‘I can mostly do any­thing’

Kings County boy teaches class­mates about life with type 1 di­a­betes

Valley Journal Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - BY ASH­LEY THOMP­SON KINGSCOUN­TYNEWS.CA

Hay­den Whynot was dubbed a war­rior at the ten­der age of nine.

The Kings County res­i­dent is a T1D war­rior. Now 10, Hay­den is de­vel­op­ing a knack for telling peo­ple ex­actly what that means.

T1D stands for type 1 di­a­betes, an ill­ness Hay­den was di­ag­nosed with in Jan­uary.

His mother, Leigh-Anne Whynot, no­ticed Hay­den wasn’t quite feel­ing like him­self af­ter the hol­i­days last year, and took him to their fam­ily doc­tor think­ing her son had strep throat and a blad­der in­fec­tion.

Test­ing re­vealed that Hay­den’s blood su­gar lev­els were 33, far off from the ideal read­ings be­tween four and 10.

“Hay­den’s body at­tacked his pan­creas,” ex­plains Whynot, who noted that the tim­ing of the doc­tor visit was cru­cial as Hay­den could have gone un­con­scious and been ad­mit­ted to the IWK in Hal­i­fax if the root cause of his symp­toms went un­de­tected much longer.

The min­utes, days, weeks and months fol­low­ing the di­ag­no­sis came with a steep learn­ing curve. Hay­den has both asked and an­swered ques­tions about carb count­ing, fin­ger pokes and in­sulin pumps to the point that he’s some­what of an ex­pert on the topic of manag­ing his di­a­betes.

In fact, he’s so well versed in the sub­ject that he opted to do a pre­sen­ta­tion for his class­mates at Port Wil­liams Ele­men­tary School for World Di­a­betes Day Nov. 14.

“I was just try­ing to do mostly in­for­ma­tion about it, mostly about what I ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

“Ev­ery time I do some­thing some­one is al­ways ask­ing me a ques­tion about it and now ev­ery­one knows what’s go­ing on.”

The pre­sen­ta­tion talked about the symp­toms Hay­den ex­pe­ri­ences as a re­sult of high or low blood su­gar, and the tools that help him man­age his di­a­betes. For ex­am­ple, the con­tin­u­ous glu­cose mon­i­tor he uses 24/7 checks his blood ev­ery five min­utes and pro­duces re­sults Whynot can view from an app on her phone.

“The teacher said ev­ery­one was re­ally in­ter­ested,” said Hay­den.

The Whynot fam­ily turned to a di­a­betic clinic at Kentville’s Val­ley Re­gional Hos­pi­tal for di­rec­tion fol­low­ing the un­ex­pected di­ag­no­sis.

“I had no idea what we were get­ting into when we went to see our fam­ily doc­tor… for us, it’s re­ally put into per­spec­tive what mat­ters,” said Whynot.

“Last year when I wasn’t di­ag­nosed I didn’t even know that there was such a thing,” Hay­den added.

The news brought on a wide range of emo­tions, but Hay­den’s learned how to take things day by day and con­tinue do­ing what he loves.

“When we first came home it was re­ally over­whelm­ing but we’ve been learn­ing new things as we go and find­ing what works for us — and he’s do­ing a great job,” said Whynot.

Hay­den, an as­pir­ing hockey star, is on the ice four to five times a week. The stal­wart de­fender plays hockey all year as a mem­ber of the Nova Sco­tia Stars and Aca­dia Atom AA hockey teams.

A war­rior in his bat­tle against di­a­betes and in the hockey arena, Hay­den has some ad­vice for other kids learn­ing how to live with type 1 di­a­betes.

“I would tell them not to worry,” he said.

“Don’t worry too much about if your blood’s high or if your blood’s low… now that I have my Dex­com, my pump and my mom… I can mostly do any­thing.”

For the par­ents, Whynot says ev­ery sin­gle day is dif­fer­ent and a one-step-at-a-time ap­proach has helped them cope.

“In the be­gin­ning there’s just so much and it’s so over­whelm­ing and it’s just so scary,” she said, adding that it didn’t take long for them to un­der­stand why folks with Hay­den’s di­ag­no­sis are called T1D war­riors.

“It’s an ill­ness that you can’t not think about ev­ery day.”

Hay­den, who is as­sisted by EAs at school when he man­ages his su­gar lev­els, is happy to do more pre­sen­ta­tions for his classes in the fu­ture if there’s a need for it. He sus­pects he’ll likely have some cu­ri­ous class­mates when he moves on to mid­dle school, but he’ll see how things go be­yond that point.

“When I get to high school I have to do it all by my­self, so all they have to know is that I have di­a­betes — and that’s it.”

ASH­LEY THOMP­SON

Hay­den Whynot, 10, lives life with type 1 di­a­betes on his own terms with some help from treat­ment and test­ing tools and his ded­i­cated sup­port net­work.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Hay­den Whynot, sec­ond from left, isn’t let­ting type 1 di­a­betes stand in the way of his hockey dreams.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Hay­den Whynot is pic­tured with An­nika, one of his three sis­ters.

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