Local resident bike rides for juveniles diabetes
Participants can decide how many miles they wanted to ride. Rhein said the lowest was 22 miles, although some people did less than that, and the highest was 100 miles. For each group, people have to raise a certain amount of money. For the 73-mile ride, people had to raise $4,000 and Rhein said her group as a whole raised more than half a million dollars. Ninety cents of every dollar goes to research for juvenile diabetes.
In addition to raising money, Rhein also trained for the event. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Northern California Inland chapter provided her with a coach who lived in Sacramento. Rhein said she and her coach never met, but talked via e-mail
Rhein found a sample-training plan and shared it with the coach who helped her modify it. Rhein trained herself, which included riding her road bike three days a week, averaging 80 to 100 miles a week. On light days, Rhein said she would ride 13 miles a day.
She achieved her goal of completing the 73 miles in six hours.
Due to her training, Rhein said she knew it was a comfortable place and wanted something to shoot for.
She said the ride was not a race and there were a wide scope of people with different fitness levels participating in the event.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation hosts five rides a year, two are held in Whitefish and the others are held in Asheville, N.C., Death Valley, Calif., and Sonoma, Calif. Rhein said the Death Valley ride looked difficult so she chose the Whitefish event.
Rhein said she plans to participate in the event next year, but would like to do the 100-mile ride in Sonoma, Calif. Her husband, Mios, who works as a paramedic with Mountain Lifeflight, may also participate.
People from all over the United States participated in the event and Rhein said she had the opportunity to meet people from all over the United States and learn about how they were involved with JDRF.
Rhein said she met a girl in her twenties who was participating in the ride because a childhood friend had died from diabetic complications
Rhein said she still has to raise $990 by today, Tuesday, Sept. 30. If anyone would like to make a donation they can do so at ride.jdrf.org in the name of Mishele Rhein or mail checks to 1333 Howe Ave. Suite 113, Sacramento, Calif., 95825.
Living with diabetes I
Rhein said diabetes I, or juvenile onset diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, is an autoimmune disease where the white blood cells attack the islet cells located in the pancreas. Once the islet cells are killed off, the pancreas no longer creates insulin in the body.
Food and drink can’t be absorbed in the body without insulin and as a result, the body starts eating the fat because it’s starving.
Rhein said people will lose weight, the body’s pH goes crazy, the skin can look pale and dry, and another symptom is going to the bathroom all the time because the body has extra sugar floating around.
“You can probably overlook it if you aren’t looking of for it,” Rhein said.
Although it sounds silly, Rhein said she rationalized her son’s symptoms as the flu. She said it was during the winter and Kegan had been pale and tired. One sign though was that he had been going to the bathroom about four to six times during the night.
It was a grandmother of some friends, who raised a diabetic son, that suggested Kegan might have diabetes.
When Kegan was diagnosed, Rhein said there was 1,000 mg of sugar in his urine. You are supposed to have zero milligrams, his blood sugar was 845 and his pH was low enough it could’ve killed an adult.
Rhein said Diabetes I is something you are born with, not something you can catch. Diabetes II, or non-insulin dependent mellitus, can develop due to lifestyle and is hereditary. Symptoms of Diabetes I start appearing when the islet cells have been destroyed. Rhein said it can happen when someone is 3 years old, or when they are a teenager.
Now, Kegan has to check his blood sugar and insulin levels four to six times a day. Rhein said he has to check his blood sugar every time he eats, before or after exercising and before he goes to bed.
If his blood sugar is too low, Kegan knows he has to have sugar and how much. Then he needs to wait 15 minutes and test himself again. If he’s in the correct sugar range, Rhein said he has to have a protein/carbohydrate snack to keep him at the proper sugar level. Rhein said protein stabilizes the blood sugar. If his blood sugar is too high, Rhein said he needs insulin.
Kegan is learning how to monitor how many carbohydrates he eats. Rhein said they monitor carbs and not sugar because carbs are converted to sugar. For every 15 grams of carbohydrates, Rhein said they have to give one gram of insulin.
The family has also made dietary modifications. Rhein said they don’t drink soda pop, stay away from processed foods and don’t eat much candy.
Rhein said Kegan doesn’t stay the night with his grandparents or friends, yet. She said she got a cell phone when Kegan was diagnosed with diabetes so if someone else is staying with the kids, they can call if they have questions.
But, she said they are teaching Kegan how to monitor his diabetes and he can get sick if he doesn’t take care of it.
Ultimately, Rhein said Kegan will be on his own taking care of himself someday.
Kegan also has to have his eyes and feet checked because complications can occur from high blood sugar levels. His weight and growth and general health are also monitored because Rhein said those are a good indication of how the diabetes is being handled.
In addition to food, other things can make Kegan’s blood sugar levels go high or low. The Rheins have lived in Lassen County for a year and Rhein said the cold dry air can cause Kegan’s blood sugar to lower because his body is using more energy to keep the body warm and hydrated. When he is sick, Reihn said it causes his blood sugar to rise
The Rhein’s also travel to San Jose once every four months to see a pediatric endocrinologist and have Kegan’s HBA1C blood test, which tells how often his blood sugar has been in the highs.
Kegan is the second oldest of four children and Rhein said his siblings also help monitor him and his behavior. They all know where the diabetic kit is, the meter and the candy if needed. If his blood sugar drops too low, Rhein said Kegan can get combative, making it difficult to give him sugar. Rhein said it has only happened once during the night, but they were able to get some sugar into his body using a tube of frosting, which is something they now keep with them.
Rhein said the family never goes anywhere without food, nor can they just get in the car to go get a snack.
However, she said they do live normal lives and Kegan participates in normal things kids do.
“We homeschool, play soccer and go hiking,” she said. “We just have to be careful and monitor (the diabetes) all the time,” Rhein said.
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