It was Easter break and we were as usual, up in the Poconos for a family vacation. Michael had been holding his own with what we thought was a virus. After a few days of Michael getting sicker and sicker, we reached out to the pediatrician, who was worried about dehydration and asked us to give him any fluids he was willing to take. The next day, Easter Sunday, with his health rapidly declining we rushed him in to the ER. It was within an hour that we heard the news. He was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes (type 1). The Hospital could not handle a dehydrated, newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic, six-year-old. He was flown by helicopter from East Stroudsburg, PA to Ruters/RWJ University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. Upon his arrival, his blood-sugar level was 2656 (believe it or not). He is now on record as surviving the highest blood glucose reading ever documented.
Our first hurdle was to get his blood-sugar levels back to normal. This was done slowly as to not cause brain swelling. It is during this critical time when serious damage can occur to the brain including blindness and even death. Then as his body had been breaking down muscle trying to get the energy it needed to function, he entered his second crisis mode. We were told he was suffering from a condition known as rhabdomyolysis. Muscle cells break down and release large amounts of substances into the bloodstream. These substances get passed in the urine but at certain levels cause kidney damage and then failure. Michael's numbers went far above where damage normally occurs. We were informed by doctors that Michael may not fully regain the use of his affected arms and legs and that there was a strong possibility that he may suffer from kidney failure and need dialysis for the rest of his life. We were also told that this was a serious and life-threatening condition to our son. To say we were frightened and scared is an understatement. It was five days of waiting and watching. Several times doctors came in to warn us not to expect him to ever come fully back to us. On the fifth day he opened his eyes. We sat around him on his hospital bed and asked if he could see us, "yes." Do you know who we are? "Mom and Dad." Can you read the clock? "Yes, it is four fifteen." Michael began his physical therapy and, after a good week of work, showed amazing improvement. We spent all of 2 weeks in the intensive care unit trying to lower his blood-glucose level and rid his blood of the harmful substances caused by the rhabdomyolysis. Michael pulled through and is back to being the boy we knew before he was sick. We asked the doctors why his kidneys didn't fail when his numbers were so high? They had no scientific answer for us. They had no documented cases on the books to even know what to do for him. Now Michael's case is the one they refer to. He walked out the door with no known damage to internal organs, brain, limbs, or eyes. One doctor told us it was nothing short of a miraculous recovery. We look back on this time and are so grateful to have Michael with us. Sometimes when new families are diagnosed they are angry and upset about the diagnosis. We were just so happy that Michael is still with us, we were ready to do anything to keep him healthy and happy. Taking care of a type 1 diabtic child can be challenging, but we tackled it head on. Doing our research, providing as much love and care for Michael as we could. We began seeking others for our own sanity as well as his. From all this "Michael's Miracles" was born and our journey continues...."
Michael's Miracles Trustees meet regularly to discuss projects and financial needs, which are controlled by our by-laws.
Board of Trustees
Dr. John Chuo
Dr. John Chuo is a neonatologist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian. He received his medical degree from NYU School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.
Kim, (Michael's Mother) founded Michael's Miraces in 2011. With hard work and a lot of research, a 501(c)3 was born. Michael's Miracles (MM) began as an outreach to other newly diagnosed T1D families with a support group and a golf outing. They now have helped over 1000 families. Their mission to ensure that every child has a happy, healthy life, includes many factors: from helping to fund a diabetes alert dag, to sending children to Camp Nejeda, offering free educational seminars to social gatherings. MM continues to reach many families in need. Kim continues to come up with new ideas for fund raisers, outreach programs and social gatherings. Her passion is event planning and outreach to newly dx families.
Coleen Clark-Chuo, RN, CDE, CPT, MA
Colleen Clark Chou received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing at the University of Scranton and a Masters of Art degree in Nursing Education from New York University. With 12 years experience as a Certified Diabetes Educator caring for children and adults with diabetes in hospitals and out-patient settings. Colleen has been invited to speak at numerous nursing conferences and diabetes events. She is a certified insulin pump trainer for major insulin pump companies and a consultant for Michael’s Miracles Foundation, teaching diabetes management in schools, daycare and assisted living facilities throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.