Back to Kids' Voices Caitlin Rodenbeck
By Caitlin Rodenbeck

Did you know that about 32 children in the United States can get Insulin Dependent Juvenile Diabetes in a day? I think thats really sad! When I say that I mean some kids can get 3 or 4 finger pricks and 2 or 3 shots in a day. I would like to tell you now what diabetes is, what a day is like to have diabetes, and what it is like to have a sister with diabetes.

Diabetes happens when the pancreas doesn't work. This causes very high amounts of sugar in the blood. That can be deadly. Diabetes has two forms, insulin dependent and non insulin dependent. It is called that because people must have insulin to survive. When the pancreas doesn't make the insulin used to break down the sugar in the blood, diabetics get theirs in an injection 2 or 3 times a day.

What a day is like with diabetes

Early in the morning your mom has to wake you up at 7:00 am to test your blood sugar. She needs to know if it is too low or too high. Normal blood sugar is between about 70 and 150. My sister has been as low as 28 and as high as 498!!! If your too low you need juice right away. Next comes a shot of insulin, then breakfast. For breakfast you need 45 grams of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are what diabetics measure in their food and meals in a day. You never know what your blood sugar will be because they need to balance meals, exercise, sports and the amount of insulin you get every day. Snack time is at 10 and 3 and is about 25 grams. Lunch and dinner is 45 grams but before dinner you need a finger prick to test your blood sugar and a shot of insulin. at 10 pm your mom tests your blood sugar again to make sure its high enough to make it through the night.

What it's like to have a sister with diabetes

Sometimes my dad tell her secrets that I have not a clue of what they are! It seems like she gets extra special attention from my parents. One time my dad gave her a gameboy for her birthday then a few months later promised her a COLOR gameboy. I think that they buy her material things because they feel bad for her that she gets finger pricks and shots for the rest of her life. For example, when they found our she had diabetes, they bought her the biggest Pooh Bear I've Ever Seen! It was bigger than her! I guess that makes them feel better. I hope someday they find a cure for diabetes just so I won't be ignored and so my sister doesn't have to get anymore shots.

Now you heard what diabetes is, what a day is like with diabetes and what it is like with a sister with diabetes. Usually kids wish for a new bike, money or to get all A's. But whenever my sister throws a penny in a fountain, wishes on a shooting star, or gets the lucky side of the wishbone, she always wishes there was a cure for diabetes.

Caitlin Rodenbeck, age ten, wrote this for a school speech. Her six year old sister Shannon has diabetes. Caitlin can be reach via e-mail at

Published April 24, 1999

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