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Joey

Type 1 Diabetes Success Story

The following video illustrates how far Joey has progressed in nearly 10 months since being diagnosed with T1D

Joey was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at five years old in August of 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. “Even during potty training, he never wet the bed,” said his mother Yazerin.  “So, when he started suddenly wetting the bed, I knew something wasn’t right.”  He was also extremely thirsty, fatigued and lost some weight.  Joey’s pediatrician immediately recognized these as symptoms of T1D and performed an A1c test that showed elevated blood sugars.  He referred Yazerin to the pediatric diabetes clinic at the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center, where the type 1 diabetes diagnosis was confirmed.        

Joey was admitted to the hospital for a three night “crash course,” where she was taught all of the T1D survival skills needed to properly treat him once they returned home.  “I was overwhelmed with so much new information,” she said.  “It was a lot to consume in a short period of time before we could go home, but I told myself ‘I can do this.’  But at the same time, I was really nervous and scared.  At first it was really challenging.”

Yazerin always knew that “it takes a village to raise a child,” but now understands that “raising a child with T1D takes a team.”  She’s extremely grateful for Joey’s diabetes care team including his endocrinologist, Dr. Leslie Soyka, the diabetes nurse educators, social worker and child life specialists.

“Joey had a difficult hospital experience when he was first diagnosed. He was terrified of all procedures and was often inconsolable during them,” said Nicole Sauvé, child life specialist at UMass Memorial Health.  “With the support from the whole care team, Joey is now coping beautifully and even participates in his own care. We are so proud of him!”  

Child life specialists work closely with the pediatric diabetes care team to provide age appropriate therapeutic activities and procedural support.

“Everyone including the front desk receptionists have been phenomenal helping us learn and understand everything,” Yazerin said.  “They’re all so kind and patient, answer my questions and address all of my concerns.”

She appreciates the educational videos provided during their hospital stay covering topics ranging from introduction to insulin, glucose monitoring, how to recognize and treat hypoglycemia & hyperglycemia, sick days, checking for ketones and others. “Watching those videos helped teach me so much of the information I had to learn,” she said.  “Now, I can go online and re-watch them as needed for a refresher on any particular subject.”   

Yazerin realizes that even as they’re approaching one year with T1D, there are still new situations that arise, but she never hesitates to ask the care team.  “They’re always willing to help, encourage, motivate and teach me!”

The pandemic delayed the start of Joey’s in-person kindergarten classes.  The school nurse has been very helpful.  She meets them at the front door each morning, gives Joey his lunchtime injection, keeps track of his blood sugars and communicates with Yazerin regularly as needed.

The list of “firsts” will continue.  Yazerin and Joey will be taking their first vacation since his diagnosis, including his first plane ride.  He also plans to start playing basketball and/or baseball.  They’ll rely on their diabetes care team to help them navigate these new experiences and any additional needs that arise as they continue through their new normal of life with T1D. 

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