For more information, head to https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au



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