Congrats To My Boy For A Winning Essay On Diabetes

I opened the city's monthly newspaper last night to discover that my eight-year-old son had won their literary award for children's non-fiction. (I had forgotten working on it with him, which makes for a great surprise.) The judge praised his sense of humor and personal anecdotes. That's my boy. Here's the essay.

I Have Diabetes
by Theo, age 8

One day, I had to go to the doctor because I was drinking and peeing a lot. That may sound weird. But it meant I probably had diabetes. And I do. Diabetes means I have to get shots for the rest of my life, because my pancreas isn’t making enough insulin.

You’re probably wondering:
1. How did you get diabetes?
2. Can it stop?
3. Are you still normal? (Of course)

Answer 1. No one knows.
Answer 2. No.
Answer 3. I am the person typing here.

My routine of the day is like yours but when I wake up, before eating breakfast I check my blood sugar. That means I have to wash my hands and prick my finger with a black tube that has a tiny needle in it.

Then I press down on the black tube and the needle pricks me. It does not hurt. Then I squeeze my finger and some blood pops out. Next, I pop open a bottle and pull out a tiny piece of paper. I put the paper in a device shaped like a square. Then I put the drop of blood in the tiny piece of paper and some numbers pop up. If the numbers are really high, I get extra insulin in my shot. If the numbers are really low, I get some food and I have to wait 15 minutes before my shot.

I get at least four shots every day. I prick my fingers more often than that.

The first few days I had diabetes, I cried whenever I got a shot because the shot was very scary and frightening, and I wasn’t used to it. The third day, my mom said it hurt her feelings when I cried and ran away from shots. She asked me to be brave, and I did.

My dad didn’t know this. He was at work. My mom and I wanted to play a trick. I was in the bathroom hiding (as usual), and my mom was pretending to beg me to get a shot. And I was pretending to cry. Dad came home from work and he heard us pretending. We opened the door and said, Surprise! My dad was so surprised that I wasn’t really crying and that I was taking the shots without crying. Ever since that day, I don’t cry or run away when I get a shot. Sometimes a shot goes in and hurts and I cry, but otherwise, it’s okay.

A good part about diabetes is I get food in gym class because it’s exercise and that would make my blood sugar low. Another good part is I get special attention every day. But sometimes I don’t like diabetes. Sometimes I have to miss recess or I don’t get to eat when other people do. Once, I had to be in the school office for thirty minutes, and I missed eating lunch with my friends and art class. I have to deal with this every day, unlike my friends.

I have to be brave.


  1. your son sure knows how to end with a bang, much like you!

    what a fantastic poem, so clear and clever. this would make a great video or short booklet to give to newly diagnosed kids i think.

    my fave part is "i am the person typing here" b/c it reminds me of something my daughter would say.

    well done, theo!

  2. Outstanding; what a powerful story. I know you're proud! Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Theo has lured me out of lurkdom. This is stellar. Congratulations to him!

  4. Theo, congratulations! You really give us a clear picture of what it's like to have diabetes, and you do it in a way that makes us feel as if we know you. Wonderful job!

  5. This is Theo and I think I'm awesome and you are too!


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