My name is Kody Settles and I have Type 1 diabetes. This means that my pancreas stopped working. I am now insulin dependent and have to count all the carbohydrates in the food I eat. I give myself insulin with an injection or insulin pump for the amount of carbohydrates that I am eating. I was diagnosed September 24, 2014. I am currently 11 years old and I am student in the 6th grade at Clinton Middle School. I learned I was Type 1 when I was in the 4th grade. I told my mom that I was thirsty all the time and had to use the bathroom often. My mom took me to the doctor and they checked my blood sugar and it would not even register on the meter, all it would say was HIGH. My doctor immediately sent me to the hospital. My mom brought me to U of M, we had all kinds of things running through our head. I was admitted right away and told that I had Type 1 Diabetes. When I was placed in a room I was given a bunch of information and my “training” began. I had to learn how to check my blood sugar and give myself shots. I practiced on a stuffed animal first before actually giving myself a shot. We learned all about carbohydrates and the seriousness of diabetes. I have been living with diabetes for over 2 years now. I have struggled with how my life used to be before having diabetes. I miss begin able to have a snack or eat food without having to check my blood sugar and given myself insulin. I always have to be aware of my blood sugar levels and have to carry my kit and supplies with me at all times. My blood sugar changes 24/7 and I have to be aware of it or I could pass out, or go too high and have other health issues. When in school, I not only have to concentrate on my studies, but have to be aware of my blood sugar, because when I am too low or too high it affects my mood and ability to think clearly. I deal with a lot of things that other kids don’t have to consider and feel that the addition of a diabetic alert dog will assist me with helping me keep my blood sugar levels in a safe range and help with some of the daily struggles that I face.
As Kody’s parents we feel that the addition of a diabetic alert dog would greatly assist Kody and our family. Due to Kody being a very active young boy his diabetes can make it difficult to manage his levels. We encourage Kody to continue his love for the outdoors and sports and not let diabetes control his life.
At times his levels can go low or high for unknown reasons, which is very scary. His nighttime blood sugar levels can change quickly and we have to check him, often multiple times a night, to make corrections to his levels or give him a snack to get him within a safe level. This is very exhausting at times, but you have no choice but to keep him safe. With the addition of a diabetic alert dog it is just one more step in keeping Kody safe.
It’s because of the dogs amazing scenting abilities that they can detect the change in blood sugar levels in humans. They are trained to not only recognize the change, but react to the change, as well. That reaction, in real time, helps us know when a change is actively happening and to treat Kody’s blood sugar. To a diabetic, that real-time reaction can be crucial. This fact alone could help him gain the confidence, security, and independence he needs to lead a more balanced life.