Dear Family and Friends,
How quickly the years are passing by! Ryann is 8 years old already. It seems impossible that we’ve been managing her Type 1 diabetes for more than 6 of those years. We’ve all learned a lot since that day she was diagnosed at aged 19 months on October 30, 2006.
Ryann went from being a shy timid little girl to an outgoing and smart 3rd grader in September. She loves going to school and can now multiply and read chapter books. Ryann participated in basketball during the winter and tennis this summer. She also started karate in the winter. She is now a green belt and has started sparring. Sparring is “free form” fighting with a few rules and lots of pads. She is very excited about her karate and sparring. She has also found out how much fun roller skating can be, and, of course, still swims like a fish.
Sleep-overs are a big deal for 8-year-olds. It’s a bigger deal for Ryann. She has been to two of them this year. Her friends’ parents have to be willing to check her and know what to do if she has a low blood sugar. We’re always just a phone call away if they need help but if she ends up staying too high or too low she may have to come back home. Thank goodness she has great friends with awesome parents.
All of this sounds normal for an 8-year-old – and it is! However, Ryann needs to manage another complex part of her life that is a 24/7 job. Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is always there. She continually needs to be aware of how her body is responding to the activity she is doing by checking her blood sugars. And she has to be ready to act if something isn’t right. Lots of activity can make blood sugar drop dangerously low. Sometimes she can “feel” if she is low and sometimes she can’t. That’s why we check, check and check again to make sure her blood sugars are in a good range. We continue to check her blood sugar with every meal, before bed and during the night.
Ryann has begun to take on the responsibility, under adult supervision, of checking herself during the day. She is tracking her carbs and programming the OmniPod for the appropriate amount of insulin. (Mom writes down the carbs for her lunches at school). This is a very big step in her life journey.
Ryann is why we work so hard to help JDRF find a cure for T1D – but there are thousands of kids just like Ryann out there. The researchers are getting closer, but still have a lot of work to do. We want Ryann to be able to play a sport or do Karate without having to stop and check herself; without having to drink juice to bring her blood sugars back up; to be able to go to her friend’s house without making the parents nervous about caring for her while she is there; without carrying her insulin kit with her wherever she goes. Those are things an 8-year-old should not have to worry about.
We will once again be participating in the Walk to Cure Diabetes, on September 14, at the Milwaukee County Zoo. If you would like to sponsor our team, Ryann’s Yellow Ducks, with a donation online you can go here: http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/ryannsyellowducks1 Or if you prefer you can mail a check made out to JDRF to the Gutkenchts at 12725 W. Manitoba Ave, New Berlin, WI 53151.
Thank you for your support!
Julie, Paul, Ryann and Drew
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