Branton – Age 15
In October 2016, Branton became very ill, showing signs that something was not right. At the same time that Branton became ill, his mother, Teresa, was in the process of packing for a medical mission trip to Guatemala. One of the items that was on her packing list turned out to be incredibly helpful in finding on exactly what was going on with Branton: a glucometer.
There is no history of type 1 diabetes (T1D) in Branton’s family, so that was the furthest thing from his parents’ minds. However, both of Branton’s parents are chiropractors, and their medical training did alert them to a problem before it became much, much worse. The night Branton’s mom, Teresa, checked his blood sugar, it was nearly 400. Branton was in full diabetic ketoacidosis. He was immediately transported to the Mayo Clinic, where Branton would receive care for the next three days.
The first few weeks following the diagnosis were the hardest. Branton was diagnosed just two weeks prior to his freshman basketball tryouts. He lost sixteen pounds in a week after being released from the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Mayo Clinic and was just trying to understand what his body was going through. Branton is an extremely strong young man, though, and he was determined not to let T1D stand in his way!
Branton quickly learned how his lows felt while playing basketball and was able to make his high school’s JV basketball team—one of the few freshmen to do so. It was still hard for his parents to sit on the sidelines and watch him running up and down the court exhausted, playing his heart out. Every time he went to the bench, they were on pins and needs to see if he grabbed the Gatorade or the water bottle.
Type 1 diabetes is a constant roller coaster, but one thing that Branton and his family have learned is to take it day by day because each day is different. Sometimes a streak of good days can be the hardest, because you are preparing for what’s next. Yet, even on the worst days, there is still hope knowing the next day could be better.
Now, almost a year into Branton’s diagnosis, times are changing for him and his family. They are starting to relax a bit, but it is hard knowing the type 1 diabetes community does not always receive the support it needs. Recently, the family did begin training a DAD (Diabetic Alert Dog), which helps Branton a great deal—especially with those night-time lows.
As with most families who have a young adult with type 1 diabetes, life changes drastically following diagnosis. There is constant worry for Branton’s parents, but make it a point not to let anything worry him. Making preparations is crucial to making life easier for Branton and allowing him to have his day run smoothly (they can’t believe how much of their lives revolve around food!). Branton’s family utilized the Bag of Hope materials to get them through the early days of diagnosis and now they continue to stay up-to-date via Facebook to follow everyone who is fighting to find a cure!
Branton and his family participated in this year’s JDRF One Walk in Eau Claire and had nearly SIXTY walkers! You can still visit Branton’s page to learn more or make a donation. Thank you to Branton and his family for sharing their story!
If you want to submit a story about your diabetes journey like Branton, please contact Jen Allen!