• Author: Katherine
  • Date Submitted: Apr 22, 2021
  • Category: CMNH Local Champions

2019 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Local Champion

Katherine, Age 15

Pediatric Type 1 Diabetes

katherineI was diagnosed on May 24, 2013. Previous to my diagnosis, I was a nine-year-old losing weight and not growing. My doctor saw this as a concern and sent me in to get tests. The next day, my family and I packed our bags and spent some time at a children's hospital in the Bay Area. As a fearless nine-year-old, I was eager to learn about my disease and get out of the hospital so I could continue with my life, and in doing this it has helped me manage my diabetes. When I was first diagnosed, I can remember telling my dad that “It’s just a few shots, we can do this. Now hurry up and pick up the boxes of needles so we can go.”

Of course, my diagnosis was traumatic and intimidating, but being scared of something is not who I am. When things get scary, I push back, and as a new diabetic, I was determined to beat my diabetes. I see diabetes as a competitor, I compete to manage this disease. At first, I was discouraged by my diabetes and was scared to jump back into my life, but I did it anyway. Playing sports had always been a big part of my life, and after my diagnosis, I had to learn how to compete while managing my disease. Changing the amount of insulin I get, and eating before games and matches became the new norm. Staying active since my diagnosis has helped me manage. As doctors have explained, “Exercise helps your insulin work to its max,” and this means that exercising goes hand in hand with diabetes.

As I continue to stay active, I use less insulin, and my body works more. Diabetes isn’t something that gets easier, it just becomes normal. Every day there is a time when I struggle with this disease. I don’t always want to check my sugar because it wastes time, or take a shot because everyone will stare, but I have to overcome that battle in order to stay healthy. As time goes on shots and pricks don’t hurt as much as they used to, counting carbs is normal, and waking up with a low blood sugar isn’t as big of a deal. Sometimes I reminisce on the days that I could eat whatever I wanted, or when I didn’t have to plan what I was going to eat according to the amount of insulin I had given myself; but diabetes is a part of who I am, I do not see this disease as an enemy or just a "thing I have." This disease has had a major impact on myself and the people closest to me. My family and friends have had to learn how to be there for me in a way that they hadn’t before. As a diabetic, I have to stay strong in order to keep my support system strong. I do this by making my own insulin adjustments if needed and learning how to take care of myself. Diabetes is something, that I feel I have a handle on so far, and with the tremendous amount of work I put into each day, I feel successful with this disease.

Katherine is treated locally at the Pediatric Diabetes Clinic at Salinas Valley Health Clinics, eliminating the need for hours of travel to and from routine appointments.

This specialized pediatric diabetes clinic is the only one in the tri-county area and is supported by donations made to our local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Program.