KAYLEE & MITZEE
Kaylee, age 12, is the oldest of our three children. Starting life several weeks premature she has always had challenges. Her independence and strong spirit is amazing despite her small stature. She loves animals and enjoys being outside, demonstrated through showing cattle and pigs in 4-H. Kaylee is a wonderful big sister but enjoys her “alone” time, away from younger sister and brother.
On July 23, 2014 our lives were forever changed. A trip to the doctor for what we thought was a stomach virus, quickly turned into a life threatening emergency. Doctors at the Children’s ICU in Plano, Texas diagnosed Kaylee with Type 1 Diabetes, severe Diabetic Ketoacidosis, critically low potassium and tachycardia. They warned us she could slip into a coma, so we battled to keep her awake. We were in shock. It was the most frightening event we had ever experienced.
In addition to Type 1 Diabetes; Gitelman’s Syndrome (Hypokalemia - unable to retain potassium), (Hypomagnesemia - unable to retain magnesium) and Short Stature were ultimately diagnosed. The Nephrologist described having Type 1 and Gitelman's Syndrome as a double edged sword. Insulin naturally lowers the body’s potassium levels while Gitleman’s Syndrome causes depletion of the body’s potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Another doctor stated the likelihood of having both diseases is like being struck by lighting and bit by a shark in the same day.
Watch Kaylee's Video
Kaylee is smaller than her 9 year old sister and her bone age has been tested to be that of an eight year old. Short Stature is a side effect to Gitelman’s Syndrome; however, this is the least of our worries at this time.
The complexity of Kaylee’s serious medical conditions referenced above requires her to be monitored closely, 24/7. She currently sleeps in our bedroom and our alarm sounds every two hours so we can check her blood sugar. She is now on an insulin pump and takes 20 plus pills of potassium each day. Even with all the daily potassium supplements, she must have periodic potassium infusions. The infusions take 6 hours and are done in the Dialysis Center at Cook Children’s Hospital. When her potassium is low her heart races and her muscle ache. Most of the time she feels like she has the flu and is often sent home by the school nurse to rest.
The loss of her independence has been one of her most difficult adjustments. However, because of the uniqueness of her condition, Kaylee’s glucose level can unexpectedly fluctuate significantly either direction; resulting in a seizure, coma or worse; if appropriate action is not taken timely.
Kaylee now has hope of regaining her independence, in the form of a fluffy little puppy, she has named Mitzee. With the help of The Butler Family Foundation, Mitzee will be trained to alert care givers when Kaylee’s insulin is dropping or if it is too high. Diabetic Alert Dogs have been around for many years but Kaylee’s situation is different. Because she has hypoglycemia her blood sugar gets too low. The typical Diabetic Alert Dog responds to the ketones that they smell when the insulin is too high. When a person suffers from hypoglycemia there are no ketones released; therefore, no scent associated with the incident. We are hoping to train Mitzee to pick up on other changes in Kaylee that will allow her to alert her parents so that they can wake her up and administer necessary treatments.
The Butler Family Foundation has chosen Mitzee so that she can grow and bond with Kaylee while going through her training. Our trainer, Hilton Butler, felt that beginning with a young dog was the best plan for Kaylee’s situation. “By starting with a puppy, we can watch the bonding process over time. This will allow us to see the natural interactions and behaviors as Mitzee responds to Kaylee. Harnessing and encouraging the natural reactions make it a more natural process for Mitzee to alert.”