In August of 2012, our happy and pleasant three year old little girl, Macey, became consistently
irritable, sickly and had to go to the bathroom all the time. Several trips to the pediatrician didn’t
catch what we ultimately found out through our own research and family network; our Macey was
diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). T1D is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas
stops producing insulin – a hormone essential to the ability to get energy from food. T1D causes
lifelong dependence on injected or pumped insulin and carries constant threat of complications. We
felt overwhelmed, helpless and extremely frustrated that our little girl would have to spend the rest
of her life dealing with this disease. T1D cannot be prevented and there is no cure.
A trip to the emergency room to stabilize blood sugar followed by a trip to Children’s Hospital for a
crash course on T1D basics filled our first 24 hours with the disease. We then came home to set up
our “Diabetes Station” and clean out our cabinets and fill with diabetes friendly food, foods high in
sugar for treating lows, log books, calculators, scales, glucometers, test strips, lancets, lancing
devices, ketone strips, syringes and 2 types of insulin. With four other children in our family we had
to change our entire lifestyle to adjust to Macey’s unrelenting cycle of strict meal and snack times,
carbohydrate counting, blood sugar level testing and insulin injections to manage the disease and
stay alive. Brenda, Macey’s mother, took nine weeks of Family Medical Leave to get organized and
set up Macey’s health plan.
Macey is now four years old and is approaching her 1 year diagnosis anniversary. She still asks why
she has diabetes while her identical twin sister doesn’t and it breaks our heart to try to explain that
it just happened. At various classes or pre-school activities kids are given “treats” and although she
puts up a tough outer-shell, we know she feels ostracized and cheated that others can enjoy but
she can’t. Macey is unfortunately hypoglycemic unaware which means she doesn’t feel when her
blood sugar is dangerously low. A normal person’s blood sugar is 100, and she has had a few close
calls where her blood sugar was down to a dangerous 23. Besides unexplained lows, Macey also can
have unexplained highs going up to over 400. She is extremely sensitive to insulin and sugar which
makes it a challenge to manage. Because of her sensitivity, we check her blood sugar up to three
times throughout the night.
Since diagnosis, we’ve been active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and
raising money for a cure. Our fundraising team, Marching for Macey, has raised over $11,000.00 to
date to find a cure. It is now our passion in life to find a cure for T1D’s in Macey’s lifetime.
- The Henschel Family
Sophia's Promise, Inc. - S75W14240 Restfull Lane - Muskego, WI 53150