Dealing with illness tough at young age

Published 2:15 pm Tuesday, November 30, 2010

By ASHLYNN MAYS and KATIE PACE/Guest Columnists

My name is Ashlynn Mays. I am in middle school and I wanted to share with adults and young readers the life of a girl in my class named Katie Pace. She is my age and has a disease called diabetes. She is a good friend of mine and I am sad that she has to deal with this disease.

But, I wanted to share with you the perspective of a typical middle school girl living with this everyday struggle. This is how Katie feels about her life. This is her side of the story.

Diabetes is a disease characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood. Diabetics have to monitor their blood sugar level in order to be safe and healthy.

Katie was diagnosed with this disease at the age of 7. When Katie’s pediatrician gave her the news of her diabetes, she cried. She didn’t understand. He directed her to Children’s Hospital. For three days she went to the hospital and attended classes about her illness and what to do.

Katie said, “They taught me everything I needed to know about diabetes.”

She has many feelings about her disease, but a simple way that Katie wanted to put it was that it is a part of her now, and the best thing that she can do for it now is to control it. It took her about three weeks to adjust to her new illness.

Katie has to deal with diabetes carefully to stay safe and healthy. When her blood sugar drops she eats a snack; if it gets too high, she gets extra insulin, a clear medicine that evens the blood sugar out.

Monitoring her blood sugar level is a very important part of dealing with this condition.

Katie supports the fight against diabetes in many ways. There is a walk that goes on for diabetes that she participated in this year. She also raises money for diabetes research. When Katie participated in the walk this year she and her friends wore T-shirts that were blue and yellow, with various messages to support Katie on them.

Katie wanted to put out a message for other kids and adults dealing with diabetes. She said, “I know it is hard to deal with, but that’s all you can do.”

Ashlynn Mays and Katie Pace are both students at Helena Middle School.