Hip Hop dancing with Type 1 – Brody’s got this!

Brody Coomler shares his insights on living with type 1 diabetesHip hop dancing can be tough for anyone, but not for Brody – a seventh-grader living with the challenges of Type 1 diabetes.

“Diabetes doesn’t change who I am,” said twelve-year-old Brody. “But it is a disease that I have to manage on a constant basis in order to stay safe.”

The moves? Brody’s practiced for years. The look? He’s got it on lock. The music? Please. So what happens when his insulin pump comes out during a performance? Brody’s got this.

Brody doesn’t miss a single beat – incorporating the pump wires into his routine.

The situation is a metaphor for Brody’s life. When Type 1 diabetes unexpectedly surfaced – he didn’t let it affect his dance, and Brody doesn’t let Type 1 stop him from playing basketball, gaming, learning to play the tuba or experiencing all life’s got to offer.

But Brody says it much better. “Don’t let type one diabetes stop you from doing anything!”

At four, Brody and his family learned his pancreas was creating little to no insulin – the hormone that regulates blood sugar. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a chronic and life-long condition that causes blood sugar to spike and fall unexpectedly.

Surging blood sugar levels are far more than a nuisance, they can lead to serious medical complications and death if not properly managed through insulin therapy.

“I have to check [my blood sugar] before meals and before bed,” Brody explained. “If I’m feeling like my blood sugar is too high or if I’m feeling like my blood sugar is too low I have to test. I am very active and so I have to test before I play any sports or any dancing. Monitoring my blood sugar is a big part of having diabetes.”

Even though this brave young-man doesn’t let Type 1 slow him down, he admits his life would be different if there was a cure.

“I would definitely be free from having to test my blood sugar, put on new insulin pump sites or wear a continuous glucose monitor – things like that,” Brody said. “I wouldn’t get sick as much as I get sick now. My mom wouldn’t call me as much.”

You can help kids like Brody by supporting Type 1 research through events like the JDRF Sip, Savor & Celebrate being held Friday, March 23 at La Encantada. Festivities start at 6 p.m. – enjoy live music, fantastic food and drink, and help move research closer to a cure.

Purchase tickets at www.celebratejdrf.com or call (520) 203-8084.

When your child is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes

type one diabetes diagnosed

“Our biggest goal in properly managing diabetes is to help the patient and family achieve a lifetime of good health.”

Dr. Priti and Chetanbabu M. Patel, TMCOne pediatric endocrinolgists

If your child has received a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis you may be feeling overwhelmed. While the condition develops gradually, the symptoms can seem to appear overnight.

Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes

  • Excessive thirst
  • Hunger or loss of appetite
  • Dry skin
  • Blurry vision
  • Numbness
  • Fruity breath
  • Excessive urination
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Weakness
  • Delays in wound repair or infection control
  • Nausea and vomiting

Not all children will present with the same signs and symptoms. Some children may present with few or none of the above symptoms and some children may present with many.

Is there a cure for Type 1 diabetes?

While there isn’t a cure yet, the past decade and specifically since about 2014, leading-edge technology is helping the diabetes community.

Today some insulin pumps are capable of making micro adjustments to help the patient curb hyperglycemia (low blood sugar) and can turn off the insulin supply if the patient is experiencing hypoglycemia.

Continuous glucose monitors allow patients and families to glance at a screen at any moment to see glucose levels in real time. These advancements are without a doubt life-changing.

However, we still have not discovered the elusive cure. Until that time, it is imperative children with diabetes and their families feel supported and confident in their ability to control blood glucose levels. Please remember people with diabetes do incredible things every day. There are actors, Olympians, scientists and neurosurgeons with diabetes. People with diabetes can live long, productive and healthy lives!

Why is it so important that my child learns to manage Type 1 diabetes?

“We know that if we can help get the glucose (sugar) levels down in the first 5 years, those children will have a smaller number of complications than children who were not able to properly manage their diabetes,” said Dr. Patel. “The three main complications we try to prevent as an adult or older teenager are eye disease, kidney disease and nerve disease.”

Type 1 diabetes is a life-long condition with life-threatening implications if not under control. We know the habits children develop at an early age can stay with them for a lifetime. If children remain supported and encouraged to care for themselves early on, they can develop positive coping skills which can help keep them healthy and happy into adulthood.

What does it mean to ‘manage’ diabetes?

When people with Type 1 diabetes eat carbohydrates–whether whole wheat bread, pasta, fruit or candy–they must inject insulin into their body to help their body move the glucose out of the blood stream and into the cells. You must figure out just how much insulin to inject based upon the amount of carbohydrates consumed. As children’s bodies are constantly growing their insulin needs increase making this adjustment an ever changing target.

Learning how to count carbohydrates at every meal can be demanding for a family. Even families with the best routine can easily forget to cover carbohydrates at a busy family event or on a long road trip. The reality of it is that sometimes life gets in the way. Learning to plan, cope, organize and forgive yourself are some of the best tools for any new Type 1 diabetes family.

The child’s pediatric endocrinology team can be a support system to help the family understand how to safely manage changes in insulin requirements.

What should I do if I think my child may have Type 1 diabetes?

As noted earlier, some children present with few or none of the symptoms listed above, and some children may present with many.

Remember, children go through growth spurts and might ask for more water, might sleep a little more or might be constantly hungry. These symptoms might seem normal, but they could also be clues to a potential diabetes diagnosis.

If you’re concerned, don’t delay. Ask your child’s primary care provider for a glucose test. Depending on the result, the PCP may order additional tests, may start your child on insulin or have your child admitted to the hospital for close monitoring.

Don’t doubt your parental gut feeling! Untreated diabetes can escalate quickly to critical diagnoses like diabetes ketoacidosis or coma. If your child DOES have diabetes, TMC and TMCOne can form a team to help support your child to learn to care for this manageable chronic condition.

You can find the TMCOne pediatric endocrinologist contact information here.

“Diabetes doesn’t change who I am”

Brody Coomler shares his insights on living with type 1 diabetesTwelve year-old Brody Coomler refuses to let type 1 diabetes define him – he explains how a seventh grader balances a full schedule with the challenges of diabetes.  

He’s an avid basketball player, he’s a hip-hop dancer, he plays the tuba and he’s a gamer. Brody is an active and enthusiastic tween who doesn’t let diabetes keep him from doing the things he’s passionate about.

At four, Brody and his family learned his pancreas was creating little to no insulin – the hormone that regulates blood sugar. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a chronic and life-long condition that causes blood sugar to spike and fall unexpectedly.

Surging blood sugar levels are far more than a nuisance, they can lead to serious medical complications and death if not properly managed through insulin therapy.

Managing Type 1 diabetes can be demanding, especially for a young person. During National Diabetes Awareness Month, Brody shares how monitoring diabetes is part of his life, but hasn’t taken it over.

What does having Type 1 diabetes mean to you?

Diabetes doesn’t change who I am. But it is a disease that I have to manage on a constant basis in order to stay safe.

Do you have to check your blood sugar all the time?

Yes, I do! I have to check before meals and before bed. If I’m feeling like my blood sugar is too high or if I’m feeling like my blood sugar is too low I have to test. I am very active and so I have to test before I play any sports or any dancing. Monitoring my blood sugar is a big part of having diabetes.

Do you have a special diet?

No, I don’t have a special diet. But like anyone I have to watch what I eat. I count my carbohydrates so that I can dose my insulin based on what I’m eating.

Does diabetes ever get in the way of sports or hobbies?

It definitely does. When I have low blood sugar I have to sit out of a sport or not be able to participate. I have to make sure that my blood sugars are in good range so that not only am I safe but also so that I can perform.

What do you want people to know about having Type 1 diabetes?

Don’t let Type one diabetes stop you from doing anything!

How would things be different for you if there was a cure?

I don’t let diabetes hold me back, but I would definitely be more free from having to test my blood sugar, put on new insulin pump sites or wear a continuous glucose monitor – things like that. I wouldn’t get sick as much as I get sick now. My mom wouldn’t call me as much.

What would you tell a friend who just found out they have Type 1 diabetes?

I would suggest that they make other friends who have Type 1 diabetes so that they can help one another. My friends with diabetes are a good support to me. You can expect the unexpected. You get to have some fun times and meet people that you didn’t think that you would otherwise meet.

For more information about Type 1 diabetes and how you can support research for a cure, visit the JDRF website or call (800) 533-CURE (2873).

TMCOne provides adult and pediatric endocrinology services – for more call (520) 324-4900.

 


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461