Miracle Monday: Little girl learns how to live with type 1 diabetes

SPOKANE, Wash.– Sydney Stenglein has always been on the move. Mother Holly Stenglein said both Sydney and her little brother like to spend their days adventuring, whether it’s on the lake, riding their bikes, or hiking.

“They just love to be active,” Holly said.

Last summer, something stalled Sydney. The 10-year-old girl suddenly lost her energy.

“She just wasn’t motivated, didn’t have a lot of energy, wanted to spend a lot of time in bed,” Holly said.

At first, Holly and her husband considered whether it was hormones, too much screen time, or just the impacts of the pandemic. Then they noticed other symptoms.

Holly said Sydney was drinking so much water, when she normally has to be reminded to drink water. Then, one day when they were boating, Holly realized how serious the issue was. While Sydney’s little brother was having fun, she was napping on the boat.

So, Holly took her daughter to see doctors at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital. That’s when they learned Sydney had type 1 diabetes. The diagnosis shocked their family.Sydney With Insulin Pump

“It was just kind of a whirlwind from there, wrapping our minds around this new diagnosis and how to manage it,” Holly said.

The Stenglein family soon learned how this diagnosis would impact Sydney for her entire life. They also learned the difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2.

“I thought diabetes was always someone who didn’t eat well, someone who didn’t live a healthy lifestyle,” Holly said.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), with type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. The exact cause is still unknown. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. It occurs when a body doesn’t use insulin properly, according to the ADA. While type 1 and 2 diabetes differ, they both can impact people’s lives in big ways. That’s why it is critical to have a management plan.

William Martin is a physician assistant with Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital. He’s been guiding Sydney’s family from the start.

“She must take insulin very time she eats and even extra times as well. She has to count carbohydrates to take insulin for the carbohydrates that she eats,” Martin said.

At first, Sydney was having insulin injections to balance her levels. Now, she has an app that she can use to monitor her glucose levels and she relies on an insulin pump.

“It’s not fun to have it, but it’s not terrible because I can handle it,” Sydney said.

Her strength has inspired her entire family.

“We are so darn proud of her. I mean, she’s been so receptive,” Holly said.

Sydney will have to constantly manage her diet, activity, and health because of this diagnosis. But, now that she has taken control, she isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

“My hope for the future is that Syd can just live a normal life, do everything her friends do and still manage her diabetes, not feel like this is something that is going to derail her or stop her from doing anything she wants to,” Holly said.

According to the ADA, the common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry, even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss, even though you are eating more

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