“One minute he is kayaking, the next he’s going to the hospital”
What started off as an enjoyable spring break with family ended up involving a week-long stay at the hospital. Matthew appeared to be like any other teen when his family took him kayaking in Florida during spring break. As they were eating lunch, Matthew’s facial color didn’t look right, and his face appeared sunken inwards. Abandoning their afternoon plans of additional kayaking, Matthew was taken to his pediatrician where it was quickly discovered that his blood sugar level was over 1,000. Next stop: Naples Community Hospital for an entire week, not anyone’s idea of a fun spring break vacation.
Diagnosis: Type 1 Diabetes, a lifelong disease in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. Although Matthew and his family have since adapted to the monitoring tasks associated diabetes, the first six months following the initial diagnosis were extremely challenging. As is common among diabetes patients, the goal of treatment is to keep blood sugar levels consistent. In Matthew’s case, that involves being woken up in the middle of the night just to test his blood sugar in addition to frequent monitoring during regular daytime hours.
During those first six months, additional testing with his endocrinologist discovered that Matthew also had Celiac disease, a problem some people have with foods that contain gluten and typically necessitating a gluten-free diet going forward. In Matthew’s case, his stomach lining had become inflamed from gluten which in turn made it harder to regulate his sugar levels. Because of his weakened immune system, he contracted flu-like fever during the past year which caused his insulin to burn faster and require more medication. Considering the fact that Matthew also experiences seasonal allergies, he has quite a lot on his plate compared to many children.
Matthew takes it all in stride however, and he just made the honor roll at the virtual school he attends in Florida. According to his dad, Matthew is a tenacious and level-headed “sponge that absorbs everything” from Greek and Roman mythology to social activities as varied as golf and bowling.
Kids Wish Network is hard at work planning a unique experience for Matthew; check back to read the fun details of his wish!