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Last Updated: Monday, 6 November 2006, 00:22 GMT
Diabetes 'makes me odd man out'
image of Cara and her mother Ashley
Cara with her mother Ashley

Cara, like many seven year olds, wants to fit in with her friends.

Wearing the right clothes and following the latest trend is easy, but working around her diabetes is not.

As Cara explains, every day it makes her feel like the odd one out.

"In the morning with my family I am the odd man out because I have to test my blood," she says.

"For breakfast, I have to work out what I can eat that is healthy and also that will give me some carbohydrates so my blood sugar can be OK.

School break

"Then at school break-time I am odd man out. Everybody in the whole school has one biscuit at break.

"I can have the biscuit but I have to give myself a bolus - that's a big dose of insulin - to cover the sugar.

"Lots of times I forget. Mummy says that is normal because I am only seven years old and I am with all my friends playing. But when my blood sugar is high at lunch we both get upset.

"So now she has come to school specially to ask the lunch lady to remind me to bolus. When she does this in front of everybody, it makes me embarrassed.

I get so sick of so many needles every day
Cara

"At swimming days I have to have an extra blood test before I go so I can make sure I don't go too low when I am in the pool and collapse."

Cara says lunchtime is the worst for her.

"It is hard for me to work out how much to bolus myself for the school lunch because it is usually just a clump of pasta or a baked potato with cheese or something that has carbohydrates and fat and those are really hard for me to control.

"Because I have diabetes, mummy has not gone back to work so that she can come into school at lunch every day.

"We test my blood and decide how much bolus I need to cover my lunch.

"But it means I miss part of break, which is the funniest part of the whole day.

"After school is a problem too. If I want to play with my friends, my mummy has to have long discussions with the parents about what I am going to eat, what to do in emergency, and all that kind of stuff.

"I think for some of the parents it seems quite scary. All the girls are OK though because they see me handle it in school so they know it is no problem.

Compromises

"At home, dinner is usually OK but since I got diabetes, Mummy doesn't cook our favourite foods any more because they are too hard for us to try and manage.

"This makes my brother and sister a little angry with me because they really like those kinds of foods.

"Most of the time, though, they are really nice and help a lot."

Cara says she really hates the injections.

"I get so sick of so many needles every day. It is always so complicated. I can't eat, I have to eat, I have to prick, I can't exercise, I have to exercise, I can't sleep too late."

She is also scared that she will develop health complications when she is older if her blood sugar is not well enough controlled.

"I don't want to be blind. I really love to read and I would be so sad if I couldn't read any more."

Cara hopes experts will eventually find a cure for diabetes.

"It would be good to cure it because all people who have diabetes are scared all the time."


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