The Morning Sun: Teen shares about life with type 1 diabetes
By Stephanie Potter
It was two weeks before her eighth birthday when our parents got the call that my sister needed to go to the hospital. My sister, Shalana, went to the nurse because she wasn’t feeling well. She thought she had really bad heartburn. She ended up zonking out at the nurses office.
She was taken to the Children’s Mercy, “I was scared, mostly because I didn’t like needles,” she said.
Following some testing, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
So the journey with type 1 diabetes began.
From the beginning Shalana would learn to keep herself alive. I remember watching her sit on the couch and administer her insulin for the first time. I was shocked that children like her had to do such a thing, but she was a “pro” and swiftly took the needle, poked herself and was done.
Her teachers would explain to the students about her condition to help them understand, she said.
Over the years, Shalana met nine other children who also have type 1 diabetes — a number surprising to me as I didn’t know how prevalent diabetes was in children, especially in a small rural school district where she attends. As a sophomore in high school there’s three in her English class alone.
Through school wide assemblies, Shalana and her classmates had the opportunity to share about about diabetes. She was able to answer many questions the students had. Not only has it brought awareness to other students but has made her feel better that she was able to clear up any misconceptions, such as she can’t ever have a cookie during a class party.
For now, Shalana tries to stay active, she’s participated in cheerleading and has a bubbly personality to match. She tries her best to keep track of her numbers and ask her mother for help when she’s concerned about her medicine.
Shalana said that people shouldn’t be ashamed of their diabetes and that other children with type 1 diabetes are not alone.
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Learn more about Endocrinology and Diabetes at Children's Mercy