Mum’s gut instinct over sick 1-year-old: ‘I knew it was more than a stomach bug’

Aussie Instagram star Tammy Hembrow shares the story of her daughter's tricky diagnosis with Cerebellitis...

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Aussie Instagrammer Tammy Hembrow has shared a story many parents will be able to relate to – one of following your gut instincts when it comes to your child’s health.

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The young mum first became concerned when her 1-year-old daughter Saskia, nicknamed Sassy, began experiencing odd symptoms.

“Over a week ago, Saskia woke up for a nap, I brought her downstairs and when I put her on the ground to change her nappy she started screaming,” she began in a YouTube video on the subject.

“It was like she was in pain. So, I immediately knew something was wrong.”

Sassy suddenly wouldn’t walk, and even when popped on the floor and encouraged by her mum, she would just lean forward with her arms.

Tammy and partner Reece then started to check her legs to see if what was wrong was physically obvious, but didn’t find anything.

Naturally, she headed straight to her GP, where the toddler projectile-vomited after her doc examined her stomach, leading them to think she was suffering a nasty stomach bug.

Tammy was sent home and told to give her child plenty of fluids – but when they all woke the next morning, her mum senses were tingling, telling her something still wasn’t right.

Saskia was rushed to hospital and was placed on a drip to keep her hydrated for the suspected stomach bug, and sent home again to rest.

However, after lots of back and forth and everyone generally still believing it was a stomach bug, Tammy was shocked to see Sassy’s “eyes were literally rolling around everywhere. They were going cross-eyed, I almost had a heart attack.”

Docs couldn’t see any eye-rolling – it had stopped by time she’d made it to the practice – so it was difficult to diagnose.

In her YouTube vid on the subject, Tammy revealed she headed to the doctors yet again, after the eye-rolling happened a second time. There, they also tested Saskia’s ability to walk.

“The doctor put her on the ground to see if she could walk, but because she wasn’t far enough away from me and kept clambering on to my lap, he said she could walk but didn’t want to,” she admitted.

“At that point, I was thinking “no, she actually can’t walk”, but you trust a doctor and I thought he was probably right, I’m probably just overreacting.

“She kept vomiting and her eyes started getting worse and worse. Basically, it became constant. They wouldn’t focus on anything. They’d roll up and then flicker back down, then roll up and go cross-eyed.”

Eventually, little Saskia was diagnosed with Acute Cerebellar Ataxia – which in childhood typically means an inflammation in the part of the brain that controls body movements (the cerebellum).

(In Saskia’s case, it was caused by a virus, and was a pretty rare reaction.)

After being given some anti-viral and antibiotic medications, Saskia was on the mend within days, has even begun walking again, and is generally much less wobbly.

Phew ?

Now, we didn’t wanna share a story that might worry someone – oftentimes a stomach bug is just a stomach bug, right? And to be fair, this sounds like a really difficult thing to diagnose.

However, we DO want to share stories about mums listening to their guts when it comes to their child’s health.

Many of us just *know* when something deeper’s going on, and if you genuinely believe something’s not right, you should certainly follow that feeling.

We’re really glad that Tammy did – despite starting to worry and think that maybe she was overreacting. She certainly wasn’t!

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Image: Instagram/Tammy Hembrow

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