Aussie fitness star Tammy Hembrow has shared a YouTube video detailing the terrifying experience of having her daughter hospitalised over the holidays.
The mum-of-two revealed that her one-year-old, Saskia, was diagnosed with acute cerebellar ataxia after multiple visits to the hospital, with doctors first telling her it was a stomach bug, then suggesting it was the heat.
The 23-year-old said she has been inundated with questions from her 7.6 million followers with a lot of mums asking about the symptoms and cause of the medical condition.
“When Saskia woke up from a nap I went to change her nappy and as soon as I put her down she started screaming, as if she was in pain or something. She’d never done that before,” Tammy said.
“I put her down to see if she would stand up and she couldn’t stand. She couldn’t even try to stand.”
She felt all over Saskia’s body to see if there was an injury causing her pain but couldn’t find anything obvious. Tammy took her to the doctor where during the examination, Saskia projectile vomited, leading the doctor to suggest that it was a stomach bug.
A little more at ease, Tammy took her home and kept her hydrated with clear fluids.
“The next morning she was super sick again, throwing up straight away when she woke up,” Tammy said. “I took her back to the hospital and I was telling them how she still couldn’t walk and they explained how when you have a stomach bug, your body hurts. But I thought it was weird. I felt like something else was wrong.”
Saskia was admitted to hospital and was given a drip to combat dehydration, with doctors still thinking it was a stomach bug.
“In the morning she was holding down food. She seemed a lot better and I thought ‘let’s go home’,” Tammy said. “We went home, she had a nap, and as soon as she woke up her eyes were literally rolling around everywhere. They were going cross-eyed. I almost had a heart attack, thinking ‘what is going on?'”
“I was just freaking out, what the hell is happening to my baby.”
Tammy took her daughter back to the hospital but the symptoms weren’t occurring in front of the doctor.
“The doctor said she was fine, and you trust a doctor. I was telling him about the eye thing and he said maybe she was hot or tired.”
She was admitted again for observation and overnight her condition deteriorated.
“That night was the most terrifying night for me,” Tammy said. “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. It was the scariest thing to watch.”
“I got the nurses in to see what was happening and I filmed it on my phone in case it stopped.”
The doctor wasn’t able to see Saskia until the morning, that’s when he concluded that it was something more serious and she was transferred to another hospital for an MRI and spinal tap.
Tammy says the main symptoms were the vomiting, eye rolling and twitching, and inability to walk or balance.
“It was almost like she had vertigo.”
The MRI and spinal tap came back clear but they ran a number of other tests to find out what it was.
“We were there, in hospital, for a week, they started her on antibiotics and anti-viral medication, just in case,” Tammy said.
“After a couple of days she was so much better, sitting up and standing and finally walking again.”
Saskia was finally diagnosed with acute cerebellar ataxia – a disorder that occurs when the cerebellum becomes inflamed or damaged, often affecting children after an acute viral illness or vaccination. Sufferers normally make a full recovery in a few weeks or months with no lasting damage.
Fortunately, she is on the mend and now fully walking.
“Anything to do with the brain is really scary, but they said there are no long-term effects,” Tammy said
You can watch her video in full below.