Amber Williams describes her 9-year-old son, Cory, as full of life, smiles and giggles, and a sports lover. It was difficult for her to watch him struggle for months with periods of fatigue, weakness, rashes and joint pain.
“He was more sick than normal; he stayed sick longer and appeared to get tired easily,” reflects Amber. When Cory started becoming excessively thirsty and was frequently urinating, his parents knew something was not right.
Their family physician, Emily Cooper, MD, at St. Mary’s Family Physicians, tested Cory for a urinary tract infection. The results showed the glucose in his urine was high. “We were sent directly to the St. Mary’s Regional Emergency Department,” Amber recalls. “Cory was really sick.”
Cory was preliminarily diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and admitted to the hospital for three days. “Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin,” explains Dr. Cooper.
Cory describes it as, “My body doesn’t produce insulin anymore. It’s not fun and it’s really a pain.”
During Cory’s hospitalization, the family met with a nurse and a pharmacist, who explained how to administer insulin and how it works. A dietitian spent hours teaching them how to count carbs and calculate insulin dosages. After Cory’s discharge from the hospital, Dr. Cooper started him on insulin treatment and referred him to a pediatric endocrinologist.
Living Life with a Chronic Condition
A year later, Cory attends school, is active in sports and uses a continuous glucose monitor to continuously monitor blood sugar. “Cory counts every carbohydrate he eats and then calculates how much insulin he needs,” says Amber. During sports, adjustments are made to help him feel his best.
“It is a lot of math and a lot of sleepless nights,” says Amber. “You’re constantly fighting to keep blood sugar in range.”
A vital part of managing diabetes is teaching how to manage the stress of it all. “If he sees me fall apart, what will that teach him? He never complains, so I won’t either. Diabetes hasn’t slowed him down. He has taken his diagnosis, accepted it and lives life to the fullest,” concludes Amber.
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