“Her alarming blood sugar levels were almost five times the norm”
Tessa has kept her parents on their toes since she was four months old. At that time, she was diagnosed with food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), a type of food allergy affecting the gastrointestinal tract. Tessa is allergic to protein in almost all foods. Shortly after she would eat, Tessa would vomit anywhere between three and 17 times. During these episodes, she would pass out as her body went into shock. Profound vomiting is a classic symptom of FPIES. It can also lead to severe lethargy, poor growth, and progress to the point of mimicking a severe total-body infection when a problem food is ingested. Tessa’s parents were finally getting used to her dietary needs by the time she turned three, but then they noticed that she wasn’t gaining any weight despite the astounding amount of calories she was eating. Tessa had dark circles under her eyes, was always tired, and rejecting foods that she previously loved. The preschooler weighed a mere 29 pounds. Her sweet, bubbly, and sassy personality was gone. Within four days, an already tiny Tessa lost five pounds from her fragile frame, and her parents found her asleep on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night. She had been too weak to return to bed on her own.
Deeply concerned, Tessa’s family decided to test her for diabetes with an at home kit. The meter read her blood sugar level and flashed a warning sign in red letters indicating that her glucose was dangerously high. At the ER, doctors confirmed her parents’ theory by diagnosing Tessa with type 1 diabetes after tests revealed that her blood sugar level was 900. The normal range for a child her age is between 100 and 200 depending on the time of day. Her doctors were stunned that she wasn’t in a coma and kept her in the hospital for five days while they rehydrated her and gave her insulin treatments. In type 1 diabetes, the body produces little to no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is used to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells of the body to produce energy. Currently, Tessa takes four to seven shots of insulin a day. Her norm has drastically changed to accommodate this disease, and she is too young to fully understand what has happened and why her life is so different now.
Despite the hurdles she has faced over her health, Tessa is a silly, strong, and precocious toddler. She loves animals and has a collection of plush to prove it. Her favorites are manatees. Tessa wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up and aspires to be a mommy to an American girl doll.
Kids Wish Network is hard at work planning a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Tessa; make sure to stay up to date by checking back soon for all of the magical details of her enchanting wish!