Living with diabetes - Phoebe's Story

Phoebe is seven-years-old and lives with diabetes but she still loves trick or treating at Halloween - even if she has to be careful around sweets.

In her own words she describes managing her condition daily with the help of her mum, teachers and friends, while still enjoying her favourite activities.

"Type 1 diabetes is that I have a pancreas that doesn't work. It means my blood sugar goes low and high so I have to have injections to help."

"At Halloween other people give me sweets, but I say 'no' because I have to control it. I couldn't just sneak and eat one because I didn't bring the diabetes kit."

My routine at home

"I test and inject myself four times a day. I do the insulin before I have dinner. I might have to put insulin in to make my pancreas work."

"In the morning, at breakfast, we have these little strips and we put one in (the insulin monitor) and we prick my finger, blood comes out and I tell my mum the reading, and then she tells me how many carbs to put into the monitor."

"I put them in, then it tells me how many I units I should inject."

"My injection did hurt every time but now I've got used to it, it's getting better."

My routine at school

"At school, at break time, and lunch time, I have to do it again. If I don't, my blood sugar will go high."

"The signs are when I've got a bad tummy, maybe a headache and when I'm teary and shaky as well."

"I have to be careful. Even if I've had a jab, I can't run around too much."

"My friends at home always say, 'are you OK?' if they notice I'm running a bit weird or shaky. They run and knock on my door and my mum knows and they bring me in."

"Whenever you see a diabetic a bit shaky or anything wrong, just go and look after them and tell somebody straight away."

I love to sing and dance!

"My hobby is singing, acting and dancing. Whenever it's snack time, I have to do my blood test and injection."

"When I have a low reading, I have a sugary drink or something with sugar, then I wait 10 minutes and it will bring back up the sugar levels."

"It makes me feel that I'm really left out on food because loads of people get to eat straight away but I have to have the blood test and injections before I eat. It's not that fair."

"Some of my friends are really kind. They don't eat their sweets, they eat when I eat. I really enjoy that because it means they are being a really kind, thoughtful friend."

"When I grow up I would like to be a nurse, or vet, but mostly I would love to be a singer!"

Discussion ideas for parents, carers and teachers

  • Talk to your children or class about how some medical conditions can affect our lives although we cannot see them.
  • Discuss resistance skills, such as the challenge of saying no to temptation.
  • Discuss the important role of friends offering support by being kind and thoughtful.
  • Talk about other kinds of medicines that children may have to take.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching PSHE, health and wellbeing in primary schools at KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 2nd Level in Scotland.