A year after their daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Jossie and Xavier Medina share with pride how eight-year-old Gabriella Bowman has managed her condition with courage and determination.
“She’s a very strong girl. She is like our little super hero,” said stepdad, Xavier.
Last year, Gabriella was experiencing excessive thirst, weight loss, mood changes, and other symptoms that indicated something was wrong.
“There was a huge change in her demeanor. She just didn’t seem like herself,” Jossie recalled.
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Gabriella’s parents took her to Lancaster General Health Physicians Roseville Pediatrics, where her blood sugar tested at a dangerously high level–close to 600, which put her at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition that occurs when a person with diabetes becomes severely dehydrated.
Her parents were instructed to bring Gabriella directly to the emergency room at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where she was expected and treated upon arrival. LG Health and CHOP have a partnership which helps make care coordination between medical teams seamless for patients and their families.
Gabriella was immediately given intravenous (IV) fluids as well as insulin to stabilize her blood sugar. The nurses explained that they were there to take care of her and help her feel better.
Over the course of the next four days, the family was taught how to manage type 1 diabetes, including how to test Gabriella’s blood sugar and inject insulin.
Because she was diagnosed during the summer, the family had time to adjust to the life-changing diagnosis before it was time for Gabriella to return to school in the fall.
Gabriella now uses an insulin pump, which automatically provides the appropriate dose of insulin when needed. She has gone from feeling initially upset about her diagnosis to inspiring others with her resilience and positive attitude.
Recently, she was nominated to participate in the National American Miss pageant and advanced to the state finals. When asked by the organizers why she wanted to win, Gabriella responded that it was important to her to show other children with type 1 diabetes that they can do anything with no limits. “Type 1 is not going to stop me,” she said.
For fun, Gabriella enjoys playing outside with her younger brother and cheerleading on her community team. As part of her ongoing diabetes management, she has regular visits with a pediatric endocrinologist from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia at the CHOP Specialty Care Center, which has two offices at LG Health’s Suburban Pavilion, offering a variety of pediatric specialties.
“They love her at the Suburban Pavilion clinic,” said Jossie. “They look forward to seeing her at every visit and they make her feel special.”
Learn more about LG Health’s partnership with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.