Isabella and Dr. Edwin Liu
Isabella was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 7. The next year, an endoscopy revealed she also has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine triggered by eating gluten.
Isabella slept in her mom Claudia’s bed one night after they had been out of town. Claudia noticed Isabella was frequently getting up to go to the bathroom and she had chugged a glass of water that was sitting by the bedside. “I woke up in the middle of the night and just knew it,” said Claudia.
She researched the usual diabetes symptoms – unusual thirst, multiple trips to the bathroom, occasionally shaky, and sweet breath. The next day at the pediatrician’s office Isabella’s blood sugar was 350. A normal blood glucose level for a child is between 60 and 100.
“We were fortunate that Isabella didn’t have a serious episode,” said Claudia.
Isabella appreciated that doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado informed her as well as her parents about treatment. “They showed me what I needed to do to take control of my health and gave me a better understanding of how to eat,” said Isabella. “They show that they care.”
Isabella has been in control of her own health since the age of 10. “Diabetes is a hassle, but manageable,” said Isabella. She is on an insulin pump and she tests her blood sugar multiple times per day.
“It’s tough, but she knows her body pretty well,” said Claudia. “She is in complete control of her diabetes and she knows when she’s feeling low.”
Celiac disease is the most frustrating issue for her because she can’t eat what she wants and it can be tough to stick to a gluten-free diet.
Isabella became a Children’s Colorado ambassador for the opportunity to fundraise and to teach other kids how to manage and deal with diabetes and celiac disease. “I can let them know they’re not alone,” said Isabella.
Claudia describes her daughter as sweet, smart, artsy, perceptive and bubbly. She is a very well-spoken, confident 15-year-old with big plans for the future. She wants to be a fashion buyer and travel the world bringing back styles from China, France, Italy and beyond.
For now, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going skiing and playing on her high school’s tennis team.