It was a humid January day when Rebecca realized something wasn’t right with her ten-year-old daughter Amelia.
Since Christmas she seemed increasingly lethargic and was drinking a lot of water during the long hot days.
She had lost weight too, but Rebecca put it down to a growth spurt.
Amelia had been looking forward to a trip to the local theatre to see a friend perform. One of the other mums there was Rebecca’s friend and Leading Steps Paediatrician Dr Catherine Wilson.
Catherine and Rebecca watched as Amelia drained her drink bottle before the performance then finished all her friends’ drink bottles between visits to the toilet.
“At the end the friend invited Amelia onto the stage and under the harsh stage lights I was horrified to see she looked like a skeleton,” remembers Rebecca.
Catherine walked them straight over to Leading Steps Paediatric Clinic where a finger prick test showed worrying levels of sugar in Amelia’s blood.
By that afternoon they had their bags packed and were admitted to Pindara Children’s ward.
“At the time I was very focused on getting to hospital before things got any worse. We all had to come to terms with the fact that Amelia now had a lifelong serious disease.”
These days Amelia is the happy owner of a pump and at 12 years old is becoming an expert in managing her diabetes (with gentle but steady oversight from mum and dad).
Her memories from that summer were of an unquenchable thirst and constant trips to the bathroom.
If Rebecca thinks back on it the classic signs of Type 1 Diabetes started a few weeks before diagnosis.
“Amelia was drinking a lot, and getting up at night to go to the toilet. She has lost weight and was increasingly lethargic – warning signs I would now recognize.”
The day Amelia was diagnosed she was already quite ill, but it happened slowly so her parents didn’t notice straight away.
“Amelia was due at a friends house for a sleep over that night. I often wonder what would have happened if she had gone. Without the proper treatment diabetes can be life threatening. We’re thankful we didn’t wait a minute longer before getting to hospital.”
Amelia and Rebecca say they try not to let diabetes control their life.
“You can still do everything, it just takes a bit more planning,” says Rebecca.
"It’s an ongoing process. We try not to stress when things aren’t perfect. Our motto is ‘the numbers are there just to tell you what to do.”
Looking back now Rebecca is grateful for the simple finger prick test that meant Amelia went to hospital rather then becoming dangerously unwell.
“If parents notice any of the signs of type 1 in their child a simple finger prick test is what they need to insist on when they visit their doctor, it will either rule it out or get them into hospital sooner therefore avoiding severe and life threatening illness,” says Rebecca.