“She drinks an excessive amount of water because her body doesn’t have enough to function”
Lauren’s health issues began when she was only six months old. All of a sudden, she had frequent unexplained fevers and major respiratory problems. At age three, Lauren underwent testing for her symptoms. Doctors found that she suffered from stage III vesicoureteral reflux disease, the backward flow of urine from the bladder into the kidneys. They performed surgery to re-route her urine flow.
However, Lauren’s medical problems continued. Her constant thirst, rapid weight loss, shaking, and chills prompted another visit to the doctor’s office where she underwent metabolic testing. When the results came in, Lauren’s doctor wanted her taken to an endocrinologist immediately where. Lauren was diagnosed with diabetes insipidus, an uncommon disorder that causes an imbalance of water in the body. It occurs when the body can’t regulate how it handles fluids. This imbalance leads to intense thirst even after drinking fluids and can cause dehydration, which in turn causes high levels of sodium in the blood. The body has too little water for the amount of sodium in it at that point.
The diagnoses didn’t stop there though. An MRI of her brain revealed that Lauren lacked the ADH hormone and that her pituitary gland had stopped working properly. It also showed a black spot on her brain. Lauren now has an MRI and blood work done every six months to check for any tumors or cancer.
At age 11, Lauren was diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency or Addison’s disease, a rare disorder in which the adrenal glands don’t produce enough cortisol. Cortisol affects almost every organ and tissue in the body. Most importantly, it helps the body respond to stress. Addison’s disease is characterized by weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, and low blood pressure.
The diabetes insipidus coupled with adrenal insufficiency finally pointed to an all encompassing diagnosis for Lauren. She suffers from lymphocytic hypophatis, a rare inflammatory condition of the pituitary gland. Immune cells infiltrate the pituitary gland and gather into a mass that can mimic a tumor pressing on the pituitary gland. This attack causes a reduction of hormones that leads to conditions such as adrenal insufficiency and diabetes insipidus.
To supplement her intense thirst caused by diabetes insipidus, Lauren increases her water intake. In addition, she takes medication to stabilize the sodium levels in her body. Lauren’s service dog Lilly alerts her by sitting on Lauren’s chest when her sodium is out of balance. To address her adrenal insufficiency, Lauren takes hormone injections to replace the ones her body lacks. Even with all of these methods of treatment, Lauren still suffers from constant painful headaches, exhaustion, and debilitating nausea due to drinking too much water.
Managing her life-threatening illnesses is a full-time job, but 11-year-old Lauren still enjoys having sleepovers with her friends, cooking, reading, and shopping. She has an outgoing personality with a kindhearted soul.
Kids Wish Network is hard at work planning a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Lauren; make sure to stay up to date by checking back soon for all of the fabulous details of her fashionable wish!