“Always trust your gut instinct about your children’s health”

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A Derry mother has advised parents to trust their gut instinct if they think there is something wrong with their child.

Ann-Marie McShane’s three-years-old son Max was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes after she asked a doctor to test his blood sugars because she was convinced he was displaying symptoms of the condition.

Her gut instinct turned out to be correct and Max was so unwell when he was diagnosed he was in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

“Before Max was diagnosed in March, we had no experience of Diabetes at all, I didn’t even know anyone with diabetes or had any hands on experience with it.

“Max was born a big baby and was always healthy. However, he started losing weight and began taking a while thirst. It was such an unbelievable thirst, he just had to have juice all the time.”

Ann-Marie took Max to the doctors after he got a rash on his bottom that would not go away. He had started to become very unwell and around his lips and his fingers began to turn a ‘funny colour’.

“I looked up all these symptoms on the internet and diabetes kept coming up. I took him to the doctors and we were told it was a viral thing.”

Ann-Marie didn’t give up and after two more visits asked for Max’s blood sugars to be tested.

“His sugars were 26, which is really high and initially they thought it was a mistake. They did the test again and the reading had gone up. We had to take Max straight to A&E.

“Max was in Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and if we had waited until later that day he could have died because he was becoming seriously ill.”

Ann-Marie said she cried herself to sleep after Max got his diagnosis.

“I knew I was going to have to learn to inject Max with insulin and it is not something a parent ever wants to have to do. The next day I took a deep breath and got on with it because I knew that to get him out and keep him safe and alive then it was something I was going to have to get used to.”

She said the diagnosis has lead to a change in lifestyle for the family and they now have to think about what food they are bringing into the house.

“Max is struggling with the injections and doesn’t like them. He is getting better though and is starting to notice when his sugar is low.”

Ann-Marie said the early diagnosis may be something of a blessing in disguise as Max will not remember life before diabetes.

“He is going to be used to this lifestyle and always know what he has to do to take care of himself. It would have been much harder if he was diagnosed later in life.”

In the last few months the family have been supported by The T1 club and Ann-Marie said she would have ‘been lost without them’.