Type 1 Diabetes: Patient Family Shares Experience

Presley Rhodes

When it comes to conditions like type 1 diabetes, the symptoms aren’t always so obvious to parents — even ones well-attuned to their children. This was true for the parents of Presley Rhodes.

Presley, a good-natured 6-year-old who rarely complains, began her journey toward a type 1 diabetes diagnosis a year ago, when her mother, Dede, noticed that Presley wet the bed three days in a row. Then, Presley’s teacher noticed a change in personality. Even her twin sister, Brooke, could tell something was off.

When Dede mentioned what was going on with Presley to some friends, they encouraged her to head to the pediatrician right away, mentioning diabetes as a possibility.

A Diagnosis That Changed Everything

“I didn’t even know the symptoms of type 1 diabetes until we were in the doctor’s office,” Dede says.

Common Symptoms of Diabetes
Frequent urination
Weight loss
Being tired
Increased or decreased appetite

In addition, Dede learned that Presley not only had a blood sugar of 760 (normal is between 80 – 150), but she was also close to a dangerous state called ketoacidosis (when your body can’t produce enough insulin).

Presley’s pediatrician sent the family straight to the Seay Emergency Center at Children’s Medical Center Dallas, where Presley was admitted and stayed for three days. It was scary for the whole family, but it was the important first step in getting Presley’s diabetes under control.

Presley is quite young, and diabetes is a challenging diagnosis to have at that age, because it means lots of changes to lifestyle, such as when and how you eat,” says Roy Kim, M.D., attending physician at Children’s and part of the diabetes team at the Children’s Specialty Care Center in Southlake. “I’ve been impressed for somebody so young how she has coped.”

That the first-grader has coped so well doesn’t surprise Dede that much. “She is such a strong little girl, and so brave. She has a high pain tolerance, and even though we have to do five shots a day, plus finger pokes, it rarely bothers her,” Dede says.

One thing that makes their follow-up care much easier is that they are able to get everything they need at the Specialty Care Center in Southlake— just minutes away from their home in Colleyville — instead of making the 30-mile trek to Dallas.

“We go every three months, and it’s so much more convenient. I love that it’s bright and clean, and we never have to wait long,” Dede says about the Southlake campus. “Plus, Dr. Kim is there, and he is so good with Presley. He explains things in a really great way that isn’t scary for her.”

Specialty Care Center in Southlake Provides Pediatric Diabetes Care in Tarrant and Denton Counties

The strengths of pediatric diabetes care available at Children’s Medical Center Dallas are all available at the Specialty Care Center in Southlake. This matters because conditions like diabetes need to be treated with a team approach: doctors, nurses, dietitians, and Certified Diabetes Educators are all involved in creating good outcomes for children.

Roy J. Kim, M.D.

Roy J. Kim, M.D.

“We have the same team in Dallas available to everyone in Southlake. Plus, it’s smaller, so I think there is a nice personal touch at Southlake,” Dr. Kim says. “Patients are often referred there by their pediatricians, but they can also self-refer, and appointments are usually readily available.”

In 2009, Children’s was awarded disease-specific recertification by The Joint Commission for the Diabetes Education Program — a recertification that extends to the Southlake campus. Not only that, it’s the largest pediatric endocrinology practice in the Dallas-Fort Worth                                                                                 Metroplex.

In addition to treating diabetes (both type 1 and type 2), the Endocrinology team at the Specialty Care Center in Southlake sees a full range of hormone-related conditions, such as growth problems and thyroid issues. “It’s all about bringing the team from the mother ship to patients here,” Dr. Kim says.

As for Presley, she just celebrated one year since her diagnosis. It hasn’t been the easiest year. But with her sister Brooke — who Dede describes as sweet and compassionate – and her parents —who are eager to do as much as they can to help her learn to manage her diabetes herself – Presley has her own team. And it’s a pretty good one.

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