Following his second birthday, the Gibbins family noticed their son Blake was having signs of a bladder infection, so they took him to see their family doctor. What seemed like a simple diagnosis turned into something bigger. Blake was sent to Children’s Hospital New Orleans and diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, followed by a two week stay in the hospital.
“His A1C was not right, and so we stayed at Children’s and underwent training to learn more about how to handle his diabetes,” explains Igel Gibbins, Blake’s mom.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes in children include high levels of glucose in the blood and urine, abnormal thirst, frequent urination, fluid loss, and more. To treat diabetes, children must have daily injections of insulin to keep their blood glucose level within normal ranges. Blake became an expert at an early age when it came to monitoring his blood sugar.
“He could rattle off information about his pump that I didn’t even know existed,” recalls Igel. “I think what helped was the constant information shared by the diabetes team at Children’s Hospital. Also, Blake attended Lion’s Camp in Leesville at a young age where a team of volunteers consisting of nurses, doctors, and dieticians helped kids learn about their diabetes and how to maintain a normal lifestyle.”
“I became really good at knowing when my sugar is high and low. The pump I have at this point in my life can also help me know exactly when my sugar is dropping and it will dispense the insulin for me,” says Blake.
Blake is now a 17-year-old at Destrehan High School. He and his mom credit the experts at Children’s Hospital New Orleans for such seamless treatment plans over the years.
“The staff at Children’s Hospital have been extremely helpful,” says Igel. “If you have any questions about diabetes, whether it’s about pump supplies or medical questions, they are going to have an answer for you. I cannot talk enough about how awesome the staff has been. I don’t know what I would do without them.”
“Dr. Ricardo Gomez has been doing a great job of helping me out if I have any problems or questions,” says Blake. “He’s quick to call us and do a quick appointment if I’m having trouble maintaining my sugar levels or if I’m unsure about something.”
Blake isn’t just receiving the treatment he needs, but is also using his time to help others. He takes the time to give advice to others in his school who may be struggling to learn more about maintaining their diabetes.
“It helps you to feel like you aren’t alone in this world. Other kids are going through what I’m going through, and it’s good to know we can help each other out,” says Blake.
Since diabetes is one of the most common diseases in childhood, Children’s Hospital’s Diabetes Center is here to help patients achieve the type of care and management they need to continue to live a full and normal life. Click here to learn more.