Jason is PUMPED!

Jason's picture Jason is the happiest he has ever been in his life - by Leisha Roberts

An already too thin little boy just dropped 6 pounds in 5 days. I remember staring at his ribs as he stood there in his underwear on his way to the shower. He'd always been an occasional bed-wetter, but these last 5 days it had been 2 or 3 times a night. And I couldn't keep him away from the water faucet. I thought to myself "this child is slowly dying."

He'd already been through so much in his first 8 years of life. Born with a birth defect, he required 3 surgeries on his nose and children were always so cruel to him. Both verbally and physically. He needed speech therapy for the first 5 years of school and he'll probably always need special education.

I had him in the doctor's office first thing that next morning. He wasn't to eat anything that morning and he was feeling so sick. I was already suspecting diabetes, just from what I had read about his symptoms. Then the doctor said "well, his glucose readings are a little high, 158" He didn't want to rush into injections at this point, and believe me I didn't either. So we went home over the weekend with a special diet, in hopes it would get better.

Monday morning he was to be brought back in with nothing to eat again. He had lost 2 more pounds and was so sick and weak. He lay there limp in my arms in the doctor's office. There was one elderly lady ahead of us, and she told us tearfully, "you go ahead of me." I was so thankful for that, as I was trying to hold back tears myself. This childs body was starving itself. He was going to be 8 years old that week and he was still wearing the clothes he wore in Kindergarten.

His glucose readings had only climbed to 184, but it was apparent that he needed to be on insulin. So we got some fluids down him and he seemed to feel a little better. As we walked down the hall to admittance, my heart sank with each step. I thought to myself, "how could I tell this poor little boy, that had already been through hell and back, the horrible things that were going to happen to him now." We were holding hands and it was all I could do not to break down. Then he squeezed my hand and looked up at me and said, "I'll be OK mama." Well, that did it. There came my tears. I had to stop and hold him, and it was more that I needed a hug more than him at that moment. He seemed so brave to be so frail.

We had his birthday in the hospital that week, and he seemed to feel better each day. After one month of being on insulin, he gained 18 lbs. and believe me he was still thin, but he looked so good to me. After about 6 or 7 months of injections, his skin started to change. It began to be very hard to inject him and you could hear his skin crunching as it went in. So we went to the Medi-Jector. Well, it might have been pain free for the first couple of years. But as he grew older and more muscular, it was anything but pain free at any penetration level. He would hit muscle every time, there was always bleeding and bruising, and we would go through a box of band-aids every week just to keep the blood off his clothes. Most of the time after every injection you would hear him yell. And he was up to 3 or 4 injections a day.

School had always been horrible for him. He was always isolated, made fun of to the point of tears almost everyday. Because he was different, they labelled him as retarded, strange and stupid. The teasing was always bad enough. But after his diagnoses, I could no longer put up with the brutal attacks of other children. School became my second home and I had every child's phone number. And that was that.

Jason was held back that first year of diagnoses. But when he entered 6th grade he had made up his mind that he was going to do better in school. And by the end of the year he won an award, a trophy for most improved student. It sits right here at my computer to remind me what a special child he really is. When he entered the 7th grade last year, he insisted I not come to school anymore. Oh, I was so worried, but at least by that time he had a belt or 2 of Karate down him.

All of Jason's teachers have always said he is such a well mannered quiet child that just wants to do his work and be left alone. But everyone needs friends, so I still worry. This whole past year, Jason would run and practice at basketball, because he is determined that if he could only make a sports team in school, he will be accepted and liked. I know that is sad, but that is just how he feels.

Jason waited all summer for the pump. We fought with the insurance company and finally got the pump in August, right after school started. Bad timing I know, but Jason was thrilled. No more pain. No more insulin not going in and guessing how much made it. Jason got a great group of teachers this year that are really wanting to help him keep his grades up, so that he can stay in cross country. He was placed in a totally different group of kids that doen't know him. (or his label). His grades are up, he is the school's best runner, he is liked by everyone he meets. He is the happiest he has ever been in his life..........AND HE IS PUMPED.

I know that most people have a diabetes specialist and educator to prepare and train them for the pump. But all Jason and I had was our family pracitioner and the Insulin Pumpers mailing list. It wasn't planned this way. I had started procedures for the pump in April, and delays with the insurance co. had forced me to wait until August. A friend that had previously been on the mailing list had told me about it, so I figured, while I was waiting I might as well check into it.

The whole 4 months, I checked my e-mail almost everyday. Reading almost everything that was said between everyone on the list and saving what I thought would be useful to me later on. I was nervous and scared. Some of the members would say to new comers, "it will be rough, you will want to give up the first month or so, but just hang in and you will realize you will never want to go back." So when the day came, I was prepared for the worst and ready for the challenge.

Day 1 came, then the next day and the next. I read the books through and through. Things just went so much easier than I had anticipated, and it gets better all the time. Then I realize, that everything in those books had been discussed in detail on the Insulin Pumpers' list in my 4 month waiting period. And it was coming from the very people with the most experience. I got my training without even realizing it. So my short and sweet success, I owe to all the people on this list. You "all" have my gratitude, and bless the person who came up with this site.

Jason's update! *********************

It has now been a little over 3 months since Jason has started the pump. A lot has happened in such a short period of time. He had his best A1C 6.6. He's feeling better and growing more popular all the time, I just can't believe the difference. This is a child that at one time was very depressed and wrote letters of not wanting to live, a smile never came very easy. Today, you can't wipe that smile off his face, he has a new joy for life. He made his first A ever in his life at school in math, they are talking of him possibly not needing special education anymore. Cross Country is over for the year, but he still runs and he has 4 medals, 3 ribbons and a trophy. He went to the state AAU, got to go to the Nationals and did extremely well for his first year. Jason has high hopes for his future now, he says he wants to be the first pumper to get a gold medal. They are putting a little write up about Jason in the year book this year and Jason says that he is no longer a "nerd" or a "freak". I am just full of tears around here anymore. I know it sounds odd, but I feel like I am afraid that I will wake up and this will be all over. I say over and over again in my mind "how can this be" "who is this child" "it's a miracle" That's exactly what it is to me. And that's what they called it on tv when they did an interview with Jason. I thought to myself, oh my goodness, they are making this sound like a cure, or something that has just been thought of, when it has been around for years. I am just in awe of how many people, even diabetics, know so little about the pump. Jason has a lovely girlfriend now that looks like she should be a cheerleader, he has dyed he hair blonde and now he has girls calling here all the time. At first I would almost hang up on them, because in the past they would call just to play pranks on him. I remember this one time, a beautiful girl called, told him she really liked him and told him to meet her by the water fountain the next day. His head was in a spin, he was so excited to think such a popular girl would go for him. He went to the fountain, only to be laughed at and picked on by a bunce of kids. The years that so many, had laughs at Jason's expense...........I still cry about that. And this tiny little voice in my mind from time to time keeps telling me to still "watch out", "don't let him fall for it". As you can tell, Jason's new life has me a nervous wreck, but in a good way. I just wish I could get it in writing that I will never wake up from this dream. As for now, between the girls, the media, school and Jason's life with the pump in general.........we are having to grease his head every night just to get him in the door.....................and that's just fine with me!

With deep appreciation, Leisha Roberts

If you have a child with diabetes and would like to talk to other parents about the Insulin Pump, please contact or visit the Insulin-Pumpers website.