Type1 mom “diabetes happened for a reason” community timesjournal.com signs of a concussion pupils

The Lions Club of Jackson and T1d Connection would like for you to meet The Newkirk Family; Michael and Kristin live just outside of Jackson, with their two daughters Kate, four, and Klaire, who will be two this month. Michael works for Kenworth and Kristin is a Family Nurse Practitioner who practices for Adena Health Systems Endocrinology Department. This busy family juggles full-time jobs along with their two active toddlers. They have several pets in their “zoo”. They love spending time in the backyard, Ohio State, the beach, and all things Disney. Kristin says She’s not rushing time but is looking forward to their children participating in 4-H and the county fair.

When Kristin was 11 years old, her parents noticed her having extreme thirst, frequent urination, and rapid weight loss.

A visit to her pediatrician at Adena in Chillicothe brought about the diagnosis of Type1 diabetes. She was admitted to the Pediatric floor where she and her parents were educated about juvenile diabetes. The treatment available at that time were much less user friendly 19 years ago than they are today.

Kristin is an experienced historian and has first-hand knowledge of how far treatment has come. Insulin was discovered LESS than 100 years ago. Glucose monitoring has come so far as well. We now have insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors; and a lot of new advances in the “artificial pancreas technology” meaning the pumps and CGMs work together to titrate insulin with much less input and thought from the patient. Kristin’s favorite advancement would be Dexcom — a continuous glucose monitor that tests glucose every five minutes meaning many less finger sticks throughout the day.

As a child Kristin attended diabetes camp, the camp environment has a huge role in psychosocial development of diabetic kids (or any child with a chronic disease). All campers are diabetic as well as most of the staff, and even some of the medical staff. She says that she is still incredibly close with many of those she went to camp with. She cites that it’s so nice to have someone to text or call who totally understands the roller coaster of diabetes. When her schedule allows, she loves going back to Camp Hamwi through the Central Ohio Diabetic Association to volunteer. The camp has two sessions at the end of July/first of August each year). She urges every type1 child to go to camp.

Kristin’s initial career goal was to be a diabetes education nurse, however, her cousin talked her into going straight for her masters degree to be a NP. After a couple of different NP positions she was offered a position at Adena, which is where she was born, and diagnosed. She now works regularly with the same diabetes educators who treated her during her initial diagnosis period until now. She says “I truly have my dream job; I think my diabetes happened for a reason”.

Kristin chose to deliver at OSU due to potential complications. Her oldest had a long NICU stay for both diabetes- and non-diabetes-related issues; her second daughter had absolutely no issues following delivery. Both are perfectly healthy now.

Many Type1 moms are concerned about their own children developing Type1. Kristin has written many papers over the years on Type1, and the current statistics are that if dad is Type1, there is a higher risk for the children to develop Type1 than if mom has Type1. Also, there is a higher risk if one sibling is diagnosed that the others may also become diabetic. She has witnessed both of these scenarios through her work and camp.

Currently, although the symptoms and diagnosis of Type1 are much more widely known and research has brought about better insulins and technology that make living with diabetes much easier, there is no cure or prevention for Type1 (Juvenile) Diabetes.

You can help families who live with Type1 diabetes by participating in the Jackson Lions Strides/Jackson T1D Connection-Outrun Type 1 5K this coming Sat., May 5 at Manpower Park. ALL go proceeds to JDRF for diabetes research. To register, go online to tristateracer.com, click on the calendar at the top of the page, select the month of May, and scroll down to choose Outrun Type 1 5K. Entry forms can also be picked up at Sport-About and Iron City Barbell. You can run, walk, or donate. The Newkirk Family and others like theirs will appreciate it.