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Juvenile diabetes changes life of Creedmoor girl

Posted November 24, 2010

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— Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes has changed the life of a 10-year-old Creedmoor girl.

Megan Kiem was diagnosed with the disease a year ago. Her mother, Marcy, first noticed changes in her drinking behavior, then weight loss.

"She started drinking a lot. I started thinking, 'Well, it's extra hot outside. Maybe she's extra thirsty,'" Marcy Kiem said. "She was losing weight, and she lost over 20 pounds before I finally took her in."

The diagnosis completely changed Megan's daily routine.

"I was, like, really upset about it," she said.

However, the proper treatment has helped Megan keep up with her activities.

"She still does all her activities. She's very involved in singing and theater," Marcy Kiem said.

The fact that Megan's dad, Joe, is also a Type 1 diabetic had both positive and negative effects. He could help her understand the disease, but she also knew that her dad suffered many complications, including kidney disease and heart problems.

"It was really hard to get her to understand at first that having diabetes doesn't mean that she's going to have these complications," Marcy Kiem said.

Many medical advances have been made since Joe Kiem was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Creedmoor girl, 10, copes with juvenile diabetes Creedmoor girl, 10, copes with juvenile diabetes

"There was not a lot of knowledge, and when I was growing up, sugar was bad. There was no checking your blood," Joe Kiem said.

Instead of giving herself insulin shots, Megan uses an insulin pump. She said it hasn't made a difference in how her friends treat her.

"I've gotten closer to my friends, because they like help me count my carbs," Megan said.

Her dad has a pump that also serves as a continuous glucose monitor, which might be an option for Megan in the future.

"My control has been a lot better. My hemoglobin A1C is down to, I think, 6.7. That's the lowest it's ever been in my life," Joe Kiem said.

An optimistic attitude about the disease led Megan and her parents to participate in the recent Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk. The family hopes that their efforts will help improve management of the disease or even, one day, lead to a cure.

"Her big thing has really been to try and make a difference and turn this into a positive," Marcy Kiem said.

6 Comments

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  • JAT Dec 1, 1:39 p.m.

    old looking 10 year old!

  • papadsgirls Nov 26, 2:28 p.m.

    Megan as long as you struggle with Diabetes there is a need for more information! Your in our hearts as you go threw your life with the everyday battle! Love ya always! The Anthony family and of course Your trouble buddy Jamie Crousore!!!lol....

  • kristalrose29 Nov 26, 2:05 p.m.

    My son also became a Juvenile Diabetic when he was 4. He was life-flighted from Halifax to Pitt in Diabetic Ketoacidosis because we didn't know he was a diabetic and thought he had the flu! I like to see stories like this because it helps break the sterotypes that only adults and fat kids get diabetes; and that people with diabetes cannot live "normal" lives.
    Bandkowen--who was your son's Dr? I'll be he's the same one my son now sees at ECU.

  • bandkowen Nov 25, 5:57 p.m.

    Diabetes affects millions of us every year. Why a story with absolutely NO "meat?" It changes every life it touches. I'm sorry Megan. And Joe and Marcy, don't spend too much time hoping for a cure. The FDA has not approved the one developed right here in NC many years ago to be tested in humans. Can you imagine the negative impact in the medical community and manufacturers of insulin, pumps, meters, etc. if this disease was ever cured. I gave up hope after my 4 YEAR OLD son was diagnosed and I was absolutely certain his doctor, a researcher at ECU, developed a cure. Some 10-15 years ago! AT 24 years of age now, he and I could give you a much better story of how parents and children struggling together with this disease deal with it! GOOD LUCK!

  • hott4rotts Nov 25, 8:24 a.m.

    Way to go Megan..good to hear about how you and your parents are doing..think of you often. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • anonemoose Nov 24, 7:59 p.m.

    It changes the lives of millions, including my wife. What else is new? or actual news?