There Is Hope
I remember it all like it was yesterday, memories of those four days of coping
With so much change all at one time that it made my head spin. I knew it wasn't
Going to be easy coming home with a glucose meter in my hand plus insulin, syringes,
Strips for the meter, and everything else I had to keep up with to control my blood
Sugar levels. At this point, I was still in shock and couldn't even believe the doctor
Said I had Juvenile Diabetes. I still remember those four days in the hospital; those
White walls were the only thing I could stare at, plus the tv and the window. An IV
Was in my hand. I was tired from being dehydrated and when I was at home I didn't
Know that my mom had been watching me more often due to her worries over my health.
I was always thirsty, I always had to go to the bathroom and I was wetting the bed at night.
Worst of all, even though I ate well, I was losing weight. By the time I was in the hospital,
I only weighed sixty pounds. Sixty pounds for a nine-year-old…not good. Before my
Diagnosis, my mom had been scared to death that I might have had cancer. When I had
Last gone to the doctor, we had been told there was low white blood cell count in my
Blood stream from what lab results said. That only scared my mom even more. One
Night at home my mom had come in my roon and was trying to wake me up, literally
Having to keep shaking me and saying my name before I would wake up. When I did,
Her only thoughts were set on the signs…and that they were all pointing to Diabetes.
She made me get up and come to the kitchen table. She pulled out her own glucose
Meter and lancing device and checked my blood sugar. Turns out, it was 41. At that
Point it was so low that I didn't wake up I would have died. She quickly made me sit
Down as she poured a glass of orange juice. I was so sleepy that my mom had to keep
On begging me to drink the juice as I was dozing off at the table. When it finally came
Back up, it ended up going up to 400. My mom then gave me an insulin shot. Then later
It dropped again. The cycle of highs and lows continued until my dad came in and
Told us we were going to the hospital. We got in his truck and went to Vanderbilt
Children's Hospital in Nashville. When we got there, I was immediately checked into
A room and blood work was taken again. Several nurses rushed in and surrounded
My bed as one checked my blood sugar and another was getting ready to put in an IV.
I couldn't help but think that the finger prickings and shots at home had been bad
Enough, and it drove me insane knowing that more needles were involved in the process.
Once I had been changed into a hospital gown, I was left to rest in bed with my parents
In the room. Here I was, feeling alone and afraid. This was all new to me, and I didn't
Know how to take in my new atmosphere. I was bitter because every time I ate, I had
To be stuck by another needle. And before a meal, I had to be pricked by a needle. No
Vacation whatsoever. Just the same routine every day until a cure could be found.
Which could take years in advance before that time would come. I knew I had to be
Tough, so I was. No, it wasn't fair that I had a medical condition, but it was something
That I could treat with medication and be my old self everyday. Those with cancer didn't
Even have that much, so I knew I was very lucky. Of course, my mom drilled it in my head
So much to a point that I was completely annoyed, but I listened to it, anyway. When it
Came time to eat, I faced the dreaded finger pricking again, then after I ate, I was faced
With more dread. The nurses didn't intend on just giving the insulin themselves, but
Making sure my parents could. First, they wanted my mom to give me the shots. My
Mom already give them for she had Type 2 Diabetes, but when she did inject the insulin
It was pretty painful. I knew she didn't mean to on purpose, but she didn't realize
That she was, "jabbing" the needle in too hard. The nurse even got mad when a bruise
Was left behind. My mom felt bad about it and she was sorry that it happened. The next
Day or so that I was there, nurses brought in videos that talked about how to live
With Diabetes and how to treat it. Books were often brought in and a nurse would open
The book to a page where it would show the pancreas and the cells that supposedly
Represented the insulin and how the pancreas broke it down into the use of energy.
All this stuff at nine years old went way above my head just as much as math did in
School. I might not have been hitting the books there but I being graded on a subject
That wasn't even taught in Science class. One afternoon another nurse came in
And began breaking down the basics on adding carbohydrates. My dad was in the room
With me watching as she spoke every word. Then came another meal, and this time,
My dad would be practicing the insulin injections. I leaned back into the hospital
Bed and groaned in irritability. "Give me a break," I thought. "Oh, wait a minute,
You forgot didn't you?" a voice said to me. "There's no break from this. Let's just hope
It doesn't break you first!" I was about to lose my mind at this point. "I won't break.
I'm stronger than this. I know I can do this. I can beat this. I may have Diabetes, but
It cannot and will not control me. I'm in control. I'll have to fight to win this battle,
But it's worth it if it's going to get me to where I'm going." I knew right away that Diabetes
Wasn't going to get me down on my knees so easily. While I was at the hospital, I took
Every moment I had to learn more about how I could take care of myself every day.
Soon enough, I was checking my own blood sugar and I was learning to give myself
My own insulin without any help. At this rate, I would soon be able to go home and
Live my everyday life again with a different kind of outlook and different kind of
Independence. Positivity and hope…
"This is the moment. It's on the line.
Which way to go for. In the middle, between wrong
And right. But you know after all…
It's your life whatcha gonna do?
The world is watching you.
Everyday the choices you make
Say what you are and who your
Heart beats for. It's an open door.
It's your life.
Once I returned to school, I was given special permission by teacher to sit down
With my classmates and talk about my medical condition and how I live with it
"All you, who you always said you would be
With a sinking feeling in your chest.
Always waiting for someone else to fix you.
Tell me, when did you forget?
It's your life, whatcha gonna do?
The world is watching you.
Everyday the choices you make
Say what you are and who your heart beats
For it's an open door…
To live the way that you believe.
This is your opportunity
To let your life be one that lights the way…
Six years later…
Today, I stand a leader for all of those who live with Type 1 Diabetes and
I only let myself believe that Diabetes doesn't have to be labeled as a condition,
But moreover as a gift. I've learned so much from it and how to not only
Benefit myself in everyday life but how to use it to help others. Diabetes
Doesn't have to bring you down to nothing because you are stronger than that.
We all are. God gave us all lives with plans on how to use them to bring hope
And beauty into the world to those who don't see it, and I'm glad to say that I'm
One of God's chosen to be able to so. Remember that this life isn't always easy,
But that beauty is found even in the smallest things of life. There's hope in beauty,
And beauty in hope, and it stands as a sign that God is always with you. So don't
Feel alone or afraid, for He lights the way with every step that you take. Remember
To live life to the fullest even on the worst days…it all gets better with time. And
Don't forget that you can still be who you wanna be…don't let Diabetes put you
At a disadvantage….let it be a chance for you to create change. For hope finds a way!
For those of you who are living with diabetes, or have family or friends who live with it,
Here are some tips that can help you manage a better lifestyle and better controlled
When you eat a meal, NEVER take your insulin BEFORE you eat…in such cases,
if you plan on eating a whole bowl of cereal and you take the amount to cover
for it but you only eat half of it, your blood sugar will most likely drop from an
insulin overdose. BE CAREFUL!
When you go to bed at night, always keep your needed materials to check
Your blood sugar and a juice box by your bed. Your blood sugar could drop in the
Middle of the night, and depending on how low it is, you may be too weak to
Even get out of bed to get juice. Always keep it with you, whether means you
Are out somewhere or with friends!
Remember the importance of wearing a medical ID. Bracelet. I can't stress
Enough how important this is, especially for those who are on the road a lot…
For those who don't know this, if cops pull you over for suspicion that you're
Driving under the influence (When your blood sugar drops severely low, it
Often impairs your ability to think thus know what you are doing. Without
Proof that you have a medical condition, they can arrest you right on the spot!
This also goes for insulin syringes…if they search your car and they find these,
With no proof of an ID they will arrest you thinking you are on drugs! Beware,
This is important!)
Make sure that at school teachers and classmates are well aware that you
Have a medical condition. Also check with every teacher you have and
Remind them of your needs and how they are more frequent than others.
(getting water to bring down high blood sugar, low blood sugar, needing
To leave to check, bathroom breaks, etc.) Tell your teacher that in your
Best interest for your health that you need to keep juice boxes and snacks in
The classroom. And if you ever get food and drink in class, if anybody
Asks you why you're eating or tries to tell you aren't allowed to eat in class
Or tries to take it from you, immediately tell them you have diabetes. If
It's persistent, let your teacher know and have a discussion with classmates
So they'll better understand. (Kids often ask others if they can have food and
Drinks and when they don't understand why you can't give it to them, it
Often makes it harder to get them to leave you alone.)
Remember that you can still eat sweets like cake and ice cream(special
Occasions are just fine for this, but you must remember to take your
Insulin accordingly. But don't over do the sweet stuff…eat it in moderation.
Even people who don't have diabetes should eat this in the same portion!
Whenever you go out with friends to eat or go out for physical activities,
Don't let them persuade you to do otherwise(when you finish eating, don't
Let them talk you into waiting to take your insulin, or when you are getting
Excersize and feel like your blood sugar is low, don't put off checking it and
Don't let friends stop you or make you wait. Remember now, it's your
Health, YOUR responsibility, so you are accountable for your actions as of the
Decisions you make. Don't let bad judgement cloud your head!
And last but not least, remember to educate others that you know, whether
It be your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, anybody and EVERYBODY you're
Around. Teach them the importance of good health and lifestyle with diabetes
And teach them how to use the emergency glucagon kit(it's a shot for diabetes
Patient who has passed out from severely low blood sugar. You only use it
If the person is unconscious.) Make sure people know what to do with this
Shot and how to use it in case something happens and you get sick from a
Low blood sugar. Continue To educate those around you daily and make sure they
Understand your needs.
Don't let other people put you down or refer to you as "the diabetic" or "the
Diabetic kid" it's not fair to you to be singled out individually in front of
Other people and it's like their trying to define your differences because of
What you have. Diabetes doesn't define you who are as a person and it doesn't
Change you, either. Plus it's embarrassing and it often is humiliating.
Oh, I forgot! When you're in school, often remind your teachers what symptoms
To recognize and pay attention to in case you don't recognize them so they
Won't think it's from a behavior problem that you're not even having. The same
Goes if you also have a substitute teacher…tell them the same.
Anyway, I gotta go, folks! Be happy, play hard, live life and enjoy every
Moment of it! Be all you can be each and every day! And take every
Opportunity to teach people the good things in life and be an example for
Others. Most importantly, you can do anything that you set your mind to!