This isn't in the profile, but diabetes is an autoimmune disease. That basically means that the cells in my own body attacked the cells that produce insulin in my pancreas. Everyone needs insulin to live. You might not even know what insulin is, but, unless you have diabetes like me, your body produces it as you need it, and insulin is constantly being moved into your bloodstream. Well, my pancreas is defective, so I don't produce my own insulin. That's why I wear an insulin pump, which you've probably seen on my pants. It kind of looks like an ipod or something, but it's not. When I eat I program my insulin pump to deliver the right amount of insulin for my meal. I do this to keep my blood sugar in a healthy range. You'd probably have to google blood sugar to find out more. Before I was diagnosed, I didn't know what it was either.
Anyway, here's a little more about me...
My name is Sarah Gonzalez, and I am 12 years old. I live with my mom and dad, and have a 20 year old sister, and a 22 year old brother in the Marine Corps. I also have a dog; a Pug named Belle. I am very busy. I have a passion for theater, and have been in many local plays including Cinderella, White Christmas, Sweeney Todd, Mulan, and many more. I also love to do crafts. This year my mom and I made Christmas cards and I sent about 20 to kids with diabetes all around the country and in
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on March 18th, 2010, when I was 10 years old – so I have had diabetes for almost two years. My mom had noticed that I was getting very thin, and I hadn’t been feeling well for awhile. She took me to the doctor, and they thought I had a virus, but when the tests came back found that I had large ketones – which means that my body was being poisoned. I spent three days in the hospital. I was really scared, especially when they told me I would have to take shots several times every single day.
What it's Like Living with Diabetes
Diabetes hasn’t changed my life too much. I got an insulin pump about five months after I was diagnosed and that has helped me to be more independent. I am so used to pricking my finger to check my blood sugar that it is just part of my routine. When I’m in a show or in an activity where I might have a low, my mom helps me to plan the right combination of insulin and food. I have had a couple of scary moments. I passed out in a salon about a year ago and scared my whole family a lot. My mom also found me with a very scary low blood sugar a few months ago in the middle of the night; I think she was more scared than I was. I have learned that as long as I watch what I eat, count my carbohydrates correctly, and listen to my body when I don’t feel well, I can almost always keep my blood sugar in a reasonably healthy range.
What I Want Others to Understand
Diabetes is a lot of work. I prick my finger to check my blood sugar at least 6-10 times every day. My mom changes my insulin pump site (which involves a pretty big needle) about twice a week. I have to pay attention to every single thing I eat, because if I estimate my carbohydrates incorrectly I can have a serious low or high blood sugar very quickly. Diabetes is a disease that never lets you take a break, it stays with me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I can’t just decide to eat a banana without planning for it in advance. I know that if I don’t keep on top of my diabetes I can end up very sick and in the hospital, and I won’t be able to have fun with my friends or enjoy my activities.
Why I am Involved
I am involved with the
because I want to help find a cure for diabetes. I also enjoy public speaking and being a mentor to other kids with diabetes who might be newly diagnosed and need someone to talk to. I want to be one of the faces of diabetes, to show people that diabetes isn’t a disease caused by eating too much sugar. There are many myths around diabetes, and I want to help people to learn what diabetes is really all about so they don’t spread misinformation. ADA