Patients in the Spotlight: Ellyse Burroughs
Girl Takes Control of Diabetes After Young Diagnosis
Stephanie Burroughs could tell something was wrong when her daughter Ellyse started potty training. Ellyse would have to go to the bathroom constantly and wouldn’t go anywhere without her water bottle. Having grown up with a father with Type 1 diabetes, Stephanie had her suspicions and, after enlisting the help of her father’s finger pricker and some store-bought urination test strips, she and her husband Flynn took their 3-year-old daughter to her pediatrician at Elmwood Pediatrics.
Ellyse’s blood sugar level was over 600 (a typical range is 80 to 120) and her pancreas was producing little to no insulin.
She was admitted to UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital early the following day and diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Nurses and a child life staff member in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology trained Ellyse and her parents on how to monitor blood sugar levels and administer insulin injections. To make sure Ellyse was comfortable, child life demonstrated the procedures on a teddy bear.
“She thought that was the greatest thing,” said Stephanie. “Even though we would rather not have been in that situation, it was the best experience.”
Two years after her diabetes diagnosis, it was determined that Ellyse also had an autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s, in which the immune system attacks the thyroid. Thyroid problems co-occur in 10 to 15 percent of children who have diabetes.
After taking about seven shots of insulin a day for six months, Ellyse switched to a pump that delivers insulin in a steady, measured and continuous dose, with larger dosages at meal and snack times. Doses are delivered through a catheter, or plastic tube inserted just under the skin. Now 9 years old, Ellyse runs her pump herself and monitors her sugar levels regularly.
“She was diagnosed at such a young age that she really has a good understanding and grasp on it all now,” said Stephanie.
An active fourth grader at Leary Elementary, Ellyse plays softball and basketball and is also an avid swimmer.
“Our goal is to help as many children as possible stay home and enjoy their normal routines and Ellyse is a great example of that,” said Nicholas Jospe, M.D., chief of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology. “We provide the tools, such as the pump and insulin monitor, for care and our patients and families are the ones who really take control of treating the condition.”
Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Endocrinology/Diabetes division was recently recognized nationally by U.S. News and World Report in its Best Children’s Hospital rankings for the first time. It ranked No. 42 out of 184 pediatric institutions nationwide.
“Ellyse’s medical team is phenomenal and works very well together,” said Stephanie. “We are especially fond of Dr. Jospe and appreciate his thoroughness and perspective.”