Laila is preparing to educate her classmates on the truths about diabetes, and is feeling apprehensive. Together, Laila and I have answered a list of questions in hopes she's prepared to do what she'll have to do so many times in her life: be brave, be independent, and educate those around her about the disease they call diabetes.
Q: Can you eat sugar?
A: I can not eat too much sugar, but I can have sugar. If I have too much sugar, my blood sugar gets high and I feel sick.
Q: Does it hurt when you poke yourself?
A: When I first started, it hurt a little bit. It doesn't hurt anymore, because I'm used to it.
Q: Can you catch it?
A: No. What I have isn't something I can give to someone else.
Q: Do you get sick? Like, pukey?
A: Sometimes. It's only happened to me a few times. When I'm in the 500's or above, I sometimes throw up.
Q: Is it scary?
A: It was scary at first because I had tubes in my hands and they took blood out of one and flushed it with water while I was in the hospital. That hurt. I didn't like it. It's not scary anymore.
Q: How did you get it?
A: I felt very sick at first. We went to the doctor and they took some of my blood and they called and told my mommy and daddy I had diabetes and we had to go straight to the hospital.
Q: What happens when your sugar is high or low?
A: When my sugar is high, I have to give myself insulin. If my sugar is low, I have to drink a juice or eat some sugary candy.
Q: Can it ever go away?
Q: What are some signs we need to look for to get help right away?
A: If I ever look like I'm falling asleep, or I start shaking and talking funny, you need to check my sugar fast.
Q: What does it feel like?
A: Diabetes doesn't feel like anything. If I'm too high, I get a stomach ache, if I'm too low, I feel shaky. Otherwise, I can't feel anything.
Q: How did you know you had it? How did they find it?
A: I was feeling very tired, I couldn't eat anything and I was thirsty all the time. My mommy said I got really skinny because I wasn't eating. I went to the doctor and they took some blood and told me my sugar was very high and I needed to go to the hospital so they could make me feel better.
Q: Is there a cure?
A: No, but I hope every day they will find one so I don't have diabetes anymore.
Q: What are your medicines? What do they do?
A: Novolog, it's the name of the insulin I take. That's the only medicine I have. The insulin helps my sugar stay down. I have to take it whenever my sugar is high or whenever I eat something.
Q: Does diabetes feel weird?
A: No. I can't feel anything.
Q: Is it hard to have diabetes?
A: No. Sometimes I even forget I have it.
Q: Do you wear your pump all day? Night and day?
A: Yes, I wear my pump all the time. The only time I take it off is to go swimming or take a bath. It can't get wet.
Q: Do you have a special diet?
A: No. I eat whatever my mommy lets me!
Q: How long have you been a diabetic?
A: Next month will be 2 years since I found out.
Q: Are you born with diabetes, or is it something you develop during your life?
A: I have type 1. I wasn't born with it, I got sick one day and never felt better. I was 5 when I found out I had it.
Q: Can you play sports, or even play outside?
A: Yes! I can play sports and play outside! I can do anything you can do!
Q: Do you have to take "yucky" medicine?
A: No, I only take insulin. Now that I have a pump, I don't even give myself shots anymore.
Q: Do you have to eat "special" foods?
A: No, I can eat whatever I want as long as my mommy and daddy say it's okay. I can have meat, cheese, and anything else that has no carbs in it without any insulin at all.
Q: How come you get to have snacks and juice in school?
A: I have to eat or drink juice if my sugar is low.
Q: Do you think you're better than us?
A: No. We all get insulin, I just don't make my own like you.
Q: Does it hurt to get poked?
A: No. When I put my pump on it stings a little bit, but I don't have to have shots anymore so it doesn't really hurt at all.
Q: How does the pump work?
A: The pump gives me insulin all the time because I don't make my own. When I check my sugar it sends the number to my pump and it tells me how much insulin I need to fix it. When I eat something I put the number of carbs in my pump and it tells me how much insulin I need to eat it.
Q: Why do you have to test your blood before you can choose to eat something?
A: I check my sugar to make sure I'm okay. If I'm too high, I can eat what I want without having to have insulin. If I'm too high and I don't fix it before eating something, my sugar will go even higher and I'll be sick.
If you're a regular follower of this blog, or just stopping by for the first time, I recommend you check out this post I did for Diabetes Blog Week, it's a composite of snapshots taken over the past 18 months of what diabetes really looks like. Feel free to read previous posts and leave comments, Laila LOVES comments!!
Thank you everyone who participated, the turnout was above and beyond what we ever expected! Laila is very excited to talk to her class, she's even invited me to come in and visit with them one day and help her with any tricky questions!
Do you have diabetes, or know someone who does? Want to write about it? Contact me, I'm always in search of guest bloggers, we feature one a month!
All our love.