[IP] Re: 8 year old with diabetes not letting it cramp her style
Interesting story. I'm always glad to see diabetes get news coverage and
to see awareness raised. However....
Is anyone else tired of headlines like "8 year old with diabetes not
letting it cramp her style"? Like that's such an amazing concept, or like
the author thinks most kids with diabetes would just be laying in their
beds all day, too sick to do anything. Maybe I'm just being oversensitive,
but it's always grated on my nerves a bit when "human interest" stories
about people with diabetes are presented like that -- as if it's such an
inspiration that someone with diabetes would actually also be able to have
a happy, active life.
Anyway, other than that it's a good article....just had to grumble a bit!
>Living with diabetes: 8-year-old not letting it cramp her style
>HREF="<mailto:email @ redacted>mailto:email @ redacted">Gail
>The Cullman Times
>Published on: 10-12-2003
>Watching Emily Bigham turn backflips, she looks like any other 8-year-old
> girl who enjoys flipping, tumbling and running around. And for the most
>is. The difference is that Emily can only play hard for about an hour at a
>time before she has to reattach her insulin pump and check her blood sugar.
>For the last two years, Emily and her parents, Mark and April Bigham, have
>been learning to live with Emily's Type I diabetes. Also known as juvenile
> diabetes, Type I means that Emily is dependent on insulin to help manage her
>"When it's high, my heart beats faster and I get all sweaty and hot and I get
>restless," Emily said. "When it's low, I feel weak and my heart does beat
>"Do you feel dizzy?" her dad asked.
>"Yeah," Emily said. "One time my sugar dropped to 15 before."
>The Bighams noticed something wasn't quite right with their daughter's health
>when she was 6 years old. "I drank a lot," Emily said. She also made frequent
>trips to the bathroom, was often tired and weak, suffered from a fast heart
>rate and had a lot of headaches. "I was pretty tired all the time," Emily
>This went on for about two months. At first, doctors told them it was a sinus
>infection or virus. "But they never checked her blood sugar," April Bigham
>said. Finally, April used a blood sugar kit of her nephew's to check Emily's
>blood sugar herself. It showed Emily's blood sugar was 330. A normal person's
>blood sugar is between 90 and 110, Mark Bigham said. The Bighams called their
>doctor who told them to get Emily to the hospital as soon as they could.
> was hospitalized for four days while her blood sugar was stabilized and
> she and
>her parents learned what they needed to know about the disease.
>Since then, the Bighams have been keeping track of what Emily eats and how it
>affects her blood sugar. The tips of Emily's fingers are speckled with tiny
>spots where she checks her blood sugar several times a day.
>Until recently, Emily was also getting insulin shots several times a day. At
>first, her mom or dad would give her the shots until she learned to do it
>herself, then she began doing it on her own.
>"Because when she does it, if it starts to hurt, she can pull the needle out
>and put it somewhere else," said her dad, Mark, an electronic technician for
>Bell South. "But if someone else does it, that's it."
>When she was getting the insulin shots, her sugar began to run a little high
>and the number of shots were increasing.
>"She was getting up to five shots a day and I just couldn't watch her get
> that many shots a day," said Emily's mom, who is full-time mother and
>April said she learned about an insulin pump when she was at Emily's
> cheerleading practice and the mother of another diabetic girl at East
>her how well her daughter was doing on the pump.
>The family then went to their doctor to learn more about the pump, how it
> worked and how it might help Emily. With the pump, Emily's eating habits
>as restricted. She can eat pretty much what she wants, when she wants. By
> figuring the amount of carbohydrates --which the body turns into sugar -- in
>food she eats, she can input that into the pump and it determines how much
> insulin she needs and automatically feeds it into her system through a small
>attached to her hip.
>Before she would allow her daughter to wear the pump, April Bigham wanted to
>make sure it wouldn't hurt her daughter. The hospital let April wear the two
>types of discs home to see how they felt and if they hurt. One was inserted
>sideways and the other straight into the hip. The one worn straight in the
>was more comfortable, she said. "I wore it two days and couldn't tell it was
>in," April said. To keep one hip from getting too sore, the Bighams switch
> alternately attaching the pump to one hip then the other. There's still
> a trick
>in attaching it though, Emily said. "Sometimes when you go too high or too
>it hurts," she said. The pump can also be attached to the stomach or to the
>leg. "Some football players wear theirs on their leg," April told Emily.
>The Bighams say the appreciate the help and support they received from other
>parents of diabetic patients and their families. She encourages any family
>dealing with diabetes to call her at 739-1694 if they have any questions
>the disease and its treatments.
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