In this article, find out what a mom of four children with diabetes wishes you knew.
Taking care of one child with diabetes is beyond my ability. Four, though? It’s inconceivable to believe that this is the case. The Hayes family in Colorado, however, lives in a world where this is a fact. Bubba and Julie Hayes’ children have type 1 diabetes in four out of five cases.
They began their journey in 2004 when their 3-year-old daughter Ashley was diagnosed. Astonishingly, Ashley’s twin sister Emily was shortly diagnosed with the same disease that had affected her sister. Melanie, Melanie’s younger sister, was diagnosed at the age of 11 five years later. Three years later, McGuire was diagnosed with cancer.
Hayes stated, “It’s fairly shocking every time, but it’s more alarming the first time.” According to her, you’ll have to learn everything from scratch on how to care for a new baby all over again. Simple duties like making supper, which she had taken for granted before her first kid was diagnosed, now seem intimidating to Hayes.
Hayes isn’t the only one who feels this way. Because, despite the fact that having four children with diabetes is an unusual occurrence, the condition itself, in which the body fails to generate insulin, is common. In fact, a new case of diabetes is discovered in the United States every 23 seconds.
About 29 million people, or one in every eleven Americans, are thought to be affected by the disease. There are only 5% of persons with diabetes who have type 1, which is typically diagnosed in childhood, like the Hayes children.
In the end, Hayes and her husband were able to keep their four children’s glucose levels in check. She says on their Dexcom Warriors page that all of that changed in September of last year. “When I went to wake Emily up, I couldn’t get her to move.
At this point, she’d descended to the point of seizures and cardiac arrest. Her consciousness was briefly restored by glucagon, but she was otherwise unharmed. Nevertheless, witnessing your child go through this is such a horrible experience that I couldn’t continue to live in constant terror that this may happen to any of the children at any time.”
A continuous glucose monitoring system, such as the Dexcom G5TM Mobile CGM System, was installed at that time. As a sensor, it communicates with a mobile device. It’s like carrying a diabetes management board with you at all times. Also, she says, “We now have greater information, so I have been able to make adjustments to the kids’ insulin therapy depending on the trends and patterns I notice.”
For example, when Hayes’ children were constantly pricking their fingers, Hayes was unable to do anything but respond. Now, she is able to be proactive instead of reactive. At the time, she seemed to be “blind” to what was going on around her.
Still, Hayes has concerns. She wakes up several times a night to “be her children’s pancreas,” and this is how she spends most nights. In the event that someone “gets low,” she’ll wake them up and give them juice to rehydrate.
Nevertheless, she offers this advice to other parents in her position, who have recently learned of a child’s condition and are worried about the future. As Hayes put it, “There are worse things.” Consider the fact that Ashley and Emily are BMX bike racers at the Olympics!
Participate in the American Diabetes Association’s This Is Diabetes Campaign during American Diabetes Month this November by using the hashtag #ThisIsDiabetes to promote awareness about diabetes and/or share your own experience.
Meaningful articles you might like: Diagnosing and Caring for Children with Type 1 Diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes May Be Linked to Childhood Trauma, Five-Year-Old Girl Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes: A Family’s Perspective