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Here is my story:
I wish I could tell you that I don’t let diabetes get in my way but sometimes it does. Like when I’m at Cheerleading practice and my blood sugar goes low. Or in class when I have to go to the nurse because I feel high. Or when I’m hanging out with friends, trying to have fun, I always have to carry my bag with me and stop what we’re doing so I can check my blood sugar.
I wish I could tell you that I am in control of my diabetes. But sometimes it is in control of me. When my blood sugar goes low, I don’t have control over anything. It’s like a roller coaster that you just have to ride. When I’m low, I have to sit there and wait after drinking my juice box. It’s scary to sit there and think about what will happen if I don’t drink my juice. I’m afraid I will have a seizure or worse. This roller coaster is up and down and sometimes straight. But the problem with this roller coaster is it doesn’t end. There are no breaks, vacations or free-time.
I wish I could tell you that diabetes doesn’t stop me from doing anything. But that’s not true. Two weeks ago it stopped me from going to school. I did not hear my pump beeping a ‘No Delivery’ alarm during the night. My blood sugar must have been high all night and by the time I woke up, I felt really sick and had keytones. My mom called me into school. Diabetes stopped me that day. It stopped me from learning, it stopped me from singing in chorus, it stopped me from riding the bus and it stopped me from talking to my friends and going to cheerleading practice. Sometimes diabetes takes over my life and I feel out of control. I am a prisoner to my pink insulin pump.
I wish I could tell you that diabetes is no big deal and doesn’t make me feel different. But it is a big deal and last year when I tried to join ski club, the teacher told me that I couldn’t sign up unless my mom comes with us. I was crushed. I was different. All of the testing and injecting insulin pump sites is hard to endure, but what hurts the most is feeling different.
My name is Haley Shelton. I am a 14 year old girl from New York living with Type 1 Diabetes. My story starts when I was little. I grew up around diabetes but I never actually had it. It was something I witnessed but never felt or understood. My father and sister both had diabetes. As I grew up, I watched my sister deal with the disease, and my dad really struggle with it. He had some of the worse complications from it, including amputations, and loss of kidney functions. My Dad, even with all of the complications, stayed brave and tried to control it as much as he could. But after 34 years of a long battle, he lost his life to this disease. He passed away on August 3, 2005. He was only 41 at the time he left me, my mom and my sister.
I was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes on June 21, 2011. It was the first day of summer vacation last year. My mom and sister and I had a great girl’s day planned with shopping, lunch and a movie. I kept asking for water and to go to the bathroom. I could see the worry on my mom’s face as she asked my sister to use her blood test on me. And I could see her eyes fill with tears as she read the number. I was scared. I knew what was coming. I was being strapped into the seat of that never-ending roller coaster. I was going to be like my sister, Karissa. I didn’t want to be! I didn’t want to have diabetes. Karissa had diabetes, not me. She was brave with it, not me! I was so scared and I was so sad because I knew what it meant. I knew what was coming and how awful it would be. I knew that everything was about to change and my life would be tied to numbers. Blood sugar numbers, numbers of carbs, insulin ratios, correction factors. I watched my sister deal with this terrible disease and I felt so bad for her when things didn’t go well. I wasn’t going to be able to do it! I took a deep breath. A wave of sadness engulfed me. I heard the clicking of the coaster as it started its ascent into horribleness.
Everything was about to change.
In the past year, I have done the best I can to take care of my diabetes by checking my blood sugar often. I’ve known the immediate dangers of low and high blood sugars since I was little. I witnessed my mom dialing 911 as my Dad had seizures from going low. No family deserves to endure this kind of pain. This is one of the many reasons why I want a cure.
A cure is important to me because I would be a regular kid again. I wouldn’t ever have to stop what I’m doing to take care of diabetes. There would be no more needles, or 3am site changes or glucose tabs. We are very lucky to have organizations like JDRF working towards a cure. But we need help.
Please help me on my journey. I need every single member of our community and JDRF to support research and funding for a cure.
Please help me find a cure for the thousands of families with children with diabetes.
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