GREAT FALLS – According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2015, 30.3 million Americans had diabetes and approximately 1.25 million of that 30.3 million had type 1 diabetes.
Thaymen Rolfsmeyer, a nine year-old boy living in Great Falls, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on February 18, 2018.
Thaymen said, “It is an autoimmune disorder and it’s basically when your immune system attacks your pancreas. So, you don’t have insulin in your body.”
Both Thaymen and his father Jeremy said it was very difficult at first. But, no one is to blame for his diagnosis.
Jeremy said, “He had nothing to do this, we did nothing to do this, it’s very much a disease where the body attacks itself.”
Thaymen has a pump attached to him that send insulin from the pump into his stomach, leg or arm.
Type 1 diabetes is a battle Thaymen will be fighting the rest of his life. He said, “We are hoping for a cure for diabetes.”
Diabetes, especially in someone so young has a huge effect on the whole family. There is an app that everyone in the family has on their phones that allows you to follow his sugar levels among many other things.
Jeremy said, “Sugars are constantly changing and in less than 5 minutes, everything can go from perfectly fine to deadly. That causes the whole family to need to be on alert at all times. There are many, many sleepless nights, you could probably see it in my face.”
Jeremy also added that to look out for excessive thirst, excessive urination, tiredness and increase appetite as possible symptoms of type 1 diabetes. If these occur to your or your child, go to a doctor and get things checked out.
Jeremy also wants to raise awareness on how expensive insulin in. He said a huge problem that type 1 diabetics face is the cost of insulin and many die because they ration their insulin or they simply cannot afford it.
Although type 1 diabetes is something that has to be monitored 24/7, Thaymen is just like any other 9 year old.
He said he can do anything now. He enjoys rollerskating, playing Fortnite and he really likes playing with his friend Isiah and his other classmates at Morningside Elementary School.
Click here to learn more about diabetes.
Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News