Three years after she was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, nine-year-old Annabelle Groulx has become an expert on taking care of her own health.
The third-grader, who lives in Capreol with her family, two dogs, and a cat, carries a bright pink bag around with her every day. In it, she has all the supplies she might need, from insulin injectors and fast-acting tablets, to a blood glucose monitor and lancing device. She can rattle off the name and purpose of all of her supplies and recites brand names like "Humalog" and "BASGLAR" with the practiced ease of a miniature medical professional.
“I learned how my things work," she said. "How I give myself insulin, how to give myself my own needle. Now, when I have a sleepover with my Nana, I can show her and teach her how to do stuff.”
It's a level of independence that even her mother, Francine Groulx, is astonished by.
“I love listening to her talk about this stuff," said Francine. "She just blows me out of the water.”
At six years old, Annabelle received her diagnosis after being admitted to hospital.
“I got really sick," she said. "When I was there, I did some tests and they found out I had diabetes. I had to stay in the hospital for a while.”
Type 1 diabetes, which is most commonly diagnosed in children, is a chronic condition where the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin. As a result, diabetics need to be vigilant about their blood sugar levels, monitoring what they eat and injecting regular doses of insulin to make sure their body can absorb glucose into the cells to produce energy.
In Canada, one in three people will develop diabetes in their lifetime. For many young children, it's a life-changing diagnosis.
Had to learn to adjust
"At first, I was kind of upset," said Annabelle of her diagnosis. "Because it's not fun having diabetes. I couldn't eat candy like the other kids and stuff like that."
The first month was the hardest. Throughout the day, she was constantly having her finger pricked to test check her blood glucose levels. If her blood sugar was too high, she'd be irritable, and emotional, and had to take a dose of insulin with an injector in her belly, arm or leg. If it was too low, she was drowsy and weak, often needing to sit down to eat something with a high sugar content.
Sleep was also difficult early on, with her parents waking her up often throughout the night to check her levels manually.
“She was a trooper," said Francine. "She would sleep through it, and sometimes, she would just roll her eyes and put her finger out.”
November marks National Diabetes Awareness month, and this year, medical experts and diabetes advocates are calling on decision-makers across the country to improve access to medical devices that can make life easier and safer for people with diabetes.
After spending the first few weeks manually checking her levels day and night, Annabelle was able to make the switch to a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Her Dexcom, which attaches to her arm and transmits data to a portable handheld device, automatically alerts her to changes in her glucose levels throughout the day, without the finger prick.
For both her and her family, having access to the device has taken the guesswork out of glucose management.
“Every second now, this checks my sugar," said Annabelle. "Now I can go outside and play around. And when my parents ask what my sugar is at, I take this out of my pocket and check. My parents don't have to follow me around, and I'm not poking my finger all the time. It helps me ready my sugar and it beeps really loud."
Day and night, she can be alerted to her highs and lows, giving them time to react before her symptoms can get worse.
“It gives me so much peace of mind," said Francine. "She can’t always feel her symptoms during the night, so it’s peace of mind knowing that it’ll send us an alert. I like that time to be able to respond. I’m able to sleep, which I wasn’t able to do the first couple of weeks; we were checking her at all hours of the night. So as soon as we got on that, it was a game changer.”
It also allows Annabelle to be more independent and take charge of her own needs. She carries her reader with her in her pink bag, and when it goes off, she knows how to respond.
In a few years, when she has her own cellphone, they'll also be able to sync the Dexcom to her parents' phones.
“I could go to and my phone would alert me that she low at school, all the way across town," said Francine. "I don’t know how some people with diabetes can go without it."
Ontario coverage for CGMs a game-changer
Despite their benefits for diabetics of all ages, CGMs can be extremely expensive.
When Annabelle first got her Dexcom, her parents were making large payments to cover the costs, before switching to a more manageable monthly rate.
But in March 2022, the Ontario government expanded its Assistive Devices Program, to cover the costs of a CGM device and other related supplies for those with Type 1 diabetes.
For Annabelle's parents, the program significantly reduced the financial burden of all of the supplies she needs.
“You don’t play middleman," said Francine. "The government goes right to Dexcom and they handle everything. It’s so nice, because every quarter we get deliveries for all her devices and the government is covering it now. It’s been really beautiful.”
Still, there are some supplies, like insulin and test strips for her manual glucose monitor, that need to be paid for out of pocket.
“Unfortunately, not all supplies for diabetics are covered," said Francine. "But this is the most expensive part. I’m really glad they did that. I think everyone should have this. I don’t know what diabetics did before it. You’d have to be constantly checking, and I’d probably poke her fingers over 100 times a day.”
While many people with type 1 diabetes have been able to benefit from the Ontario program, advocates said the eligibility criteria remain too strict.
At this point, only those with type 1 diabetes can obtain coverage, leaving those who don't meet the criteria, or who have type 2 diabetes, to keep making expensive payments on CGMs or go without.
Later this month, Annabelle will be celebrating her "Diaversary," marking three years since she was first diagnosed.
"Time just flew by," said Francine.
When the day comes, they're planning to celebrate with a family dinner and a special shopping trip to the Dollar Store.
In the meantime, Annabelle has lots of big plans: painting pictures, playing sports, learning cursive, and spending plenty of time outdoors, all with her trusty monitoring device by her side.
The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.
Twitter: @mia_rjensen
Mia Jensen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
Mexico will raise its target to unconditionally cut greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below usual levels by 2030 at this year's COP27 U.N. climate summit, its environment ministry said in a statement Tuesday, lifting its previous target of 22%. Latin America's second-biggest greenhouse gas emitter will also raise its target for conditional emission cuts – a goal dependent on external support – to 40% from 36%. Last year, Mexico pledged to expand its climate goals after research coalition Climate Action Tracker warned that emissions could actually rise under targets unchanged since 2016.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will continue to work productively with the U.S. government and administration, regardless of election outcome. Reacting to the results of the midterm elections below the border, Trudeau says his government will stay focused on what matters to Canadians.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden’s record was on the ballot even if his name wasn't. And no matter the final bottom line of Tuesday’s midterm elections, his presidency is set for profound changes. Biden watched from the White House into the early morning hours Wednesday, making congratulatory calls to more than 30 Democratic candidates and huddling with advisers to watch the incoming returns. In public, the president professed optimism to the end, telling Democratic state party officials on election
Public Health is investigating a fatal case of suspected meningococcal meningitis in Nova Scotia's western zone after the death of a university student. The province's health authority said in a news release Wednesday the person attended Saint Mary's University and died in hospital over the weekend. A medical investigation is underway to confirm whether the person had meningitis, and if so, which type. But Dr. Jesse Kancir, the eastern zone's regional medical officer of health, said officials ma
When Majd Darwich realized his 19-year-old son Abdullah, who has autism and is non-verbal, had left their Mississauga home wearing only shorts last week, horror set in. He says he immediately got in his car to go searching, but he only had to drive a few houses away before he came across what he described as a large crime scene. Police tape surrounded his street in Mississauga, with multiple officers in the vicinity. In the centre of it all was his son; shirtless, handcuffed, his face bloodied.
The union representing striking GO Transit workers says negotiations with their employer will resume tomorrow. The Amalgamated Transit Union says Metrolinx first reached out with an offer for the two sides to meet on Friday to negotiate a contract for the 2,200 striking workers, including bus drivers, station attendants and fare inspectors. But ATU Local 1587 president Rob Cormier says after the union pushed for an earlier date, Metrolinx agreed to meet Thursday. The strike began Monday and has
In what could be a pivotal day in U.S. politics, Americans are set to vote in their country’s midterm elections. To break down which races will determine the balance of power in Washington, Jackson Proskow joins Antony Robart.
The RCMP changed its security plans for federal cabinet ministers a week before anti-vaccine mandate protesters rolled into Ottawa last winter and feared the event "could become a flashpoint for violence," says a report entered into evidence before the Emergencies Act inquiry. The RCMP institutional report, reviewing Mounties' response to the protests, said the RCMP also wondered whether the protests would stay in Ottawa for a long time — making it the second police force to raise concerns about
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Andy Ogles, a conservative who gained popularity among Tennessee Republicans as an outspoken former county mayor, has won a newly redrawn congressional district that includes part of left-leaning Nashville. Ogles, a onetime leader of the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity’s state chapter, secured the seat after largely dodging questions on key policy issues that included whether he supported a national ban on abortion and if he supported exceptions to save the life of t
Edmonton-area charities and the provincial government lost millions of dollars in revenue between 2019 and 2022 because of extended closures at the casino inside Rogers Place downtown, according to a recent Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission hearing decision. Alberta casinos were directed to close for about five months in 2020 and five months in 2021 to limit the spread of COVID-19, but closures at the Grand Villa Casino in recent years exceeded those periods. The casino reduced its
A high school student from a First Nation in northern Saskatchewan is representing Indigenous communities on the world stage. Sean Bernard, a Grade 12 student from Waterhen Lake First Nation, about 290 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon, is in Egypt this week to attend COP27, the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Bernard is a youth delegate, representing the youth of the world as well as Indigenous communities across North America. "As soon as I heard about this, I took it on right away b
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called on northern countries to follow the EU's example of committing to climate funding for the global south.View on euronews
The dizzying pace of price increases moderated in the U.S. last month, with the country's official inflation rate cooling to 7.7 per cent. That's down from 8.2 per cent in August and below the 7.9 per cent increase that economists were expecting. Though still high by historical standards, the data means the official U.S. inflation rate is now at its lowest point since January. Many goods and services are still increasing at an eye-watering pace, however. The price of food has risen by 10.9 per c
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Alex Padilla was elected Tuesday to his first full term as U.S. senator for California, solidifying his position as one of the country’s top elected Latinos and a leading Democratic voice in Congress for more expansive immigration laws. In a show of how comfortable he felt as a strong favorite, Padilla — who was appointed senator by California Gov. Gavin Newsom when Kamala Harris became vice president —worked hard in the run-up to the election for fellow Democrats in tight races
A Saskatchewan farmer who served two tours in Afghanistan has died fighting in Ukraine, family members say. Joseph Hildebrand, 33, and others in the military unit he was volunteering for were killed over the weekend during a combat mission, the family members said. They said surviving soldiers called them, and are currently guarding the bodies with their Ukrainian colleagues in hostile territory until arrangements can be made to extract them. "We're all here together at the farm, trying to get m
A man who arrived at a South Shore hospital with stab wounds on Monday has died, Longueuil police said. The victim, whom police have identified as Luc Domingue, 41, was brought to Charles-Le Moyne hospital in Longueuil around 1:30 p.m. and was later pronounced dead, Longueuil police said in a media release. They say Domingue was known to police. They are considering the death a homicide, but they are unsure where the stabbing happened. Investigators are trying to find the crime scene. The victim
Rural municipalities want the province to reimburse them for the costs of dispatching their crews to rescues and medical emergencies on Alberta public land. More Albertans are camping, hiking and off-roading on provincial land. When they get into trouble, crews from counties and municipal districts, which are usually staffed with volunteers, are dispatched to the scene. The municipality ends up paying the entire cost. That includes buying equipment for specialized rescues and providing appropria
KELOWNA, B.C. — An RCMP officer from Kelowna, B.C., has pleaded guilty to assaulting a nursing student during a wellness check in January 2020. Const. Lacy Browning pleaded guilty to one count of assault on what was supposed to be the first day of her trial on Monday. Browning was accused of punching and dragging University of British Columbia student Mona Wang after the woman's boyfriend called police asking them to check on her. Surveillance video taken from inside an apartment building, which
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — Late South African President F.W. de Klerk’s Nobel Peace Prize medal has been stolen from his home in Cape Town, his foundation confirmed Wednesday. De Klerk, South Africa’s last president under apartheid, jointly received the prize with Nelson Mandela in 1993 for their roles in South Africa’s peaceful transition to democracy. Mandela became the country’s first black president in 1994 after serving 27 years in prison. According to South African media reports, th
Edmonton police have charged a 65-year-old Saskatchewan man in the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl more than 41 years ago. The incident happened on July 9, 1981 as the girl was walking home across a northeast Edmonton school field, police said in a news release Tuesday. The girl was grabbed, dragged and sexually assaulted by a man who left the area on foot. The Edmonton Police Service said its historical crimes section made an arrest on Oct. 27 and charged the suspect with rape and acts of


By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *