Published on June 03, 2019

Rayden Zens

A Parent’s Story: "Everything gets better"

For 2-year-old Rayden, type 1 diabetes came on suddenly and seriously.

“He was sick and throwing up and then out of the blue he was struggling to breathe. We took him to the emergency room and he was immediately flown to Sioux Falls,” said his mother, Heather Zens, of Aberdeen.

The diagnosis turned their world upside down. “His blood sugar numbers were so high that his body was shutting down. There was a chance he wasn’t going to make it.”

Thankfully, things turned around. Rayden is now a healthy 13-year-old, and managing diabetes is just a normal part of his life.

“At first with a 2-year-old it was crazy – counting carbs all the time,” Zens said. He required insulin shots the first year. After that, he moved to an insulin pump.

“It’s been the best thing ever.” Rayden checks his blood sugar 10 to 15 times a day, inputs the numbers and his pump responds by giving him the right dose of insulin. “It’s just natural for him,” Zens said.

Diabetes has never held Rayden back. In fact, he’s a middle school wrestler. “A lot of people don’t even realize he’s diabetic.”

Zens has some advice for any parent whose child is newly diagnosed: “Ask people for help and stay in communication. Everything gets better.”

Learn more about living well with diabetes.

Photo courtesy of Hardin’s.

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