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Liam Wombold patient story

from tantrums to type 1 diabetes

Liam Wombold is a typical 2-year-old toddler. He loves all things dinosaurs and sharks, playing outside, and spending time with his big brother.

But what didn’t seem typical to Liam’s mom, Tera, were tantrums he began to throw. “They were really, really bad,” says Tera. “He’s two so I’m chalking it up to the ‘terrible twos,’ and just wanting to get his way, but they were really over-the-top.”

At the same time, Tera didn’t remember tantrums this bad with her older son. In addition the sudden swing in behavior, Liam started to become very thirsty.

 “I would give him a 10 ounce sippy cup of water and he would chug it within a minute or two and ask for more,” says Tera. She really got concerned when Liam started peeing so much that he was soaking through his diaper multiple times a day. “We were changing his clothes two to three times a day and I thought, ‘This cannot be normal,’” says Tera.

Tera decided to do a little research on her own. “I Googled extreme thirst, tantrum throwing and excessive urination, and type 1 diabetes kept showing up in the results.”

Tera didn’t want to believe that this was possible, but just to be safe, she called and made an appointment with their pediatrician to have Liam checked out.

The night before Liam’s appointment, he was really not himself. Tera had read online that one way to self-check for diabetes was to do an over-the-counter blood glucose test. Tera asked her neighbor, a nurse, to come over and do the test for her. They did the test three times and all three times Liam’s blood glucose levels were so high that the meter wouldn’t read it.

Tera and her husband immediately got in the car and drove Liam to an emergency room close to their home. When they arrived, Tera told the staff Liam’s symptoms and blood glucose reading, and shared that she believed he had type 1 diabetes. The staff didn’t initially believe her, but after performing some tests were shocked to see that his results were in line with Tera’s suspicions.

Since that emergency room didn’t have a pediatric endocrinologist on-call, the Wombolds requested to be transferred to Dayton Children’s Hospital and headed straight to the emergency department.

“The team at Dayton Children’s was prepared for our arrival. They performed a full workup and confirmed our suspicion – Liam was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes,” Tera recalls.

Liam was admitted to the hospital so that he and his family could learn the ropes of navigating his new diagnosis. During the stay, Liam was introduced to Dr. Moira Pfeifer, who is now Liam’s endocrinologist. “We truly have a connection with Dr. Pfeifer. As a type 1 diabetic herself, she truly understands what we’re going through,” says Tera.

It’s been four months since Liam’s diagnosis and it has definitely been a learning curve for the Wombolds. “Liam’s sugars are constantly fluctuating and it’s going to take time for Liam to get used to all of the changes,” says Tera.

One thing that has made a difference in navigating their diabetes journey is Liam’s Dexcom, which reads his blood sugar levels every five minutes and sends an alert to Tera’s phone if they are too high or too low.

While Liam still has the occasional tantrum, Tera is grateful to be able to tell if they’re a result of Liam’s blood sugars being off, or if it’s truly just a case of the “terrible twos.”