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#AmazingIs Stories, Mighty Blog

A family affected by type 1 diabetes doesn’t let the disease stand in their way

fullsizerender-9With four sons all under age 6, Megan and Jon from Shakopee, Minnesota, are well aware of the lifelong need for high-quality medical care for their family. Beyond basic health care, they also have to manage their twin boys’ chronic disease every day.

Four-year-old twins Lincoln and Leland were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just after their first birthdays. Megan and Jon were devastated to learn that the boys would face daily needle pokes and medicine regulation, in addition to running the risk of serious complications related to the disease like kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, heart attack and stroke. These are hassles that Megan in particular was already deeply aware of since she has type 1 diabetes, too.

Type 1 diabetes is a 24/7 disease. All day, every day, Megan and Jon are tasked with keeping a constant watch on their sons’ blood sugar levels so they don’t get too high or too low. They have to adjust medication levels after every meal and snack, and test both boys’ blood sugar levels seven times a day, including the middle of the night. The boys’ glucose monitors must be calibrated twice a day for accuracy and moved to a different area of the body every 7-14 days. Similarly, their insulin pumps have to be moved every 2-3 days.

2996The diabetes and endocrine program at Children’s Minnesota is dedicated to treating kids like Lincoln and Leland so they can live life to the fullest, just like any other kid. Children’s McNeely Pediatric Diabetes Center offers the latest technology, drug therapies and devices to help patients dealing with diabetes and endocrine disorders, and its large team of experts cares for more young patients with type 1 diabetes than any other medical center in the state.

“Children’s Minnesota is really great,” says Megan. “The doctors make you feel comfortable, answer your questions and you can always contact them directly. You know you have a team you can always reach even when you go home.”

Given the prevalence of diabetes in their family, it was important to Megan and Jon to keep an eye on their other sons’ health and monitor for signs of diabetes. To do this, they enrolled Lincoln and Leland’s siblings who do not have type 1 diabetes in a research study at Children’s Minnesota. This gives Megan and Jon the peace of mind that any potential diabetes-related health issues will be caught – and treated – early. Studies like this are made possible through generous donations from the community.

Since type 1 diabetes already affects 1.25 million Americans and 40,000 additional people are diagnosed each year, the research study not only helps Megan and Jon breathe easier, it also allows Children’s Minnesota to learn even more about the disease to better help children like Lincoln and Leland in the future.

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Kristin Tesmer