Navigating life since my daughter’s diabetes diagnosis
My daughter Kynsie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 4 years old after her pre-k teacher noticed she was very thirsty at school. We began noticing other symptoms and decided to take her to the pediatrician. Her blood sugar was over 600. We were told to head straight to the hospital. Nothing could prepare us for the emotional and physical journey ahead.
She was hospitalized for four days. Watching her get shots and finger pricks for the first time was heartbreaking, and learning how to give her shots was even worse. Receiving all these new supplies and learning how to use them, count carbs and change our diet while watching Kynsie suffer emotionally was indescribable. We first felt completely shocked and then intensely sad and worried knowing there is no cure for diabetes.
For the first year, Kynsie got 4-6 shots of insulin and finger pricks to check her glucose level throughout the day. Her blood sugar was unstable most of the time. She endured low lows, high highs and everything in between. Dropping down from being high caused severe headaches. Lows made her dizzy, have slurred speech and feel lethargic. She often cried and asked why this was happening to her. After a year and half of getting shots every day, we began using the Omnipod insulin pump, which meant more stable blood sugar and no longer enduring shots every day.
There were many sleepless nights and stressful days managing blood sugar. We were in constant communication with school nurses throughout the day and did classroom visits to help educate staff and students through book reading and activities. Our main goal was to support Kynsie any way we could. We adjusted our lifestyle with a goal of preparing her to make healthy choices.
Thanks to Omnipod, Dexcom and a great support system, Kynsie is doing much better. She is now 12 and hasn’t been hospitalized since her diagnosis. The initial shock is over, and this is part of her regular routine. She typically manages her diabetes by checking her blood sugar on her phone consistently, counting carbs and measuring her food and remembering to bolus before each meal. Since her diagnosis, Kynsie has grown into her new normal and has been brave enough to speak about type 1 diabetes. She’s shared information with her teachers, classmates and family. Along with her school nurse and teachers, she organized a day where the entire school wore blue during Diabetes Awareness Month. In addition to managing her health, she is a straight A student, plays the clarinet in her school band, and has participated in gymnastics, softball and cheerleading.
If you are walking a similar path, know that it gets easier with time. Give yourself grace during those times when diabetes seems unmanageable. Do the best you can to instill healthy eating habits and management techniques. Draw upon the available resources. The first two years after Kynsie’s diagnosis, I joined Facebook groups for parents of type 1 diabetics. This helped tremendously because I no longer felt alone. The support, advice and friendships formed were a positive influence during our toughest time period as a family.
We have been blessed with an awesome endocrinology team who has not only supported Kynsie physically but mentally. We appreciate her school nurses, teachers and family members who have gone above and beyond to care for her. We are so proud of how responsible Kynsie has been with managing her diabetes, the bravery she has shown and the beautiful girl she is inside and out.
Kijai Moreland and Corey Moreland are the parents of Advocate Children’s Hospital patient Kynsie.
About the Author
Kijai Moreland and Corey Moreland are the parents of Advocate Children's Hospital patient Kynsie.