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    Sutter Children's Center, Sacramento

    Cynthia - Helping her Children Conquer Diabetes

    Cynthia -
    Cynthia - Helping her Children Conquer Diabetes

    “When you’re a parent, you do whatever you need to do for your children,” says Cynthia, mother of nine. “It doesn’t matter if it’s difficult, you just do it.”

    She lived and breathed that motto as she battled her insurance company in the mid-1990s to get an insulin pump approved for her eldest child who had been diagnosed with diabetes.  “I was relentless,” Cynthia says. “I did a lot research and knew that my 12-year-old son, Elliott, could effectively use a pump – and that would make his medical care less expensive and more manageable over time.”  In the end, Elliott was the state’s first child approved by California Children’s Services to have an insulin pump.  Today, insulin pumps are commonly used by children with diabetes.

    Cynthia’s battle with diabetes didn’t end there.  In addition to helping Elliott manage his diabetes, two of her other children were diagnosed with the disease over the next few years.  “I did what I had to do. I made sure my family and I were educated and proactively caring for each other,” she says.  “And I made sure my kids kept going to Sutter.”

    Cynthia relied heavily on Sutter Children's Center, Sacramento  to not only provide medical care for her family, but to help her navigate through the maze of insurance issues and medical information related to juvenile diabetes.  “The specialists at Sutter were advocates for my children. They helped me justify the benefits of insulin pumps so our insurance would cover the cost,” she explains. “That was a while ago, but I haven’t forgotten how much the people at Sutter have helped us. I now live in Yreka, but I drive down to Sutter Children's Center, Sacramento to see Dr. Prakasam
    every few months because he knows my children. He’s the best – my kids deserve that.”

    Today, Cynthia’s son Elliott is 26 and has his diabetes under control.  He ended up being a role model for his sister, Eva, who was diagnosed at age 8.  “For lack of a better way of describing it, that’s an ideal age to get diagnosed,” explains Cynthia. “She was old enough to understand what was happening and be an active participant in her care. Eva is now a freshman in high school and a competitive athlete. I’m so proud of her.”

    Cynthia’s son, Ean, was diagnosed with diabetes at age four.  “Because his diagnosis happened when he was so young, it was hard for him,” Cynthia says.  “He only knows life as a diabetic and that’s a tough life.  But, now that he’s a seventh grader, he has learned a great deal and is doing well. He’s especially talented in music – he’s a mean trumpet player in his school’s jazz band!”

    Cynthia believes that her persistence, attitude and commitment to staying informed helped her successfully raise three children with diabetes – along with her six other children. “You can’t panic. If you do, your kids will pick up on that and do the same,” she says. “You need to learn everything you can and surround yourself with a team of people who know what they’re doing – like Dr. Prakasam and the folks at Sutter.  I’ve never waivered in my commitment to my children, and so far, that’s paid off.”

     

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