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Teen manages life with Type 1 diabetes

2010-09-01T02:00:00Z Teen manages life with Type 1 diabetesBy JOHN COLEMAN jcoleman@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
September 01, 2010 2:00 am  • 

If Amie Adams had one wish, it would be for her daughter Hallie, 15, to be able to live a care-free life.

Instead, Adams said Hallie, who has Type 1 diabetes, finds herself testing her blood/glucose level as many as 10 times a day. She carries an insulin pump everywhere she goes and occasionally needs an insulin injection if her blood/glucose level is too low.

"The day your child is diagnosed (with Type 1 diabetes), a piece of their childhood is taken away," Adams said.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food.

"You feel lethargic and tired a lot of the time," Adams said.

Hallie was diagnosed with Type 1 about a year ago, but her symptoms were present before then and overlooked.

"She had all the symptoms several months prior," Adams said, noting she lost weight, was thirsty all the time due to loss of fluids, often felt lethargic and developed a pale complexion.

"She was extremely pale. I'm talking as pale as a sheet of paper," Adams recalls. "We chalked it all up to teenage angst," she added. "She was 14, she was developing into a young lady. Every symptom was easy to ignore because there was a reason for it."

Adams said Hallie's grandmother, Sharon Fordyce, was diagnosed with diabetes around the same age as Hallie.

Fordyce now works as an assistant in the Greater Adirondack Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation office in downtown Glens Falls. It was she who recognized some of symptoms when Hallie visited her last year and, being a diabetic herself, checked her blood/glucose level. It was so high, it didn't render on the blood/glucose meter, which reads up to 600. Normal blood/glucose level is between 100 and 120 and anything below 70 and above 300 can cause brain damage, Adams said.

"The next day we brought her the doctor. The doctor got her right in and they immediately sent her to Glens Falls Hospital. She was diagnosed with Type 1 (diabetes)," she said. "We came home with a completely changed lifestyle."

Adams said their life since the diagnosis has consisted of counting carbs in Hallie's food, attending JDRF support group meetings and visiting the doctor.

"I thought, ‘Oh, pretty soon we'll go (to the doctor) once a year, but it's not. She'll go to an endocrinologist every three months for the rest of her life,'" Adams said, noting that Hallie recently failed an eye test - also a result of her condition - and will likely need glasses.

Thankfully, Adams, a teacher in Corinth, said she has an insurance plan that covers most of Hallie's medical costs.

"I don't know how (people without a good health insurance plan) survive," she said.

Meanwhile, Hallie, a soon-to-be sophomore at Queensbury High

School, said her life isn't quite the same after being diagnosed, but she manages well.

"It's not that bad. It gets easier as you go along - you get used to it," Hallie said. "I can do whatever I want, it's just a little different."

On Sept. 12, Hallie, her mother, her grandmother and a group of friends will be walking in the annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk To Cure Diabetes in Crandall Park.

"We are thinking about calling our team Hal's Pals," Amy Adams joked, to which Hallie replied, "I'm starting my own team if you name it that."

There will be breakfast and lunch for participants as well as live entertainment, face-painting and medical vendors. Finch Paper is the presenting sponsor of the event.

For more information about the walk and how to form a team, or on how to donate to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, visit www.greateradirondack@jdrf.org or call 743-1700.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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