Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life with Diabetes: Through the Eyes of Child

Please cheer for my daughter Brooke 
who joins us for this special 
Tuesday edition @theBookBoost!

Typically, I don't put images or personal information about my children online.  But in this case, I think it is so important to share the thoughts of my daughter Brooke with you.  She's 11 years old and was diagnosed with Type 1, Juvenile Diabetes at the age of 2.  She's battled this monster through many highs and lows and wants to share her thoughts with you today.

Please give her your support by commenting and even more so by coming out to bid or helping to promote the diabetes auction for a cure currently ongoing through the end of May (details at the bottom of this post).  Just think what a cure would mean to Brooke and the other thousands of children just like her.  Thanks in advance for your support.

TBB:  Welcome, Brooke.  What a joy to have you visit Mom here at the Book Boost.  Can you tell us your first memory of having diabetes?

Brooke:  I honestly don't have a "first memory" of diabetes.  I was only 2 years old when I was diagnosed and it really just seems like something that has always been there.  I have brief flashes of my Dad and my Aunt Leigh and my grandparents visiting me in the hospital but that's it.

TBB:  I'm glad you don't remember more of that hospital stay.  It was a harrowing ordeal for all of us.  You spent nearly a week in the hospital and about three days of that in the Pediatric ICU.  For a day or so, you didn't even recognize me.  I will never forget that scary time but I'm so glad you're doing well now.  That was a big challenge for me, to learn how to take care of you with all the injections and finger sticks.  What's your biggest daily challenge when it comes to living with diabetes?

Brooke:  It sometimes can be annoying or frustrating to have to take time out of sleepovers or get out of the pool or wake up at 3:00 in the morning to check my sugar or eat a snack.  Sometimes I have to stay home from school because of a high sugar and it makes me feel sick.  But I'm thankful that I don't have to worry about a bigger illness such as cancer.  When I see the kids on those St. Jude's Hospital commercials--I'm thankful.

TBB:  Wow.  That makes me both proud of you and sad at the same time.  Proud that you realize there are others in the world who suffer more.  And sad that you still have to suffer at all.  Sigh.  So, on the flip side, does having diabetes offer you any rewards?

Brooke:  Yes.  It has been an interesting experience even though it has been tough for me and my whole family.  Because for the average person out there, your really don't know that much about diabetes.  Most people think they know because they see commercials on television but those are for Type 2 diabetes which is completely different.  I consider myself lucky to be so well educated on a disease such as this and I've taken an interest in the medical side of it.  I have dreams of studying endocrinology in college.

TBB:  Well, of course, I'll be proud of whatever field you choose to study but...a doctor?  A scientist?  A diabetes educator?  Those would be very noble fields to choose.  Speaking of your future, what do you think is the future of diabetes?

Brooke:  One word.  CURE.  All I can do is pray that God will bless us and give us the power to find a cure.  If one scientist can find a cure it would change the lives of not just me but of the millions of people worldwide who suffer daily.

TBB:  I agree.  There has to be hope.  Do you play an active role in the future of diabetes right now?

Brooke:  Yes.  Myself and my family have donated money to both the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Diabetes Research Institute.  I hope to work in the medical field one day.  But mostly, these days, I pray for a cure.  That's all I can really do.

TBB:  Sometimes that's enough.  Do you think diabetes has shaped you into the person you are today?

Brooke:  I definitely wouldn't know as much about this disease if I didn't have it.  I wouldn't be as considerate of the cause.  And I think, in general, it makes me more sensitive to others in every way because I know what it feels like to be different.

TBB:  How do you think your life would be different if you'd never faced this challenge?

Brooke:  I think my life might be easier in some ways but I wouldn't be as strong a person.  It doesn't bother me to have diabetes because I still consider myself mostly the same as anyone else but I have a uniqueness that makes me truly special.

TBB:  Yes, you do.  And yes you are...very special.  

Thanks for being brave and for taking the time out of your homework to answer these questions for us.  Now, get back to studying! (Mom humor.)

Okay, folks.  Now you see what we live with every day in our home.  Won't you come out and support the cause?  Spread the word about the auction.  Make a bid on an item or two.  Consider making a cash contribution to research.  Plan to donate an item next year.

Anything you can do will help--no matter how big or small--any help is appreciated.

Check out the fabulous auction here through May 31st:

Don't forget...anyone who bids, comments, or shares information about my Tuesday Diabetes features is entered to win 2 Dozen Autographed books--just for hanging out with me and helping promote such a worthy cause (details below).

Until next Tuesday, I remain...

Graciously yours,

Kerri Nelson
Diabetes Mom, Author,
and Owner of The Book Boost

Contest Time:

For those of you who stop by the Book Boost this month on any Tuesday and let me know that you've bid on an item, won an item, donated an item or otherwise supported our search for a cure, your name will be entered into a drawing for a huge collection of autographed romance novels from my personal collection. 

This lot includes autographed books from authors such as Lori Wilde, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Susan Mallery and many more!  All new, all autographed and all just for you.

Contest runs from May 1st through May 31st.  Winner announced in early June here at the blog.  You must post a comment on any Tuesday's post during the month of May to enter.  Be sure to leave your contact information so we can reach you if your name is chosen as the winner.


Diane Scott Lewis said...

Brooke, you are an articulate and intelligent young lady. I wish you every success in your goals. You're right, illnesses like these make us stronger people. Never let anything defeat you!

BLCSDina said...

Hi Brooke-Admire your courage and willingness to talk about diabetes. Hope one day there is a cure. Thanks for putting the spotlight on this deadly disease. You are a hero to the many who suffer! Dina Rae

Suzanne Johnson said...

Brooke, you are special, and it shows in your interview. I admire you (and your mom) for taking time to spotlight such a worthy cause. We do need a CURE!

Fiona McGier said...

Brooke, you forgot to mention the fact that you are more mature than others your age because you have to be. My oldest son was diagnosed when he was 8 and went into keto-acidosis, almost dying before we got him to the hospital. My only sibling is a brother who was diagnosed when he was 27, but I wasn't living at home then and didn't realize it was happening to my son. Like your parents, we had to learn how to treat him, and the teenage years were difficult, since insulin is just one of the hormones in our bodies, and the high levels of others kept his blood sugar out of control. He tried a pump but it didn't help him, so he's now on Lantis and humalogue. He's 24 and his most recent A1C was 7.2, so he's doing very well these days. He's had a handful of severe lows over the years that required a glucagon injection to bring him back to us. We do what we can to support research, and his 3 siblings are all too aware that this is in our family genetic mix. But you and him, and every other kid who has to deal with this, are more mature than others your age, since you know how to take care of yourself.

Keep up the good work and the positive attitude...and yes, let's all pray for a cure, so that someday you will be able to look back on the days when finger-pokes and daily injections were a part of your life.

Anna said...

Brooke, what an amazing young woman you are. The world needs more girls like you. Thank you for sharing your experience and putting a face to such a terrible disease. You're definitely doing you and your family proud. Glad to hear you're doing well. I hope the money we raise at Brenda's auction brings you that answer to your prayers. :)

Gerri Bowen said...

Brooke, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about Diabetes, and how it has affected you and shaped you as a person. Good luck with the endocrinology studies! Hopefully, a cure will soon be here, but there is always something else, isn't there?

Margie Church said...

Brooke, thank you for sharing your story. I hope that you have a long happy life. My mom has diabetes, too, and sometimes I think it's harder to get it at an old age - you have to unlearn so many things. Although this disease is dangerous, at least you are learning from the start how to take the very best care of yourself. ((hugs))

Anne Francis said...

Hi Brooke, Thank you for sharing your story with us. I watched my grandmother deal with diabetes (finger sticks, injections). I pray a cure is found soon.

Linda Hays-Gibbs said...

Hello Brooke,
My grandaughter, Sailey is 11 and it would be hard to imagine what you have been through. Sailey is a cheerleader and plays baseball and volleyball. She has allergies and they are worrisome but nothing what you have endured. You are a very brave little girl and I do not blame your mom for being very very proud of you, I know I would be. My husband died in 2005 because of diabetes so I know how cruel it can be but you are so brave and so smart I just know you will be the one to find a cure. My prayers and love go with you sweet girl.
Linda Hays-Gibbs
My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls

Nancy said...

What a special little girl going through a rough time, only to come out stronger. I guess I should not whine about getting diabetes in adulthood. I really miss chocolate cake, but I am stronger now, too. Hug Mom for me!

S.A. Hunter said...

Thank you for sharing with us, Brooke. I try very hard to believe all things happen for a reason, perhaps children with diabetes really needed a wonderful spokesperson like you.

Maybeads said...

Brooke, you are such a strong girl. Thank you for sharing your feelings about diabetes and what you go through every day. My niece was diagnosed at age 3, and although I knew she had to take insulin and keep track of what she ate, I didn't really understand all that was involved. Then a few months ago my daughter was diagnosed - she was 12. Now I know all too well what my niece has been living through. It's been almost 5 months, and it's been an adjustment for all of us, but mostly for my daughter. I'm going to show her your interview. I know it will help her to know that other kids struggle with it, but that it can be ok, too. Thank you again for sharing.

Leslie Dow said...

Brooke and Kerri,
Thanks for posting this. When my wonderful son, Philip, came home from his first semester at college looking like a famine victim (he lost more than 25% of his weight in 3 months), we thought AIDS. He was 19 and had been pre-diabetic for years: tired, mentally-confused, and wondering what was wrong. We never knew until he was diagnosed.

I cannot imagine what this has been like for you, or for Philip. I believe that some day, soon we will have a cure for Type 1 diabetes. It is heroes like you and Philip that make it all worthwhile.