I am 9 years old and I am a Type 1 diabetic.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone essential to turning food into energy. This means that I have to give myself insulin through my insulin pump before everything I eat. This disease affects both children and adults and is not related to diet or lifestyle. With Type 1 diabetes, there are no days off! This disease affects you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and there is no cure — yet.
Living with Type 1 diabetes has changed my life drastically. I had to learn to read nutrition labels, count carbs and give up many snacks that I enjoy eating. Some days this disease can really be a drag. On average I have to prick my finger 10 times a day to check my blood sugar. That means I have pricked my finger close to 15,000 times in the past four years.
There are times that I don’t feel good due to high or low blood sugar and also times that I can’t participate in certain activities because of it. However, I still keep a positive attitude, continue to smile and don’t let this disease stop me. I still enjoy playing with my friends, playing basketball and doing gymnastics.
My favorite place to go is Barton Day Camp in Old Westbury. Barton is a camp that specializes in diabetes education. When I am there, I enjoy swimming, doing arts and crafts, and playing games, but most of all I love spending time with other kids like me. One of the coolest things at Barton is that everyone has to check their blood sugar. You never feel different or alone.
Another thing I enjoy doing is participating in the Walk to Cure Diabetes every year. This walk is held in Eisenhower Park every October. My team name is Camryn’s Crusade. We are always looking for new team members, so get your walking shoes on and come and join us.
Although I have learned to live with this disease, like all other diabetics out there, I wish I didn’t have to. Hopefully one day we can turn Type 1 into Type None!
Therese O’Loughlin’s fourth-grade class, Michael F. Stokes Elementary School, Levittown