Eight months ago to the day, 11-year-old Vivan Sanyal was in ICU at the Royal Children’s Hospital. Admitted after 3 doctor’s visits, losing 8 kilograms, and 30 seconds with an ER nurse, Vivan was in DKA and his life had changed forever.
Vivan’s mum Priya describes her simultaneous relief and denial at discovering what they were up against as a family.
“The weeks leading up to Vivan’s diagnosis made me feel very unsettled - we didn’t know what was wrong or how we could fix it. To be honest with you, it was a bit of a relief to finally know what was making him sick. I wish that the GP had done a simple finger stick to check blood glucose levels at our visit. Perhaps that could become a standard protocol when kids present with symptoms such as ours.” Priya says.
“While I was relieved, I did go through the phase of denial, thinking ‘why me’ and ‘what could I have done to prevent it’. It wasn’t until the penny dropped that T1D is an autoimmune disorder – a condition where your immune system mistakenly attacks your body and that doctors don’t exactly know what causes the body to misfire – that I realised no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t have stopped it from taking over our lives.”
Among the usual steep learning curve a new diagnosis brings, the Sanyal family have also been navigating the new and unknown challenges introduced by COVID-19 and its restrictions.
Whilst Priya and Vivan were just learning how to count carbs, getting their heads around dosing strategies for various Indian foods their family is fond of and tackling daily injections, they were hit by a global pandemic.
“The COVID restrictions currently in place have made it difficult for Vivan to be an active kid, and he misses being at school and playing soccer. We’re also very conscious of the mental health aspect which is very important given the new diagnosis and being in isolation.” Priya explains.
Despite their traumatic introduction to the world of T1D, the Sanyal family have gone on to thrive with their new diagnosis. A
knowledgeable school environment, comforting support network and the help of the Royal Children’s Hospital have all been instrumental in the first stage of their T1D journey.
To make sure no family has to go through the same experience, Priya and Vivan are determined to help turn type one to type none and create as much awareness as they possibly can - starting with the One Walk Step Challenge.
Their family has already met their step goal and raised over $1,000 to support T1D research, but they have their sights set on a goal of $2,500.