Four to 10 times a day 8-year-old Crowley twins Aiden and Asa Fuselier are reminded they are just a little bit different than their friends.
Last year, Aiden and Asa's mother, Rhonda, who has been a nurse for 16 years, starting seeing the signs and putting it together that Aiden was ill.
Mood swings, weight loss and blurred vision, Rhonda said, all pointed to the possibility Aiden had Type 1 diabetes.
“I pretty much knew at that point that that was what he had, but I was hoping I was wrong,” she said.
After she noticed he lost three pounds — more than five percent of his body weight — she took him to the doctor, and a couple of days later, her hunch was confirmed.
“It was a complete stir-up of our world,” she said.
Type 1 diabetes affects a person's pancreas and stops it from producing insulin. According to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 26 million people in the U.S. have Type 1 diabetes and 15 percent of them are children.
Aiden spent three days in the hospital while his blood sugar stabilized. At the same time, the family got a crash course on how to deal with the disease, which is diagnosed in 15,000 children in the U.S. each year.
At the same time, Rhonda's attention shifted to Asa. Doctors told her an identical twin has a 10 percent change of being diagnosed in the first year of a twin being diagnosed and a 50 percent chance in a lifetime.
“Five months later (after Aiden was diagnosed) I randomly checked Asa's blood-sugar and it was through the roof,” Rhonda said. “I was already heart-broken the first time and now you have to throw another one in the mix.”
Now the family of seven is helping the twins deal with and control their disease.
“It makes an impact on the whole family for sure,” Rhonda said. “Everybody has to look out for them.”
Rhonda said blood-sugar checks just before bedtime, and even in the middle of the night, are the norm.
“If they go low in their sleep, they can't feel it and they call it ‘dead in the bed,'” Rhonda said. “They won't wake up. It's a mother's worst fear to lose a child.”
The twins check their blood-sugar at school, and they wear wireless pumps that can be told how much insulin to give them. They also carry snacks — candy, crackers, juice boxes — to help control their sugar level when needed.
Now, the third-graders at Burleson's Frazier Elementary just deal with it.
“It helps them that they have each other because someone is going through it with them,” Rhonda said.
Rhonda said the boys are straight A students and have good citizenship grades. They also play video games, read and like to go to Hurricane Harbor and Six Flags.
“These two little boys are not letting it slow them down,” Rhonda said. “They have every excuse to blow off their work or have a bad attitude or whatever and they are just rolling with it.”
As the twins and the family learn to help each other, they are beginning to branch out to help others who face the same situation.
“I can't fix it, but I can try to help the people who can,” Rhonda said.
Shortly after Aiden was diagnosed, the family started Aiden's Army to help raise money for JDRF, and when Asa was diagnosed the named changed to The A2 Team.
Nov. 9, the family is taking part in Walk to Cure Diabetes at Panther Island Pavilion in Fort Worth. Donations can be made to the Fuseliers at www2.jdrf.org/goto/FuseA2team.
“Hopefully, they will see a cure in their lifetime,” Rhonda said.