Life-chang­ing dis­ease

The Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - . ME­GAN MASTERS me­gan.masters@thechron­i­

A NASTY bout of the flu can be a pretty drain­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, so when the whole Turner fam­ily went down with it, it was no sur­prise when eight-year-old Fred­die did too.

The only prob­lem was he didn’t seem to bounce back as well as the rest of the clan.

Fred­die’s mum Emma Turner de­cided he was crook enough to head to the fam­ily GP and later the hos­pi­tal, but wasn’t ter­ri­bly sur­prised to hear he had a virus and all she could do was keep up his flu­ids, en­sure he got plenty of rest and give him parac­eta­mol.

But as it turns out, parac­eta­mol doesn’t do much for di­a­betes.

On An­zac Day 2015 they headed to the dawn ser­vice, where Fred­die was very ill.

Mrs Turner took him home and put him to bed, and hours later sug­gested he might feel bet­ter if he had a shower.

“I helped him to un­dress and was dis­tressed to see his dra­matic weight loss since I had last seen him un­clothed,” Mrs Turner said.

“He told me then that he was get­ting short of breath when walk­ing and that his hands and feet were re­ally cold.”

Mrs Turner was a reg­is­tered nurse and at that point the penny dropped; he had type one di­a­betes.

When she took him to hos­pi­tal the next morn­ing, a doc­tor took one look at Fred­die, said he could smell ke­tones and di­ag­nosed not only type one di­a­betes, but also ke­toaci­do­sis, a con­di­tion caused by the body burn­ing fat be­cause it can­not break down glu­cose due to in­suf­fi­cient in­sulin.

Af­ter a full week spent at the Lady Ci­lento hos­pi­tal in Bris­bane, the fam­ily was set to em­bark on a new jour­ney.

Not only was Fred­die ad­just­ing to a new life with type one di­a­betes, but it changed Mrs Turner’s ca­reer path as well.

She and the kids moved closer to Toowoomba so she could study to be­come a di­a­betes ed­u­ca­tor.

Fred­die said peo­ple of­ten thought he had di­a­betes from eat­ing too many lol­lies, but he had ad­justed pretty well de­spite mis­con­cep­tions.

“One thing is that I don’t let di­a­betes stop me from learn­ing and hav­ing fun,” he said.

“Di­a­betes is just a part of who I am, it doesn’t de­fine me.”

Yes­ter­day the Turner fam­ily cel­e­brated World Di­a­betes Day and en­cour­aged oth­ers to find out more by vis­it­ing www.di­a­

FIGHT­ING FIT: Two years ago Fred­die Turner went from a fit and healthy lit­tle foot­baller to a sick shell of his for­mer self un­til he was di­ag­nosed with type one di­a­betes.

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