It was the spring of 1988, Rachel was almost 3 years old , that’s when we noticed something just wasn’t right with her. We took Rachel to her pediatrician 9 times in 6 weeks. The diagnosis, she had “the flu”! We were told to push the fluids. But all the symptoms were there, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, cold sweats, and even 4 episodes of waking to find Rachel sitting on the living room floor, rocking in a cold sweat, crying with a sickening sweet smell from her breath.
As parents we would question each other as to the sweet smell, what was it? We compared it to Rachel having chewed Juicy Fruit gum but she did not have any.
Then one afternoon having only eaten 4 grapes Rachel collapsed nearly unconscious.. Her little body could not take any more.
We rushed her to the emergency room within minutes of us telling the ER doctor her symptoms he told us Rachel was a diabetic. The lab results confirmed his diagnosis. Her blood glucose level was 1389.
As young parents we put our trust in a doctor who misdiagnosed our daughter for 6 weeks. No blood test, no urine test. We even told the pediatrician all the symptoms Rachel was having. We were simply told she had the flu.
Rachel spent 2 weeks at Methodist hospital in Indianapolis. She became stable and we were trained to care for her. We finally got to take her home.
Soon after she was given the title “Brittle diabetic”. A condition where her blood glucose would and still today fluctuates from hypoglycemia to hyperglycemia rapidly.
She was not a candidate for an insulin pump.
From age 3 to age 21 Rachel only had to be hospitalized 2 times neither were related to her diabetes. As parents for all those years we correctly managed her diabetes. Rachel had good days and bad like all of us. As far as her school days that’s another story in its self.
A Series of Unfortunate Events.
In 2006 now at the age of 21 Rachel developed a soft tissue infection. She was hospitalized and treated with potent drugs and surgeries. Within a short time her left eye retina detached then her right eye retina detached. Retinopathy is a complication of uncontrolled diabetes or is it?
Now as we review the medications that were administered we find several are harmful to a diabetics like Rachel. The antibiotic Levoquin has been proven to cause detached retinas even in non-diabetics.
For the next following years after this hospitalization Rachel would become ill and hospitalized multiple times for dangerously high potassium levels. She would have to have blood transfusions to lower her levels. This was the beginning of her kidneys failing.
In 2010 Rachel started peritoneal dialysis. This form of dialysis was working well for her. Then in the summer of 2011 she developed a small sore on both feet. Her foot doctor said that calcium from the dialysis, a rare side effect, had built up in her arteries of her legs causing poor circulation. On July 6, 2011 Rachel went in for a standard angiogram of her legs. The radiologist made a mistake tearing her femoral artery open causing severe blood clots to occur. She underwent 11 hours of vascular surgery where they grafted an 18 inch synthetic artery in her leg. Her left foot was totally blocked with no blood flow. Rachel was put into a drug induced coma due to the severe pain then was put on a ventilator because she could not breath on her own.
As parents we kept a vigil over Rachel and watched as her foot became black and gangrenous. Her blood pressure slowly began to fall then the surgeon came in and told us he needed our consent to amputate her foot to save her life.
While recovering Rachel developed a severe fungal infection in her peritoneum. The doctors told us that she had the worst form which had a 50% survival rate. They preformed surgery to clean her abdomen and started her on hemodialysis. She has a catheter port in her jugular vein with the tip resting in her heart.
While hospitalized from July to December she developed multiple infections in her amputated leg. She developed a pulmonary embolism and had several mild heart attacks.
As of November 2012 Rachel is listed on the national kidney transplant list and on average it may take 3 to 5 years or longer for a kidney transplant. The survival rate is limited for anyone on dialysis.
Rachel’s blood vessels may not be suitable for a transplant if she waits too long. This is why time is of the essence for Rachel.
Rachel goes to dialysis 3 days a week for 3 ½ hours a day and it is taking a toll on her body. Patients on dialysis can suffer many complications, as Rachel already has. Rachel’s condition continues to worsen as dialysis is not working as well as it should. Her frail body is trying to hang on. As a parent you can imagine our heart ache.
As Rachel continues to fight and is such a strong young lady, she will fear nothing and keep on fighting.
We would like to Thank everyone that has prayed for Rachel and has been here for us during this rough time in our lives. When you ask Rachel about her life, her response is,
“ I couldn’t be this strong if this was happening to someone I knew and loved, the real strength comes from those who stick by my side through the darkest moments” This is the life I was given and I will never stop fighting for it.- Rachel
LET’S HELP RACHEL FIND A KIDNEY PLEASE SHARE THIS EVERYWHERE! This is Rachel. She needs your help. Rachel needs a kidney. You can help her by sharing this website and the video above, everywhere. The more people who know of Rachel, the better chance at finding her a donor/kidney.
The number for further information and to get tested is 1-317-944-4370. Ask for Sheryl Ping and she will take it from there.