Ellie's story

I thought I had mild narcolepsy!

My name is Ellie, and a few months ago I was diagnosed with diabetes. It's been hard coping with such a big change so quickly, but I'm slowly getting to grips with it.

It started in year seven, although I wasn't diagnosed until year eight. Every morning I would wake up and, to me, it would feel like the middle of the night. I would try to stand up but my head would start spinning and I would fall back onto my bed. I just thought I was lazy, and I wasn't getting enough sleep. That's what everyone around me was saying. But gradually it got worse, to the point when I started being late for school because I physically could not get up. My energy levels stayed low throughout the day too, and by the time the bell rang for home time, I could barely walk I was so tired.

Eating sweets all day

At the same time, I started eating more often, but not healthy things like fruit or bread, things which my body knew were direct sources of sugar. Sweets, chocolate bars and crisps became a major part of my diet. As I got more tired, I got more hungry, but actually I wasn't putting on any weight. In fact, I lost weight over those months, and none of my friends could understand why.

Slowly, it was getting out of hand; I started buying 2,3,4 bags of sweets in the mornings and eating them during lessons and throughout the school day. I didn't tell anyone, and tried to stop but my body wouldn't let me. It was trying to tell me that it needed sugar, it needed glucose for energy because none of the sugar I was consuming was getting to my cells.

Why was I so greedy?

I started hating myself. Why was I so greedy, why was I so lazy? I hardly did any exercise because I had so little energy, and I stopped caring about everyday things like doing homework and practicing the piano. I convinced myself I was an awful person, and I didn't know what to do.

At the back of my mind, I think I knew something was wrong. After watching a programme on T.V, I thought I had mild narcolepsy because of my lack of energy, persistent hunger and constant tiredness. But when I told this to my parents, they just laughed and told me I was growing and therefore needed more sleep and more food. It was only what happened next that rang alarm bells for my mum.

It was February 2012 and I was struggling to cope with school work as usual. But one day, I came home from school and a sudden thirst came over me. I ran to the sink and started drinking. After eight cups of water I rushed to the fridge and grabbed a carton of orange juice. I downed the whole let, yet I was still desperately thirsty.

"It's the middle of the night!"

That night I was up every five minutes getting a drink of water or going to the loo, and finally I dozed off at about 11.50. When I woke up I switched on my light because I could hear my mum was up, and thought it was the morning. I was still thirsty so I went upstairs to the bathroom to get a drink before I got dressed. I bumped into my mum who looked surprised and said, "What are you doing up?" I told her I was getting a drink before going to get ready for school. She gave me a puzzled look and told me, "It's the middle of the night!" and showed me a clock. I was thankful I could get some more sleep before school in the morning, but my mum knew something was wrong.

The next morning I was still extremely thirsty, and after school finished I was surprised to see my mum waiting for me to take me to the GP. As soon as we arrived, I did a urine sample and the doctor told me everything was fine and that I should go home and take it easy. Both me and my mum were confused, as we were positive there was something wrong.

We decided to go to the local supermarket to buy something nice for dinner, but no sooner had we left the surgery than my mum received a call from them. "We're afraid we didn't wait long enough for the test results. It appears you need to come back, our tests show that there is lots of sugar in the urine."

Everthing happened so quickly

From that moment on, everything happened so quickly I can barely remember what happened when. I was rushed to hospital and various blood tests were carried out. A canula was put in my arm in case they needed to give me fluids quickly, and there was a lot of hanging around before we saw a doctor. She told me I was definitely going to be staying overnight, and that the other tests also showed very high sugar levels. After I'd been moved in to the ward, a doctor came and saw me. She told me that I had Type 1 diabetes, and that it was likely I would be in hospital for some time.

Too much to take in

At first I wasn't really upset about the fact that I had it: I just kept telling myself that there were lots of other 13-year-olds with much worse problems than me, and I should be thankful I wasn't one of them. But when I realised what it meant, that I would have to plan everything I ate, inject whenever I ate and that I had a life-threatening condition that was incurable, I found it all too much to take in. With the help of my friends and family, and the amazing team at the hospital, I'm managing okay, despite finding it hard to control what I eat and remember injections/blood tests.

I hope that everyone else who has diabetes has the amount of support that I do, and any advice would be much appreciated xxx

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Your comments

"Thanks for the nice comments, i don't really know anyone else my age with it either. i hope your'e managing well, also i was thinking about going on a diabetes camp, have you ever been to one?is it fun?:)" – Ellie

"hello, i'm beth:) i've had diabetes since i was 7, i'm now 13 and i would also like to talk to someone my own age about having diabetes. i dont really know anyone my own age who has it, a couple of boys in my school do, but we dont hardly talk. be great to talk to someone:)" – Beth

"Hi! Just wanted to say that you're doing really well and that I'm thirteen too! Got diabetes about three months ago......I hate it! But I know that the cure will be found! We can't give up!" – Gina