Bonnie’s Story ~
Hello my name is Bonnie Isaacson Marcoux and I have lived with type 1 diabetes for 50 years, free of complications. I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was six years old. I was hospitalized not really knowing what the problem was, and all I remember was having ear aches. I was one of four children in our family – second oldest. I was an active kid and we had lots of fun with each other. We were all close in age, and let me tell you, we were busy all the time. Not sure how my parents did it sometimes.
We lived in small town in rural Saskatchewan when I was diagnosed with type I diabetes. In the hospital I remember having blood tests and one day doctor Christ came in to the room and Mom and Dad were there. I was playing cut-outs and the doctor sat down with me and started to explain what diabetes was. He said that I had to take a needle every day because my pancreas didn’t work, and to be honest, it really didn’t sound that bad and I had now idea what I was being told.
He continued explaining things to Mom and Dad and I continued playing. Lets face it, I didn’t understand anything he was saying except I remember it really wasn’t going to be that big of a deal.
I knew by the end of the conversation that I could not go home from the hospital until Mom and Dad learned how to give my needle. Mom came to the hospital and the nurse showed her how to fill the syringe and then she had to inject the needle into an orange to practice. My Mom stuck the needle into the orange and then she fell off the chair. I had no idea what happened. I thought my Mom had died. Of course today I know the story – Mom fainted giving a needle to an orange.
The next step was for Mom and Dad to practice at home with an orange and then they had to give each other a needle. I cannot remember how long I was in the hospital, although I know Mom and Dad were taking me home and I had to follow a strict diet, give a needle every morning, and test my urine for sugar. The needles hurt and the syringe was so hard to fill, and when the insulin was being pushed through the syringe it would stick – then all of a sudden it would push.
The glass syringes and stainless steel needles were sterilized and reused. Mom made sure I had all my meals and snacks. I knew pretty quick I had to eat regular meals and at regular times. The insulin would peak at a certain time and it was important for me to eat my meals and snacks on time or I would have an insulin reaction. Mom would teach me what to do and why. I know today Dr. Christ told my Mom and Dad if they did not teach me how to look after my diabetes that I would not live a long life. Mom and Dad would teach me what I needed to do, I don’t remember this being in a rigid way – it was just what we did.
I was never treated different that I can remember at home. As a family we all ate meals together, all the kids had snacks, and we all played together. When I had my insulin in the morning it had to match up with my food and activity of course. I was a very active child so I know it would of been a challenge for my parents – more than I ever knew.
The only time I felt different was at social functions and at school. I would hear people say,
“Oh your the little one with diabetes.”
I guess this really did make me feel that I maybe had something wrong with me. I didn’t feel different, but other people made it sound like I maybe was different.
I went to Camp Easter Seal at Manitou Beach, near Watrous Saskatchewan. I guess the worst is when people would be offering sweets and then they would pull the plate away and say…………
“Your the one with diabetes…..you can’t have that.”
This created pressure as a child as I felt like I was being left out. At school I was the only person who had diabetes, and the teachers made sure I had my snack. That is all they did. We went home for lunch and after school. My Mom was a stay at home Mom and I am so grateful for the care I received.
The next big event – I was going to camp because I had diabetes and there would be other kids with diabetes. I really did not want to go and I really did not want to stay. I was so scared, although I did have fun when I finally stopped crying. I’m sure I didn’t cry nearly as long as I thought I did.
The counselors worked very hard to get me involved. In the morning we all went to the nurses station and they would show us how to give our needle and test our urine. By the end of the week I could give my own needle.
Next stop….the dining hall.
Each camper had a meal card showing the amount of food exchanges for each meal. The food was all dished out in servings and you would go through the lineup and pick out the amount of food exchanges you could have from your meal card. After breakfast we were off to an activity such as swimming, horseback riding, wagon rides, canoeing, hiking and arts and crafts.
Snack time at 10:00 AM, the counselor had them with her so we didn’t have to stop what we were doing.
Back to the dining room for Lunch.
We had our meal cards and went through the same process for each meal. Remember -there were no blood glucose monitors at this time. We tested our urine for sugar and acetone. The activities continued in the afternoon and then back to the dining hall for dinner. We did have duties that we had to do in our cabin and some clean up in the dining hall. In the evening all the campers went to the campfire for sing-song and skits. Each day was filled with activities. I did have fun, made friends, and I remember being proud that I could give my own needle. This was a big event for a six year old and one that I will always remember.
I wanted to start a blog because I have a great life with diabetes and I wanted to share it with others. When I was young I thought if I lived to be old, which I thought was 40 years of age, I would have lived a good life.
Today I am 56 years old, living a healthy life with diabetes. I no longer hide my diabetes, I no longer live in fear of my diabetes, I no longer feel different because I have diabetes. I no longer feel that I have to work harder because I have diabetes. I understand. I have grown up with diabetes, and throughout my life I was given a gracious gift in a loving and supportive family that allowed me to be normal with diabetes. I have lots of years ahead of me and I want to write about my experiences, and maybe one little thing I write may help someone else.
I have worked hard educating myself about diabetes, I have researched and tried so many new products. There are so many diabetics, and we can learn so much from each other. I’m looking forward to learning from all the visitors to this site, and I encourage all who visit to share their story.
Live Well With Diabetes.
Disclaimer – This website does not provide medical advice or treatment recommendations. All content on type 1 diabetes treatment website is for informational purposes and is the personal experience and opinion of the author. Always seek the advice of a licensed physician with you medical questions and concerns.
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