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H


ello! My name is Nelson and I am 13 yrs old. I love to swim, ride my bike, play sports, go fishing and


crabbing and play video games. If you were to see me in the park, you would think that I am a healthy kid. However, I have type 1 diabetes. I have had diabetes for almost two and a half years. I will never forget the day when I was diagnosed. It was 4:00pm on May 20, 2010 and I was really sick, thirsty, dizzy and vomiting. My parents took me to the emergency room that day because they had never seen me this sick before. Te doctor asked me some questions about my symptoms and he told me I might be showing signs of diabetes. Te nurse took a sample of my blood and later told me and my parents that my blood sugar was 413 and that I indeed had diabetes. I was then admited to the hospital and stayed there for five days regaining my health. Te doctors educated me and my parents about Type 1 diabetes and how I would have to change my lifestyle.


My daily routine is on a constant schedule in order to stay healthy. I have to count my entire carbohydrate intake when I eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I also have to measure and weigh my food. Sometimes I have to eat when I do not want to and sometimes I cannot eat when I am hungry. I monitor my blood sugar 5-7 times a day. I also get 4-5 insulin shots per day. When I go out, I have to carry my diabetes bag which contains all of my diabetic supplies such as my blood glucose meter, test strips, emergency shot of glucagon, alcohol swabs, insulin and glucose tablets. I also see my endocrinologist every 3 months.


I am the only one in my family with type 1 diabetes. Most people do not know that it can strike any family and that I will never “grow


out of it”. I will be insulin dependent for life. I have been told that I am special, but I do not want to be special. I just want to be like all other kids. I am hoping I do not develop the complications associated with diabetes. You see, the longer I have diabetes the more likely I am to develop complications such as kidney disease, blindness, heart disease, stroke and nerve damage leading to amputation. Even if I do everything that I am supposed to, I can still develop


these


complications. I am also likely to live 15 years shorter than other people.


Kristina and her brother Nelson age 13, diagnosed age 11


Even though I have Type 1 diabetes, I try not to let it become an obstacle, but rather just a part of my daily life. Many refer to me as a diabetic, but I try not too. I know diabetes is a part of my life, but I do not


let it define who I am. At times, it’s been hard to get other people to realize that, but I never fail to show them that I’m capable of succeeding at anything a normal kid can do. Most of the people I go to school with know of my diabetes. I used to be afraid of people’s reactions when they found out, but now I use my illness to educate others about the different aspects of diabetes.


For the past two years, my family and friends have walked with me in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes and my walk team, Nolito’s Crew, has raised more than $4,000 to support JDRF’s research initiatives. JDRF has been a great resource for me and my family – my mom volunteers oſten at JDRF events! When I was first diagnosed, JDRF sent me a Bag of Hope, which included supplies and resources to help my family and I navigate this new challenge in my life. My family, friends and I are hoping for a cure to come soon. Until then, I’ll be living my life to the fullest with type 1 diabetes.


WALK to Cure Diabetes


10/20/12 Dover International Speedway 10/28/12 Rockford Park-Wilmington www2.jdrf.org Or Email delaware@jdrf.org


12 www.livingwellmagazine.net October 2012


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