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National Diabetes Week – Archer’s Story

Archer diabetes article
WCH News
Posted 15 Jul. 2021

Meet 8 year old Archer. Two years ago at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital his family received the news that he has Type One Diabetes. To raise awareness for #NationalDiabetesWeek we are sharing his story, told by Mum, Amy:

“People often ask how we found out and what were his symptoms? The truth is we were incredibly lucky to find out when we did and how we did as many (most) Type 1 diagnosis experiences are extremely traumatic and often result in life-threatening DKA before being diagnosed.

Unbeknownst to us, Archer was exhibiting all the most common symptoms of Diabetes, including the 4Ts....

  • TOILET – Archer was literally needing to go to the toilet every 5 minutes which was extremely noticeable as we were on our way back from a holiday and we had to pull over several times in a short space.
  • THIRST – Archer would drink and drink and drink water and still be thirsty, asking for more water. We also thought this was the reason for him needing to wee all the time.
  • THINNER – Archer had lost weight and was looking skinnier. Being 7 years old, we put this down to a growth spurt – he had shot up and thinned out.
  • TIRED – Archer has always been an amazing sleeper and always slept 12 hours a night so this was not unusual. Looking back to when he was diagnosed, he did look more tired in and under the eyes.
  • BLURRED VISION – Archer would blink all the time and he told me sometimes things looked blurry. Naturally I took him to the optometrist and he was fitted with glasses. Yet another “explainable” symptom.

So the morning after we got back from our little getaway, off we went to the GP, (blissfully unaware and completely naive!) expecting to get some antibiotics for what we assumed was probably just a UTI (a very common misconception!)

I remember the concerned look on the doctors face as I was mentioning all the symptoms and even when she told us to head to Womens and Childrens Hospital to test for diabetes I still was not overly concerned as I thought she was just being extra cautious. That “extra cautious” doctor saved Archers life.

Within an hour, Archer was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and we spent the next week in hospital where we got a crash course in all things Diabetes. What an overload of (necessary!!) information! I still remember thinking it all must be a mistake. They’ve mixed up his results. He couldn’t possibly have diabetes- we had no family history of it.

2 years on, I can’t believe how much we have all learnt. I am the first to admit we had no understanding of the seriousness of the disease, the complications it can cause and the steps necessary to manage it every day 24/7. The thought of needles, which once terrified me, is now just our regular daily routine. 5x a day, every day. In fact it is so normal for us all that we can (and do!) literally do it in our sleep.

Having to count the carbs in every single thing he eats used to take us forever to work out just one meal- now any one of us can pick up most foods and know how many carbs are in it. Archer is freakishly good at remembering carb counts. This is a vital skill because the amount of insulin given depends on how many carbs are being consumed. If you get that carb count wrong, the insulin dose given will be wrong and will likely cause a dangerous low or high.

Some things do get easier. Some things do not. The stress never goes away. The panic never goes away. The relentless nature of diabetes- never goes away. BUT we continue to be amazed at Archer’s strength and resilience and we love how he doesn’t let it stop him doing all the things he loves – footy, basketball and karate.

He doesn’t even realise how many people he has educated about diabetes along the way – his friends, teachers, family, US and hopefully by sharing his diagnosis story it may also help someone else.

Today we are celebrating just how far we have come and what a brave little super star Archer is and will continue to be. Happy 2nd Diaversary mate, here’s hoping that one day we can celebrate the day a cure is found instead! Until then, we will keep on keeping on and continue being forever grateful for our wonderful support network.”

Wishing Archer, his family and all of our Diabetes doctors, nurses and staff a happy #NationalDiabetesWeek #NDW2021 #headsupdiabetes

The WCHN Endocrinology and Diabetes service provides a full range of endocrine/diabetes services for children from birth to 18 years of age and includes regional SA and interstate consultations. For more information visit: