PUGWASH – Living with a new diagnosis of Juvenile Diabetes can sometimes be a fulltime job, as one family can attest.
Scott Bingham and his wife, Leanne, used to live in Truro, but now the young family calls Pugwash home. But that won’t stop them from participating in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s 2018 Sun Life Walk to Cure Diabetes for JDRF later this month. Their four-year-old daughter, Breanna, was diagnosed last year.
“She was peeing like crazy,” Scott said, about when they knew something was off with Breanna. “We thought she was in potty (training) regression.”
Having been around a number of diabetics over the years, Scott said they suspected diabetes might be at play because she had some other common symptoms. She was tested, and they learned in March 2017 of the diagnosis.
“It can be stressful, and very tiring,” said Scott of the day-to-day living. “It’s a fulltime job – we want her to have her childhood but we’re continually checking her glucose monitor and insulin pump.”
Leanne said no two days are the same, and it can be different things at different times that make things more difficult.
“At first, it was very overwhelming. But now, it’s about keeping her sugars in range. She’s like any child – sometimes she eats, sometimes she doesn’t, and sometimes she sneaks food,” Leanne said.
Scott said at Breanna’s age, having diabetes is “huge”, especially when it comes to all the poking and prodding. As a parent, he also doesn’t want to have to poke his own child.
Financially, he said, it can also be a strain.
“We haven’t had to change our eating habits – we try to eat healthy as a family already – but eating is more of a process. Now we’re counting every carb. We’re trying to run her life as normal as possible.”
Living in Pugwash, Scott said Breanna doesn’t know many children her own age who have been diagnosed, so that’s one of the reasons the family will be participating in the annual walk, set for Sept. 29 at Victoria Park.
“And as a parent, it’s nice to be around other adults who know the lingo and the lifestyle,” he said. “But the main thing is for her to know she’s not the only child like this. We want her to know there are other children with the same devices.”
He said by participating in events such as the walk in support of foundation will be a positive thing for Breanna, where she can look for the community and camaraderie. They didn’t participate last year as it was “too much,” according to Scott.
“We hope it will help her down the road so she can deal with this in a more positive way,” he said.
From the research side of things, while there is currently no cure, Scott said any sort of development – toward a cure or other advancements – will make for a better life moving forward.
The Walk to Cure Diabetes will begin Sept. 29 at Victoria Park in Truro with check-in at 9 a.m. The walk will begin at 10. This is the 25th year for the walk in Canada, which brings together many children and adults diagnosed with type 1 diabetes while raising money used for researching a cure. Participants can register online at jdrf.ca, where they can also collect pledges. Refreshments and music will be held at the park following the walk.