Saturday, January 10, 2009


When I was 9 years old my family moved to Kentucky. I was your typical 9 year old. I enjoyed riding my bike. Not a care in the world. One day I started to get really really thirsty. I would drink and drink and drink- but nothing would subside my thirst. This went on for weeks. Along with drinking gallons of water a day- I would pee all the time. My mom had to talk to my school to make sure I had special permission to go to the bathroom whenever I needed as we assumed I had a bladder infection. I would have to pee so much I started wetting the bed. It was horrifying to me because 10 year olds were not supposed to wet the bed- but all of a sudden- I couldn't control it anymore. Peeing every two hours I was too exhausted to wake up.
I had a sleepover with some girl friends and I was too scared about wetting my bed that I didn't sleep at all that night. :(

Anyway- assuming it was some sort of bladder infection my mom found me a peditrician and set an appointment for me. At the Doctors, after explaining my symptoms they had me pee in a cup. All I remember is the Doctor was this big black lady who was really loud and blunt. She came in and asked me "How long you been peeing like a horse???" . "I think you might have diabetes- your pee smells just like fruit loops. You have a lot of sugar in there. Go to the hospital as soon as possible."

My mom and I drove home first. We were both crying like babies. I told my mom I couldn't do it- I couldn't give myself shots. I couldn't stop eating candy. Halloween was just weeks away. My mom was as afraid of needles as I was. We were both scared to death. I didn't know too much about diabetes. I know you had to give yourself shots. I know you had to poke your finger to test your blood... I knew I wasn't ready for any of it.

My parents took me to the hospital. On the way to the hospital we stopped by a man's house in our ward to give me a blessing. I was praying so hard that the blessing would tell me I wouldn't have diabetes. That I would be cured. But no. It was more along the lines of "You'll grow from this" - "You will be able to do this" - "Pray for help". It was a beautiful blessing. Just not what I wanted to hear...

In the hospital they tested my blood sugar. It was in the 2000s. Normal blood sugar range is 80-180. They tried to start me on IVs right away.. I say try because they poked me more than 10 times trying to find a good vein. I HATED needles- and that was not helping matters.

The hospital visit was kind of a blur. I remember a lot of diabetes educators coming in and teaching me different stuff- It was all overwhelming. I remember them teaching my parents how to give me shots of insulin. They tried to get me to give myself a shot- but I couldn't do it. (Still can't.) I remember practicing injections on an orange...
I remember them yelling at my mom cause I was hungry and she gave me some chicken. They told her she was not allowed to give me any food unless it was approved by them. I took a class on how to count carbs. It was kind of cool because they had plastic food- and it looked pretty real.
They expained if I wanted to eat food- I had to give myself a shot. I had to poke my finger 4x's a day and give myself another shot if my blood sugar was too high.
I had a room mate in the hospital. She was only 3 years old. She had diabetes too and screamed bloody murder every time she got a shot. Which was pretty often. I felt bad for her.

When we were home from the hospital I remember trading in my Halloween candy for money. I remember envious stares from my class mates in 5th grade when I HAD to have my snack "Juicy juice and crackers" during class. Since I was in the hospital over a school field trip I had to write a paper about diabetes and my stay in the hospital.

Growing up with diabetes was tough. As a teenager it was on the back burner and I was in denial that I had diabetes. I didnt test my blood sugar very often. I would get really low blood sugars... and really high blood sugars. Sometimes I would say I was low when I wasn't so I could get candy. :) Me and candy!
When I was engaged to Ryan I decided I should probably start trying to control my diabetes- but the inspiration didn't last very long :)
After getting married we moved from AZ to NJ. The Dr's in NJ were quacks- wouldn't perscribe me birth control... because of his religious beliefs I am assuming? Once we moved back to Utah- I found a really great Doctor who really helped. He was encouraging and helpful (I had been very anti-doctor... so his encouragement and support was very good). I was put on the pump.

The pump has been awesome. No more shots for me! I never was able to get to the point of giving myself a shot. I had to use special injectors (a little gadget that stuck the needle into me at the press of a button), and before the injectors my parents gave me my shots.
I have an insulin site on my body (That I change every 5 days)... it has a tube that continuously delivers insulin. I eat food- and just press a couple buttons. Pretty cool, huh?


Amy said...

That had to have been really hard. I'm amazed at how much you understood at such a young age! When I was nine I knew nothing about diabetes, and I certainly didn't know enough to cry over it on the way to the hospital. You were a genius!

Yay for the pump!

jamirodana said...

Wow! I had no idea. I'm glad you have the cool pump thing now.
I don't think I could give myself a shot either. Blah!
I remember my doctor that I had as a kid. He was Dr. Ince and he had a huge black and grey beard and smoked.(not in front of me) He was super hilarious!

Emily said...

Tiffany, I love this post! Thank you for writing about your ordeal, i know it's hard to write about chronic illness. AT least you can understand a little about what I am going through. It's tough. I love that you were brave to write your feelings.

Andi and Jimmy said...

ok, minus the sad parts of your totally made me laugh. for some reason some of my best memories of you in good old illinois are at girl's camp when you would get really grouchy and loopy and we'd be, tiffany i think you need to check your blood sugar. not really funny bc it was always too high or low when you acted like that but you sure were amusing :)

Chris and Tara said...

I found this post both informational and interesting. I agree with Amy, woohoo for the pump. I could NEVER give myself shots.

Kristen and Tyson Cramer said...

Thanks for posting your experience! I've known people with diabetes most of my life, but I've never really talked about it with them in detail. That pump is really cool! I don't know how people can give themselves shots. That would be rough.

C&CSant said...

I usually check your blog every once in awhile and haven't had time. I like your cool about posting every day and I am impressed you have had a blog for so long. I laughed about your teenager journals because mine basically consisted of the same thing. I also try to write on either here or my journal- somethings are too personal. I LOVE how you are talking about your past. I should do that some time as well. I can never keep up with everything I should be or have to be doing. You have great ideas Tiffany! Are you still working with Jet Blue? I hope things are going well for you. Oh, and I laughed about how Jayden is popular. Too bad I could have told you. I used to love the name Brayden and then so many people had that name when I did daycare before I became a teacher. Then I thought I was being inventive and came up with Ayden...but then I heard there were Aydens, Jaydens, Haydens, and still Braydens. I love all of them, but I guess so does everyone else! It is okay- I am sure it wont be that bad!Anyhow e-mail me some time and I will invite you to my blog...that way I can keep up with you more. I loved getting to know you better at Halloween.

Nikki Taylor said...

Hey! I hope you don't think I am too "stalkerish"! I just found your blog off Jessica's! This post just caught my attention because my family has a history of diabetes and I just find it so interesting. I think it is awesome that you shared your story! Just another reason you are amazing! Hope all is well!

JamieD said...

Tiffany- I totally blog stalked you too and I am so glad I did. I LOVED your post. It is so easy for me to get wrapped up in my own problems that I don't ever realize that others have them too. Your story is so amazing- and I think you are just the cutest girl ever!
I can so relate to the needle issue too. I have had to give myself 2 shots a day (in my stomach no less) because of blood clots. The Dr.s to this day have no idea why I get them. I tested negative for all the clotting disorders. I made Bryan learn how to do it for about the first 3 months, but I got sick of having to wait for him-so I forced myself to do it- just thinking about it makes me cringe.
I was laughing so hard when you said you used to say your blood sugar was low so you could get candy. One of my good friends is diabetic and we totally used her diabetes to get ourselves out of class. She was just too weak to make it by herself!
I am so glad that you have found good doctors, got the pump, and are doing great. You have such a beautiful family.