Living with Type 1: A Family Story - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Living with Type 1: A Family Story

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Before playtime, it's snack time.

At least that's the way it needs to be for Gwen Schroeder, whose blood sugar is dropping.

"Mostly I'm in my 100s and 200s, sometimes a little higher," Schroeder said while testing her blood. "I get low normally more at the end of the day of school."

After quick snack, Gwen's back in action.

But she needs to check her blood sugar three to six times a day.

The 10-year-old has Type 1 diabetes.

Something she and her mom, Kathy Errthum, live with every day.

"I thought I knew what that meant, if that makes sense, until we started to live with it," Errthum said. "And seeing everything that she goes through and her struggles, it was more than just having someone with diabetes in your household. You can see, everyday, she has something that she has to deal with."

"I check at breakfast, lunch and dinner and then snacks," Schroeder said. "Or if I'm not feeling good."

She also checks at bedtime. And Errthum occasionally checks her daughter's levels in the middle of the night.

With type 1 diabetes, Schroeder's body doesn't make enough insulin, a hormone that converts food into energy. So, she uses an insulin pump.

"Then I can (tell it) how much insulin I need," she said. "So if (I ate) 5 carbs, I'd put in 5." The amount Schroeder puts into the pump is measured by the amount of carbohydrates she eats.

"If (Schroeder's) sugar is high enough, she gets sick, really easily. And that means she's missing a day of school. She might be in the hospital. She might see all her friends outside and she doesn't get to play outside at the time because she's not doing well," Errthum said. "Those are the things that really bother me."

Schroeder's blood sugar fluctuates all the time.

"You know, as a parent, you think, ‘What if this happens when we're not around?' Or, ‘What if this happens during the night and we're not able to see what's going on?' I think of that every day, all the time. You never can forget that it's part of your daughter's life," Errthum said.

And Schroeder can never forget it's a part of hers.

"It's okay to be sad," Errthum said, holding her daughter, whose eyes are filled with tears. "Just sucks some days, doesn't it? And you know and I know if we talk about it, it means it's there."

"We're not sad every day like this," Errthum smiled.

That's true.

When Schroeder's not in school, she's doing gymnastics, volleyball and swimming, to name a few of her many extracurricular activities.

"She doesn't let it slow her down," said Errthum, who's cheering Schroeder on, because they'll always be a mother/daughter team.

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