Back to Kids' Voices Cayley
Hi! My name is Cayley and I am one and a half. I just found out in December 1999 that I have Type 1 diabetes. My parents were very shocked. They don't know anyone who has diabetes and we can't find anyone in our family tree with it either. I have a big brother named Cameron, he is four and a half. The picture you see was taken last Halloween when I could still have candy.

At first, when my mom noticed I was waking up wet every morning she just thought she was giving me too much to drink at night. Then when I became really thirsty all the time (I would scream until she refilled my sipper cup with water!) she knew it wasn't normal. One day I ran away from my mom down the hallway while she was trying to get me dressed, my dad saw me and noticed my ribs poking out and the bones around my shoulders sticking through my skin. They took me to the doctor's office that same day. They told me my doctor wasn't in that day and I would have to see a physician's assistant. Mom was worried the PA wouldn't understand how worried she was. They weighed me and I had lost seven pounds in less than three weeks, and I only weighed twenty-six pounds normally! After my mom told them all the symptoms, they pricked my finger and took a urine sample. My blood sugar was at 596. My mom didn't know what that meant so she wasn't alarmed at first. After about an hour waiting in the office, my doctor walked through the door and my mom started to cry. They had called him in from home to tell us what was wrong. When they diagnosed the juvenile diabetes she was in shock. She didn't know exactly what that meant and didn't know what to say. The doctor said we were lucky we came in because a lot of times people wait until children lose consciousness because the symptoms seem like odd behavior, instead of something medical. He said my mom was a good mom for being observant but my mom said she didn't feel like a good mom because she should have brought me in sooner. In any case, my mom said she will never forget that PA and feels bad she didn't want him to see me at first. He is a great physician's assistant, she says.

Dr. Jacobs said I had to go straight to the emergency room for treatment to get my blood sugar down and they would admit me to the hospital for a few days. After three and a half hours in the ER, they found a room for me in Pediatrics and wheeled me and mom upstairs. But after a half an hour, Dr. Jacobs said I took a turn for the worse and wanted me admitted to the Pediatric ICU in Sacramento. They called in the helicopter because he wanted me there as soon as possible. I am proud to say I am the first person in my family to ride in a helicopter! Mom was scared when they flew off and she couldn't go with me. They said there was no room for anyone else. She drove the two hours to that hospital alone because my dad had to stay home with Cam.

By now it was midnight and I was very sleepy. I didn't even have the energy to cry. But by the time my mom made it to see me in Sacramento (2 a.m.). I was feeling better and smiled when she walked in the room. We stayed in ICU for two days then I got moved over to Pediatrics. I got to play with the other kids at the hospital and my brother Cam came to see me. My mom and dad took turns staying with me so I was never alone. I got to come home five days after all this started.

My parents learned to check my blood sugar and how to give me injections. We are teaching everyone we know all about diabetes and the differences between Type 1 and Type 2. We've explained to our family how I will need incilin every day for the rest of my life until we find a cure. We have good days and bad days, and even in between days. But I feel lucky to have such great family support and friends who want to learn about what I have to go through. And I thank Mr. Costello and Dr. Jacobs for being so smart and my new doctors in Sacramento for taking such good care of me. My second birthday is in April and I'm having a big party. My mom is going to try to make a sugar free birthday cake. I hope it's good cause she says all the time she's not a very good cook.

Thank you for reading my story.

Cayley Ann Elswick--Twenty months old


Published February 3, 2000

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