When Aidan Kinser went to bed that night four years ago, he had no idea his life was about to change forever. It was summer, so he didn't have to wake up early to go to school. However, when he finally woke up, he realized something was wrong.
“I asked you [Aidan]: tell me what the name of your school is, and you couldn't tell me what school you went to, which really got my attention. I thought ‘something is really wrong with this kid.'” Kristin Kinser, Aidan's mom, explains.
The moment they walked into the E.R., Aidan was taken into the back and given intravenous fluids. The doctor came out and explained to Kristin that Aidan had Type I diabetes, and he had just experienced a diabetic ketoacidosis, which basically means that his body was breaking down fat at a much faster rate than normal, causing his blood to be acidic.
Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin, causing blood sugar to pile up, to the point that it could cause a coma, cerebral edema (swelling of the brain), or even death, if left untreated.
For Aidan, being diagnosed with Type I diabetes meant becoming extremely aware of his food intake and monitoring his blood sugar levels constantly by carrying a medical bag everywhere he went.
“I remember you [Aidan] woke up the next morning. You rolled over. You looked at me and said ‘Mom, do I have to do these shots again today, too?'” Kristin Kinser recalls.
This was Aidan's new normal.
As if high school was not hard enough, becoming “the kid with diabetes” did not help. A sense of isolation started to set in.
One day, Aidan was on a school trip, and he saw a girl carrying a medical bag similar to his. He approached her, and, after talking for a while, he discovered her diagnosis was very similar to his. All of the sudden, he was not alone anymore. He quickly understood that there were others like him out there—it was just a matter of finding them.
Today, Aidan has learned to manage his diabetes well. He has changed his diet and he carries his medical bag everywhere with pride. Yes, he is still “the kid with diabetes,” but he now knows that his disease is just a small fraction of who he is, and, more importantly, that he is not alone in the fight.