When I was in Kindergarten,something happened thatchanged my life. I didn’t feel likemyself. I was always thirsty andI felt very tired. I was even a littlecranky. MyMommythought itwas justbecause I wasworking sohard in Softball, but she wantedto be sure. She took me to see the doctor.The doctor told us that I hadsomething called Type 1 Diabetes.She also said that right now mybody wasn’t breaking down theglucose from my food. I didn’tknow what that meant, but the JM Joyful Monkeydoctor told us that I needed to goto the hospital right away!
When we got to the hospital, my Daddy was being silly. He told me hewished he had a cool bracelet like the one the lady had given me.My sisters stayed with my Papa and Oma while I was in the hospitalwith my parents. I had to stay in the hospital for 3 days. Sometimes Iwished I was the one staying with my Papa and Oma.
While we were in the hospital, my parents and I had a LOT to learn about Type 1Diabetes. A lot of it was boring and I couldn’t understand it all. I was surprised to learnthat the hospital had their own school for patients who were missing school. I went to the school at the hospital for 2 hours each Joyful Monkey day. Here are some of the pictures I painted at the hospital school…
We learned that my pancreaswasn’t making insulin like itshould. Insulin helps the body tobreak down glucose (a fancy wordfor sugar). Glucose is veryimportant to our bodies because itgives us energy. That is why Isometimes feel sleepy; like I haveno energy.We also learned how to take care ofmy diabetes at home. The doctorsand nurses showed us how to checkmy blood glucose. They alsotaught us how to give insulinshots. That’s why I had to beadmitted to the hospital…thedoctors and nurses had to take careof me while they were teaching myparents how to.
Finally, it was time to go home!I kind of enjoyed the hospital, except for all the shots! My family andfriends were very thoughtful and brought me all kinds of gifts; books,balloons, flowers, and more. I definitely felt loved!
Now, we take care of my diabetes athome. We use many different tools.I use my glucometer to see how muchglucose is in my blood. A pen with asmall needle pokes my finger. I squeezea little bit of blood out and put it on atest strip. The test strip is connected tomy meter and the meter tells me howmuch glucose is in my blood; it shouldbe between 80 and 180.If I am lower than 80, it is veryimportant for me to eat sugar. If I don’t,I could pass out and end up in thehospital.If I am higher than 180, I need a shot ofinsulin to bring my blood glucosedown. I also need a shot every time I eatsomething with carbohydrates (sugars).
I have to take care of my diabetes at school, too! My teacher and the health assistant help me do this. I still need to check my blood glucose before I eat; that is why I go to the health room before lunch. I also go to the health room to check my blood glucose if I am feeling “low”. Most of the time I can tell when my blood glucose is low because I feel very tired, dizzy, or just aMONKEY little “funny”. When I feel “low”, I always need a friend to go with meJOYFUL JM to the health room! You may notice that I need to have a snack in order to get my number up. I’m not trying to be rude, but sometimes snacks are very important to keep me healthy.
Goodbye Shots…Hello Insulin Pump! For over a year, I had to get shots every time I ate and every time my bloodglucose was too high. This meant I got between 3 and 6 shots every day…1,800 shots that year! It wasn’t very fun, but I got used to it. This lastsummer, I got a new tool that only pokes me once every 2-3 days…it is somuch better! It is called an insulin pump.
You’ve probably noticed my pump;it looks like a cell phone attached tomy waist. A long tube comes out ofthe pump and attaches to my leg.The pump delivers insulin into mybody. Sometimes it beeps or plays ashort tune; that just means that it’strying to send me a message. Mypump is not a toy. It’s a veryimportant tool to keep me healthy.My glucometer is the remote controlfor my pump. You might rememberthat my glucometer is what I use totest my blood glucose. After I testmy blood, it tells my pump howmuch insulin to give me.
You may also notice that I carry around a purple bag. This bag is also very important because it holds all of my diabetes supplies; like my glucometer, test strips, and insulin. To keep all of us safe, please do not touch my pump or my bag.I do have something you can touch, though. I have a stuffed monkeynamed Pumpernickel. He has a pump and a diabetes bracelet just like me!
There are two types ofDiabetes. I have Type 1. Theydon’t know how I got Diabetes,but they have told me that itwasn’t my fault; there wasnothing I did wrong. Itwasn’t because I didn’t eatright or because I wasn’texercising enough; it justhappened! The doctors also said that itisn’t contagious. You can’t getdiabetes just by touching meor by being my friend, so youdon’t have to worry about that!Even though I have diabetes, Ican still do all the things Ilike to do. And, whatever I do,it’s always better with afriend!
I have Type 1 Diabetes, but that is not who I am. I am Joyful Monkey, a smiley, giggling, joyful, 7 year old girl!I can still be anything I want to be when I grow up. Right now I want to be afarmer or a diabetes doctor (called an endocrinologist). Who knows? Maybesomebody will find a cure for diabetes by then. We’re hoping they do!