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Ariah's Story

Enter - #TeamAriah to support the Ahrendt Family

Ariah Ahrendt - Type 1 Diabetes

"Something just isnt right" These were the words I kept repeating in my head over and over. My daughter Ariah was 3 years old and had started kindy 4 days a week as I had just started a new career in Real Estate.  Just 2 weeks into this new routine I noticed some changes in Ariah's behaviour, such as, napping more frequently (this little energizer bunny hadn't had a day nap for 12 months or more) complaining of sore legs (which I put down to growing pains), eating and drinking excessive amounts (summer time and very hot here in sunny Queensland), and then the frequent urination and bed wetting started (which was completely out of character, she had been toilet trained since the day she turned 2!)

I thought a trip to the doctor was needed to see what was going on with my little babe. At the back of my mind, I just thought, she was adjusting to kindy and the recent changes. The GP sent us on our way with a blood test referral. Due to the weekend and the need to fast we waited until the following Monday to take her in to get the test. No food since dinner the night before and copious amounts of water that she couldn't get enough of and we were at the pathologist ready for the test. Ariah was screaming and crying, she was so scared. Well apparently she hadn't consumed enough water and they couldn't find a vein. I wasn't sure how this was even possible, she had already consumed 1 litre by 9:30am (She is 3 years old, that's loads of water)

We went back the following day to try again. Still no luck so they referred us to a clinic that specialised in performing blood tests on children. Yet again, the pathologist said she must be dehydrated as we cant find a vein. No one thought to inform me that this should be concerning, considering what they were testing for. In the end they pricked several of her little fingers and squeezed as much blood out as they could, to be able to send it off for testing.

Well that afternoon, she took a turn for the worst. I didn't know much about diabetes and certainly didn't know what symptoms to look for. Ariah's speech was slurred, she refused to walk and kept falling in and out of consciousness. My Mum and I rushed her to the Emergency Department at the Children's Hospital. The triage staff member did a simple finger prick on a Glucose Meter and with the reading HI, Ariah was rushed out the back and treatment started right away. I remember when they were inserting the IV cannula she looked up at me, crying and asking "why are they doing this to me Mummy?" It absolutely broke my heart!!  They performed another finger prick to check for ketones. Ketones are present when the body burns fat for energy and there isn't enough insulin to help the body use the sugar for energy. 

She was transferred up to the Intensive Care Unit where she stayed for the next 24 hours before she was stable. She had multiple drips giving her insulin and fluids and was hooked up to machines to track her heart rate etc. She was in hospital for 6 days, until she had no more ketones in her blood and her sugar levels were stable.

During those 6 days our family had a crash course in what type 1 diabetes was and how to manage the condition at home. Ariah has gone from multiple daily injections to using a device called a pump to deliver insulin. We have all learned how to carb count, change cannulas, dose accurate amounts of insulin per serving of carbohydrate. We learnt how to treat a hypo (low blood sugar), and how to correct a hyper (high blood sugar) both of these can happen very quickly and can be life threatening. It was a lot to take in!!

We have had to come to terms with the fact that our daughter has a "forever" disease. We were always blaming ourselves and wondering if it was something we did to cause this. Unfortunately, Type 1 Diabetes is an auto-immune disease and  her body turned on itself while fighting off another illness destroying the beta cells within the pancreas, removing the body's ability to produce insulin. 

Ariah keeps on going day in day out, trying to keep her blood glucose levels in the normal range to prevent the risk of serious health complications such as kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage and heart attacks. She wishes she could be as carefree as all of her beautiful friends instead of counting carbs, carrying her equipment and emergency supplies everywhere she goes, even just eating without thinking about numbers!!

We are hoping for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes one day so Ariah and everyone else living with this horrible disease can live a normal life.

Much love,

Mrs Ahrendt, Ariah & Family x