Living with Type 1 Diabetes

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On the surface, Tynlee Murray looks like your normal, everyday nine-year-old little girl.

She goes to school, she plays basketball and was a part of the Veterans Day tribute program last week.

But after getting the flu one winter, again like most kids do, she was put into a battle that she will live with for the rest of her life with Type 1 Diabetes.

Tynlee’s mother, Jennifer, said for about six months after that flu bout, Tynlee continued to not feel well and was diagnosed with a number of ailments.

“A lot of times it’s misdiagnosed as the flu, stomach bug or something like that,” Jennifer said. “She was drinking four or five glasses of water a night, constantly going to the bathroom, started having accidents, etc. She was constantly getting diagnosed with UTIs (urinary tract infections) but didn’t have UTIs. She was getting sugar in her blood and never got checked for it (diabetes).”

Tynlee also had a large weight loss, which her parents had thought was the result of a growth spurt.

“She lost almost 15 pounds,” Jennifer said. “That was in December when she had the flu. But she was also growing and getting taller. That’s also a very common thing.”

On July 5, 2018, Tynlee was finally diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after a trip to urgent care.

“We were on our way to Amarillo and it had been gnawing at me for months that something else was going on,” Jennifer said. “Something else is  wrong. We’re not catching something. So I did my own research and I took her into an urgent care and said I wanted her finger checked.

“They did it and her blood sugar was 598. From there we were sent to the pediatric ICU for four days and they started her on insulin and taught us all that goes along with it.”

Tynlee’s diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes came as a result of the flu causing the body to attack the pancreas and destroy the insulin producers.

Now, Tynlee receives insulin with every meal.

“Any time she eats a snack, drink or anything we have to do calculations on how much she will need to cover that,” Jennifer said. “Her pancreas don’t produce any insulin at all.”

Tynlee also wears a monitor (that sends data to her phone) and a pump that she changes every three days.

“We put in her carbs and it does all of the calculations for us,” Jennifer said. “We just monitor it.”

Tynlee is able to eat anything she wants as long as she keeps up with her intake.

“That’s another misconception,” Jennifer said. “A lot of Type 2 diabetics have their blood sugar controlled by their diet. But with them, whatever they eat the pancreas is already covering them by producing the insulin. Whatever she eats, that’s not what is happening. So we give her the shot to cover it.”

Jennifer added that Tynlee usually doesn’t have to get her finger pricked to check, unless there is a need for a much more accurate reading.

Because of the advances in modern medicine and the management of her Type 1 diabetes, Tynlee is still able to have a good quality of life.

“Can she have ice cream? Yes, but does anyone need to eat ice cream every day? Absolutely not,” Jennifer said. “She can have what she wants, can exercise, etc. We found a lot of athletes that are Type 1 diabetics.”

Tynlee goes to the doctor every six months and has check ins.

For a long time, Type 1 diabetes was referred to as juvenile diabetes, but that is a misconception that has been dispelled.

“It’s not just children who get diagnosed with it,” Jennifer said. “Adults often get misdiagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and keep getting sick, when it’s often Type 1 diabetes. The care of a Type 1 is so much more intense than the care of a Type 2.”

The main difference between the two types of diabetes is that type 1 diabetes is a genetic disorder that often shows up early in life, and type 2 is largely diet-related and develops over time.

The Pampa News would like to thank Jennifer and Tynlee for sharing their story and helping to raise awareness for Type 1 Diabetes. November is also National Diabetes Month and for more information on Type 1 Diabetes, go to www.beyondtype1.org.

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