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[IP] A young persons view of diabetes and the pump

Lily wrote this essay for an assignment on what make you feel 
different. Thought you might enjoy her point of view. She wrote this 
and asked if we'd like to read it before she handed it in. 
Interestingly enough, she has never expressed any of these sentiments 
to either Mimi or I.

Literary Styles									Lily Robinton
Per. E										1/15/99
 "Pleeeease mom? Can't I just stay one more? C'mon, just one more!" 
 That used to be my voice begging my mom to let me stay over another
 night or another hour with my friends.  I used to hide when it was
 time for me to leave my friends and go home to what I considered to
 be utmost boredom.  I was a normal ten year old social butterfly.  I
 had never felt strange or excluded, and as far as I was concerned, I
 fit right in.  That was before I got sick, and was diagnosed as a
 Type1 diabetic exactly one week after my eleventh birthday.  I didn't
 know what being diabetic was all about, but I knew enough from my
 fourth grade health class to know that I wouldn't be able to eat
 candy or sweets like everyone else,  and I would have to get a lot of
 shots.  During my next few days in the hospital I learned that unlike
 everyone else, I no longer had a functioning pancreas to make insulin
 needed to turn the food I ate into energy.  Instead I would have to
 take three shots a day of insulin to keep my body running.  While I
 was in the hospital my soccer team made me a get well soon card, I
 appreciated it a lot, but I thought it to be slightly ironic since I
 couldn't ever "get well" from diabetes, I would literally be stuck
 with it forever.  It didn't seem fair, why did I get it?  Nobody else
 at my whole school had been diabetic.  How did it end up that I was
 singled out to be the one?  I felt like a puzzle piece that's been
 thrown in the wrong puzzle box and won't fit with the other pieces no
 matter which way it's turned.  
  Most of my close friends didn't treat me differently afterwards.  I
  only lost one friend as a result of my diagnoses.   Even though many
  people acted like I was the same, the difference was as evident as
  if someone had branded my forehead with a huge DIABETIC stamp.  I
  put up the best shield I could that I was still the same old Lily,
  but the effort exhausted me and as soon as I had to perform a
  "diabetic task" such as taking a blood sample from my finger, my
  shield would crumble and I would burst into tears at the unfairness
  of what I alone had to do, that none of my other friends had to deal
  with.  Holding up the pretense around my friends that I was okay,
  was so tiring that I began to prefer the safe company of my family. 
 To make matters worse, I was about to start sixth grade at a
 completely new school where I would be expected to meet many new
 friends.  I fervently hoped that I would have some of my old
 classmates in my new class so I wouldn't have to face any new people.
  On the first day of school, I discovered to my dismay that I had
 none of my old friends in my class.  Maybe the old Lily would have
 been fine in this situation and stepped out to see what fun new
 acquaintance I could make, but I had buried that person inside me and
 my weariness of being "okay" with sticking and poking myself all the
 time, and leaving the classroom every day to eat my scheduled snacks
 made me want to curl into a ball and hide in a cave by myself.  While
 I was busy trying to avoid people, my old friends were busy making
 new friends in their new classes, and slowly but surely, the distance
 between me and them widened.  I made it a ritual every night to look
 up into the sky and find the brightest star I could, and wish with
 all my heart that there would be some miracle, some cure that would
 make me just like everyone else again. I don't know how far I would
 have pulled back into myself if I hadn't gotten an insulin pump a few
 months later.  I guess I better explain a little.  An insulin pump is
 a box containing a syringe filled with insulin.  A tube attaches to
 the syringe and runs down to a needle that is inserted in my skin and
 stays there for three to four days until it needs to be changed. 
 When I need insulin, I can push some buttons on my pump and it will
 give me that amount through the needle.  This meant I wouldn't ever
 need to stop what I was doing to take an injection, or eat an
 unwanted snack, or have people make something "special" when I came
 over to eat dinner.  I could eat sugar, and as much (within reason)
 as I wanted, all because an insulin pump is much more effective than
 injections and is more like an actual pancreas.    I was more like a
 normal kid.  I was still different, but not with a capital D. 
 Diabetes no longer felt like a death sentence, but was instead
 something that I had control over, and it made it a lot easier to
  As soon as I began to accept my differentness my personality began
  to blossom again.  I became more social and outgoing, like I was
  before I was diagnosed.  I stopped wishing every night to be just
  like everyone else, and I even found some positive light to my
  situation.  I realized that being diabetic didn't make me worse than
  everyone else, and it didn't mean my life would be less fun and
  exciting.  The change in my attitude was noticeable, and in many
  instances, instead of being pitied, I was given respect for dealing
  with my diabetes.  I was no longer self conscious of being diabetic,
  and as a result people around me became more comfortable with it's
  existence as well.  They knew that since I wasn't embarrassed of it,
  that they didn't need to be embarrassed to ask questions about it. 
  Most importantly, by accepting my diabetes, I realized I didn't need
  to be like everyone else to be happy.  

Insulin-Pumpers website http://www.insulin-pumpers.org/