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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Diabetes no barrier for active eighth grader

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fourteen-year-old John McCammack performs his daily ritual required to care for his Type I juvenile diabetes.
FILLMORE -- John McCammack is, in many ways, a typical eighth grader.

He loves sports, especially baseball and football, and is on the teams at South Putnam Middle School, where he is a student. He enjoys swimming and hanging out with his friends. He gets into tussles with his litter sister Kate.

But in one very specific way, John is different from his peers.

John, now 14, was diagnosed with Type I -- or juvenile -- diabetes at the age of 9.

"His pancreas does not produce insulin," John's mother Jill explained. "There is no pill he can take; there is no cure. Right now, the reality is that John may very well have to live with diabetes for the rest of his life."

John remembers the weeks and days before and right after his diagnosis.

"I got really sick and skinny," he said. "I dropped 25 pounds in a month."

John was admitted to the hospital for several days.

"His sugar levels were astronomical," Jill said. "His body thought it had sugar and it didn't. His fat and muscles were being eaten away."

Jill admitted that when she found out John had diabetes, she was somewhat relieved.

"He was so sick," she said. "I was thinking, 'He has leukemia or some kind of cancer. My son is going to die.' It may sound funny, but when I found out it was diabetes, I thought, 'OK, it's something we can battle.'"

Kevin said he felt alone at first, but the realized many other parents had diabetic children.

"It's kind of like when you buy a new car," he said. "You think you're the only one who has one, but then you look around and all of a sudden there are a bunch of them on the road."

John went through a phase of self-pity.

"I was tired and grumpy all the time," he said. "I went through a big 'why me?' phase."

Jill and John's father Kevin went through feelings of guilt after John's diagnosis.

"Eventually, we realized it was nothing we had done," Kevin said.

For the first year after his diagnosis he took self-administered insulin shots to control his disease. Then he switched to an insulin pen, and now he uses a pump.

The pump is a cannula that is inserted under the skin that uses a tubing system to push insulin.

The patient can set the pump to administer correct dosages. John changes the tubing on his pump every three days to avoid infection.

John wears the pump pretty much all the time, normally only taking it off to shower and for highly physical activities such as football practice.

"I take it off because I don't want to risk it getting broken," he said.

Diabetes makes it difficult for John to be spontaneous. He has to test his blood sugar several times a day and adjust his pump accordingly. He has to count the carbohydrates he consumes. In the morning, he has to measure his cereal and milk.

"He can have that piece of birthday cake, he just has to plan for it," Jill said. "He can have all the hamburgers he wants, he just can't have the bread."

When he goes out to eat at a restaurant he is familiar with, John can estimate how much insulin to take beforehand, but if it's a new place it takes a little more thought.

"I have to figure it out and plan," he said. "I know at school, the meals all have five carbs. If they have cookies, I can't have cookies."

John has to do finger pricks to test his blood.

"I've lost feeling in my fingers," he said. "I cut my fingers up all the time."

John's teachers have come to know the signs when John's insulin is going low.

"He stops paying attention," Jill said. "He can get the notes again if he starts to zone out."

Jill and Kevin are pleased that the insulin pump has worked so well for their son.

"All we ever wanted was for John to be able to be John," Jill said. "We wanted to control this disease so it didn't control us."

John downloads numbers off his pump to his doctor's office every couple f weeks, and if everything is as it should be, he only has to go see the doctor every three months.

In the five years since his diagnosis, John, along with his family, have made it a priority to do what they can to aid the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Kevin said the family raises about $2,000 a year for JDRF.

In fact, today the McCammacks are at Military Park in Indianapolis participating in JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes.

"We do this work and we work with JDRF because we really believe, in John's lifetime, a cure will be found."

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That's such a positive attitude about believing that a cure will be found during John's lifetime, it may just happen. This is what I've been praying for all the days of my life since my husband was diagnosed with diabetes. But what a boy you have, quite a role model for everyone else!

Evelyn Guzman

http://www.free-symptoms-of-diabetes-ale... (If you want to visit, just click but if it doesn't work, copy and paste it onto your browser.)

-- Posted by randeg on Sat, Oct 18, 2008, at 10:22 AM

My sister was diagnosed with Type I when she was six years old, she is now 32 years old. I remember the ups and downs of the shot and the consistance trips to the doctor or hospital at Riley (Dr. Goldstein was here doctor- awesome-). She finally got put on a pump 10 or 11 yrs ago, after trying to eat what she wanted and changing her dosages herself with out dr. approval, since then she has done awesome and her 12 yr old son is so active in sports that she is never home long enough to do the self shoot thing so I'm glad that her pump is able to minister her dosage and she doesn't have to worry about always carring the vials of meds in a cooler to stay cool. Great job and great role model for this young man. My hat's off to you and your courage and smarts to know that you are not different but just special in your own way. Keep on educating others too, this will help those who don't know understand more what it is like and that it is not a death grip on your life unless you refuse to take those few minutes several times a day to treat your self, definately not like cancer, leukemia, etc..

God bless you and your family John.

-- Posted by catlover19732003 on Sat, Oct 18, 2008, at 11:27 AM

"John's teachers have come to know the signs when John's insulin is going low. "

Ah, I think they meant when his BLOOD GLUCOSE drops--NOT his insulin level.

Eating cereal/milk for breakfast isn't generally a wise choice. It raises blood glucose very rapidly and then its followed by a fast drop in bg's within a couple of hours. Protein, fiber, some fat, and COMPLEX carbs would be a far better choice.

If the boy has a MM5xx series pump, he can get a Lexan case for it that will survive any punishment contact sports would mete out. The case is $60, available from MiniMed.

-- Posted by davea on Sun, Oct 19, 2008, at 7:42 PM

Hello this is Carly Allen,

I had been reading the Article in my Social Studies class and he was playing around with me and took it and shredded it up in Miss Blackman's class room across the hall. John told me that Mr.Wheatly looked mad.(John was in Miss Blackman's classroom at the time)Wheatly came back in the classrooom laughing...So now I am in the Computer Lab.At the same time it was sad to here the story how your family found out that John wasa type one diabetic.And it was good for me to learn about it all. So thank you for the information and I wish you good luck and nothing bad happens!!!! =]

Johns GirlFriend,

Carly Paige Allen =]

-- Posted by Carly Paige on Mon, Oct 20, 2008, at 12:11 PM

I guess it depends on where you receive treatment for your type 1 diabetes as to what you eat or don't eat. For my child, milk is considered a complex carb. After meeting other children with type 1 diabetes, as a parent you learn that the different doctors and hospitals treat type 1 diabetes patients differently. For example, my child can eat anything as long as the food item is planned for ahead of time. His doctor does not restrict any foods.

My heart goes out to the McCammack family because we also deal with type 1 diabetes 24/7. A positive additude is key and taking life one day at a time. And yes, I am a positive believer that a cure will be found!

-- Posted by daisy9 on Thu, Oct 23, 2008, at 10:47 AM

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