Melina was just two-years-old when her parents, Christina and Matt, noticed she was asking for water more frequently. They never thought this thirst would lead to a type 1 diabetes diagnosis.

Type 1 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes affecting children and adolescents in Australia. It usually develops during childhood or young adulthood and occurs when the body stops producing insulin, which is allows sugar to pass into the cells of the body to produce energy. The condition cannot be prevented and can cause a range of short- and long-term health complications.

“We thought Melina’s thirst may have been due to the hot summer weather,” Christina said.

“However, a few weeks later we noticed a fruity and acidic smell on her breath. It just didn’t seem normal.”

Christina and Matt decided to get Melina checked and went to the Queensland Children’s Hospital where a blood test confirmed type 1 diabetes.

“We were shocked initially, but then went into parent mode to understand what we needed to do to help Melina,” Christina said.

Christina said the condition has affected the family in many ways.

“We have to constantly monitor her blood sugar levels with finger pricks. It’s a 24/7 project. We have to watch out for when she has a ‘hypo’ – low blood sugar – and ‘hyper’ – high blood sugar. If Melina’s blood sugar level is too low she requires jelly beans or juice. If it goes too high, she requires more insulin via injection. We also have to carb count her meals every day.”

Despite Melina’s challenges, Christina said she lives a full life.

“Melina loves to play with her big brother, ride on her scooter, take her dog for a walk, sing, dance and dress up in fairy costumes.

“She inspires us in many ways we never knew she could. Daily finger pricking and needles, staying calm and knowing not to eat certain foods for a two-year-old is so inspiring. We are beyond proud and know that her future is bright and that she’ll be a professional in dealing with diabetes when she’s older.”

 

Useful links

Diabetes Queensland

Diabetes Australia

National Diabetes Services Scheme