I was just a happy, normal 11 year old. I didn't realise that there was anything wrong, I was just really thirsty all the time. I didn't realise that I was exhausted because I was losing so much weight.
Then one Saturday I woke up and didn't feel well. I got up and got myself some cereal for breakfast, but I didn't feel like eating, I just slurped up the milk. I was so thirsty all the time now. I was feeling better during the afternoon, well enough to have a Ribena Ice Lolly, but by evening, I was on the sofa in front of the TV. I tried to eat some Chinese food but I wasn't hungry. So mum and dad suggested I eat some pasta. I ate a few strands and then without warning I was sick, and not just once but all night. I lost a lot of fluids, so much so that it ended up I was throwing up blood by the morning because there was nothing left in my stomach.
The next morning I had an emergency appointment at the hospital, but I was so weak I couldn't walk. My mum had to dress me and she couldn't believe how far my hip bones stuck out. You could see my ribcage and spine too. My dad ended up carrying me out to the car as I was just too weak to move.
At the hospital I had to be taken round to my ward in a wheelchair, and they tested me for diabetes. It was positive, and there were ketones in my urine.
I lay back down on the bed and asked for some water. My mouth was so dry, I could barely move my tongue! When I drank the water it quenched my thirst, but no sooner had I swallowed the water than my mouth immediately dried up again.
After being properly admitted into hospital, I was put on to a drip to replace the fluids I had lost. I had to drink lots of water so that I could flush the ketones out of my system.
I had an injection every four hours, and a finger prick every hour to test my sugars. This happened for 24 hours.
In the hospital i was given lots of information leaflets and books about what diabetes was and how to handle it. I was very tired and sleepy all of the first day. But when I finally woke up I had plenty of visitors to keep me company!
My head was full of information
Finally, after four days in hospital I was able to leave, my head full of information about what I could eat and what I should avoid for the time being. I couldn't walk very much because it made me dizzy as I had been lying down for days.
At first when I was discharged from the hospital I didn't want to leave. The hospital seemed so safe and there were always people on hand if I needed help or guidance but being at home meant that I was completely responsible for the control of my diabetes.
The first night, my mum and I tested my sugars and there were in the high thirties! I immediately burst into tears, I just thought "why me, why did this happen to me?" But mum was very calm and we got my injection done and she reassured me that the hospital said things might be up and down for the first few weeks. I still was too scared to do my injections myself so my mum and dad helped me with them. But I had bigger things to worry about than doing my injections at home. While I was in hospital, I had missed my P7 school trip to York. Another trip to Omagh was coming up and I really wanted to go. Of course that meant I had to do my injections myself, and I wasn't sure I could.
Finally, a decision was made that my dad would drive me to Omagh and he would stay at the fire station there, (as he is a fireman) and be on hand if I needed him. As it turned out I was able to do my injections myself. I went 'low' a few times but my teacher was very helpful and waited with me for as long as it took while I drank my energy drink and had a snack.
After I came back, I lost my nerve again doing my injections and resorted back to my mum doing them. But, after a few months, I realised that she wasn't always going to be there to do them for me. I started to do them myself again and since then I've been injected in my legs and arms myself!
I can now handle my diabetes a lot better than I could back then. I'll be honest in saying that sometimes I still ask "why did I have to get this?" and I envy people that can eat whenever they want and don't have to think about what this could do to their sugars. Something I've learnt is that just because you're diabetic, doesn't mean that you are forbidden any form of chocolate or sweets. It just means you have to be careful when you eat them and make sure you eat them at appropriate times.
I know I don't have to cope alone
My family have been a great support to me, which includes my grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends and of course my parents and my two other sisters. I will be moving on to four injections a day within the next month and althought I find this a little daunting I know I'm not coping alone and just like everything else to with diabetes, I will take it in my stride.
Diabetes can be a nusiance at times, but with the right attitude towards it and support, there is no reason why diabetes should stop you from achieving your goals and preventing you from doing anything you want to do.