American Diabetes Month

Mallory “Mal” Parypinski, a 23-year-old Naperville resident, was diagnosed with diabetes 17 years ago. At the age of six, her parents say they became alarmed when she developed unusual symptoms.

“She was drinking tons and tons of water, she was always thirsty,” said Beverly Parypinski, Mal’s mother.

“It’s a day I’ll never forget. It was November 8, 1993. She was in the hospital for 5 days. I was absolutely scared out of my mind,” said Jeff Parypinski, Mal’s father.

Mal has Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as Juvenile On-set Diabetes, or Insulin-
Dependent Diabetes.

“It is actually when there’s a deficiency of insulin, so we need to treat that insulin with injections,” said Carrie Zimmer, a Pediatric Endocrinologist.

As Mal grew up, she would inject as many as 10 shots a day. By 8th grade she began wearing an insulin pump, which reduces the number of injections. The pump is attached to her at all times, and inserts similar to an IV.

“Ultimately, it was a better decision because I can manage the diabetes easily on my own,” said Mal.

When Type 1 diabetics have high blood sugar they need insulin, and when they’re low they need sugar. Mal has a history of low blood sugar overnight, which can be very dangerous for her. The entire family, even her dog, helps monitor her health.

“A couple of times my dog has woken me up in the morning. I was really low, and I was not waking up from my sleep. He kept jumping on me, barking, I woke up,” said Mal.

If her blood sugar is low, she becomes disoriented and may not know to test her blood levels. As a part of their daily routine, Mal’s mom texts her to make sure she’s up and doing fine.

“Since she lives alone, I need to know she’s ok. If she doesn’t text me back within 15-20 minutes, I’m in the car heading over here and she knows that,” said Beverly.

With help from her pump, her friends, and her family, Mal has her diabetes under control. She knows she has a greater risk for complications such as blindness, heart and kidney disease.

November is American Diabetes Month, a time to raise awareness about the disease. According to the American Diabetes Association, almost 24 million people have been diagnosed with the disease, and 57 million are considered pre-diabetic.

Mal is hoping ongoing research makes an impact during her lifetime.

“A cure will be found, and that is ultimately the only thing I could ever ask for,” said Mal.

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