Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School senior Logan Keane, center, credits his older brothers Daniel, left, and Adam with helping him grow up with type 1 diabetes. Submitted photo

PARIS — A diagnosis of juvenile diabetes can send a family on a continuous roller coaster, especially when the child is too young to understand and manage his condition.

Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School senior Logan Keane has lived with the disease since the age of 2 and fully appreciates that his parents and older brothers rallied around him following his diagnosis.

“My siblings were there from what I can remember, having diabetes from an early age,” Keane said. “Where I really couldn’t take care of it myself and do my own checks, part of the responsibility was on my brothers. From that point onward, and even today, they are very concerned with my health. They’re great at asking about it and making sure they know that I am healthy, knowing the signs and the behavior when I have high or low blood sugar. They know if something’s not right. They’ve been great at helping to monitor my care.

“My family adapted. It wasn’t that smooth during my younger years, from what I’ve been told and what I remember of it,” Keane acknowledged.

One early health crisis came about a year after his diagnosis, when he experienced DKA, which stands for diabetic ketoacidosis.

“I know my brothers will always be people I can always rely on, for any need that I have,” he said. “I always look upon my siblings as places I can turn to. It is a special connection.”

While Keane’s older brothers were barely into their teen years when they had to learn about living with and looking after someone with diabetes, he was even younger when he began managing his own condition, with his whole family’s help.

“I’ve been doing my own checks as long as I can remember,” he said. “It was always encouraged that I be independent for my own care. Obviously my parents and brothers have for the longest time helped me with it. Delivering my own doses, interpreting my own readings, has been with me since 8 or 9. Going off to elementary school, a lot of kids can trace it to that time.”

Technology has eased the strain of monitoring his disease. Keane recently got a continuous glucose monitor that reports readings to both his and his mother’s phones.

“Every five minutes it spits out a new reading,” he said. “It’s not completely accurate, but it’s a marker for where you are currently. It’s most useful for predicting where your blood sugar is going next. If you see a trend of any sort and it gets to the point where action needs to be taken, it can act faster than your body’s own awareness of what your blood sugar is doing. I can treat it before my body starts to feel it. It helps maintain a healthy zone.”

The family support Keane has been afforded has him positioned to be wholly responsible for his care once he heads off to college next fall. He is also ready to tackle his field of study: he plans to focus his studies on chemistry or biology and go on to medical school. He already knows what his ultimate field of specialty will be – the one he has relied on his whole life to monitor his diabetes.

Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School senior Logan Keane plans to become an endocrinologist and treat others with juvenile diabetes. Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School senior Logan Keane plans to become an endocrinologist and treat others with juvenile diabetes. Submitted photo

“I want to become an endocrinologist,” he said. “They treat people with thyroid conditions, or with celiac disease, or with type 1 diabetes. I go to my endocrinologist every one to three months.”

Keane has seen the same doctor to treat his diabetes since he was 8 years old. Their conversations over time are what led to him deciding the pursue the same career.

“My endocrinologist, Dr. Michael Dedekian, is one of the best in the field,” Keane explained. “Having to grapple with taking care of my own diabetes from such a young age, and having such a fantastic health care professional help me with it … he sort of suggested the field, maybe even as a joke at first. But my inclinations wandered and then I eventually became set on wanting to be one myself.”

As Keane charts his future in medicine he has also managed to participate in his final year of high school as best he can. Oxford County’s COVID-19 caution level was recently lifted from yellow to green, meaning fewer restrictions to singing with high school chamber choir, which has largely been a Zoom affair.

“When we do Zoom, we’re assigned vocal exercises on an app called Smart Music,” Keane said. “We don’t sing at the same time but we’re all assigned the same work. We also do exercises using an app called Sight Reading Factory. We tried warming up on Zoom before and it didn’t really work out. There are significant delays. It has been challenging for our teacher and the students in terms of singing alone at home.”

Keane hasn’t had a full year of chamber choir since his sophomore year. He is doubtful that the group will be able to do any performances before he graduates.

“It would be nice to present something virtually where we are (singing) in the same area and livestream or record it so people could safely view it from home. That would be the most likely solution, but at this point I don’t know.”

Keane misses the community work he did until the pandemic hit with OHCHS’ Key Club and National Honor Society. He also volunteers at the Finnish American Heritage Society of West Paris. His grandparents both belonged, with his grandfather serving as president. He would accompany his mother to public suppers and open houses, helping set up, serve food and break down afterward.

“Key Club, National Honor Society, no organizations or clubs at school have had a good opportunity to work on a big project,” he said. “No community events to help organizing and carry out community events. No providing snacks at sports games. Normally I would be very active in community service.”

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