Life for Richard and Amanda Humphrey means constantly focusing on their five-year-old son, Tommy, and controlling his Type 1 diabetes. For Amanda, a CNA on 6th Floor Hospital, and Richard, it’s been 16 months of sleepless nights since Tommy’s diagnosis.
But in October 2018, the family received a welcomed distraction with a trip to Disney World courtesy of the Dream Factory. The family, along with daughter, Layla, 16 months, packed their bags for Florida.
They stayed at Give Kids the World, a magical place for kids with terminal illnesses. They enjoyed swimming pools, carousels, roller coasters and playgrounds, plus tickets to Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World.
“Tommy still can’t stop talking about Woody and Popeye,” Amanda laughed. “We are so thankful to have those memories from our trip.”
Tommy was just 3 years old when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, previously called juvenile diabetes. The chronic condition can occur at any age and is now more common in adults.
About 40,000 adults and just under 19,000 youth will be diagnosed this year.
Tommy wears an implanted monitor that constantly checks his blood. An alert sounds if his blood sugar is too high or too low, which can occur at any hour. His insulin must be adjusted appropriately and quickly.
Eating out is a carefully calculated activity. Amanda and Richard must determine the number of carbohydrates in the meal, which can affect Tommy’s blood sugar levels. Physical activity also impacts their son’s health by lowering blood glucose levels.
Now, age 5, he participates in sporting activities. Snacks and juice are readily available if levels drop suddenly. “If we misjudge any of our calculations, it could be life threatening,” Amanda explained.
With no close family members with diabetes, Amanda admits, “We just drew the straw with diabetes in our gene stream. Even diabetic parents only have a 10% chance of having a child with diabetes.”
Because of the knowledge she has acquired since Tommy’s diagnosis, Amanda hopes to become a diabetes educator to help adults and other children.
Warning Signs of Diabetes
• Blurry vision
• Extreme hunger and/or fatigue
• Frequent urination
• Slow healing cuts and/or bruises
• Tingling, numbness or pain in hands and/or feet
• Unexplained weight loss
• Unquenchable thirst
Source: American Diabetes Association