Sadie's Story

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In December 2020, 4-year-old Sadie was excessively thirsty, drinking “a ton of water and using the bathroom constantly,” according to her family, so they took her to the pediatrician’s office. Testing showed that Sadie had sugar and ketones, chemicals made by the body when insulin is in short supply, in her urine, and her blood sugar was dangerously high at over 400 mg/dL — all signs of diabetes. “The pediatrician told us we needed to get to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center immediately,” said Sadie’s mom, Megan Schisler.

There, Sadie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes — an autoimmune disease in which the immune system starts attacking the pancreas cells that produce insulin. Nurses told Megan that Sadie would be at the hospital for the next two days, and she began taking notes on how to take care of Sadie now that she had type 1 diabetes. “It was very scary at first to hear I was going to have to do needles, finger sticks and math equations,” said Megan. “Knowing that we had to relearn how to take care of our 4-year-old child was one of the biggest moments, but the care team kept reassuring my husband and I that we could do this.”

After leaving the hospital, Sadie required finger sticks five or six times a day to check her blood sugar level, and an insulin needle before every meal. “Everything was different once she was diagnosed,” says Megan. “It was all day every day, and it was such a production at first.” Sadie’s diabetes nurse would call every afternoon to check on her blood sugars, and she began to regularly see Johns Hopkins Children’s Center pediatric endocrinologist Risa Wolf. “She was so little, and it was awful giving her needles constantly, but we never felt alone in any of it,” says Megan.

Now, Sadie is 7 years old, and with the help of the care team and family, successfully manages her type 1 diabetes. She uses a continuous glucose monitoring system to measure her blood sugars and an insulin pump to deliver her insulin. While she no longer requires as many finger sticks, Sadie has learned how to do them herself, and she understands the signals her body sends her when she needs to boost her blood sugar. Through her own experiences, Sadie has helped educate her classmates and others about type 1 diabetes. “Her life can be anything she wants it to be, and we know that her diabetes is not going to stop her,” says Megan.