Diabetic Alert Dog for Jesse
Organized by: Krista Graves
Dolphin Watching & Dog Update!
April 17, 2018
Jesse’s Journey with Type 1 Diabetes
July 8, 2016
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was five. It was one year ago today. It was scary. I knew that something wasn’t right with me –I just didn’t feel like myself. I was sad and upset a lot and I was really thirsty all the time. I also got tired really fast. I couldn’t even make it up the hill when my mom and I walked the dogs in the morning –I’d have to stop half way and wait for them to go up and come back down.
I love dogs -my family has two. Keo is a Bull Terrier Dalmation mix. He’s deaf. He was born that way. Now he is three. Bailey is a Shepherd Husky mix. She’s two. They are my best friends. It was strange to be too tired to walk with them. My mom thought something was wrong too. She thought it might be Diabetes. She told me to get on the scale so we could see how much I weighed. I had lost 2 pounds –that’s when we decided I needed to go to the doctor for sure. When we got there we weren’t surprised to find out it actually was Diabetes that was making me feel so bad.
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. For some reason, my body decided to attack the cells in my Pancreas that make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps blood sugar levels stay steady in your body. Without insulin, all of the sugar stays in your blood instead of getting pushed into the cells to give your body energy. Since my body stopped making insulin, my cells weren’t getting any sugar and my body started to break itself down for fuel. If we hadn’t gone to the doctor when we did, I could have gotten very, very sick.
When we got to Dr Michelle’s office, my blood sugar was 650 (the normal level for someone who doesn’t have Diabetes is 70-120). She told my mom to drive me straight to the emergency room and that they would probably fly us to another hospital on O’ahu that same day. They did.
We spent four days at Kapi’olani Children’s Hospital where they took really good care of me. We learned that I would need to check my blood sugar many times a day by pricking my finger and that I would also need many shots every day so that my body could get the insulin it wasn’t making on its’ own. We would also have to figure out how much insulin I would need in every injection, which could be very tricky since things are always changing in our bodies. We also learned that Type 1 Diabetes doesn’t go away.
It was all pretty scary but we just did what we needed to do. And there were some good things. I got to learn more about my body and more about the foods that are good for me. The best thing though was getting to meet Tucker.
Tucker is a service dog that visits the patients and helps them feel better. Service dogs can do all kinds of different things like turning on and off lights and opening and closing doors and they can even help people with Diabetes know when their blood sugar gets too high or too low.
The past year has been hard a lot of the time. I don’t like having to poke my fingers every time before I eat and I miss eating some of the things I used to eat. I am on a really special diet that helps my blood sugar stay more even and makes it so I need less insulin. Most of the time I feel pretty good -I do get to eat lots of good food and cook lots of special treats with my mom but I still get sad sometimes. Also sometimes my blood sugar gets too high and I feel angry and some other times it gets too low and I feel shaky. Every once in a while it gets really low and my mom freaks out. She says that if it gets too low I could have a seizure. That is scary.
Ever since we met Tucker at the hospital, I knew that I wanted a Service Dog (did I mention that I love dogs?) And a dog that could save my life would be the best thing ever! Dogs can sense changes in blood sugar because their sense of smell is very, very strong. Diabetic Alert Dogs are specially trained to alert their trainers (or their parents or caregivers) when blood sugar levels become dangerously high or low. This would help keep me safe and let my parents worry less and sleep a lot better at night.
I am so excited because we just found a good organization that trains Service Dogs and we are about to turn in our application to adopt a Diabetic Alert Dog. It is called Cares. This is the website if you want to check it out: http://www.caresks.com
There is a long waiting time, but I know it will be worth it! Now the only challenge (besides waiting for my perfect match) is to raise money to pay for my dog and for the trip to go pick him up and do the final training.
If you can help by donating to my fund, I would love it! Everything helps.
My family and I thank you for your support and consideration!