2020 Global Art Competition

002 Amanda Castelú, age 19, Bolivia

I am Amanda Laura Castelu, an only child, and I live in the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia. I was 13 years old when I was diagnosed with diabetes. I have always played volleyball and just by the time I was diagnosed I was on medical leave due to an ankle injury. I stayed home for 3 months, and in the last week of my leave I got mouth sores, I could not eat, I felt very thirsty, and I lost 22 pounds. Nobody in my family related these symptoms to diabetes, and I was stubborn and did not want to go to the doctor, I felt very weak. It was my grandmother who, with her tricks (she said she would take me to an ice cream parlor), took me to the pediatrician at the Los Olivos clinic. At first glance the doctor said I had nothing but mouth sores, but my grandmother insisted and suggested I get tested for diabetes. In the clinic’s glucometer the result was High, they hospitalized me, and I started taking insulin. My mother was sad and very worried, she knew that my eating habits would have to change, and I always liked to eat too much. She knew that it would not be easy to assimilate this new situation and seeing the daily punctures in my belly broke her heart because she knew that it would never end. At school, all my classmates know about my illness. I had the help of my biology teacher. She proposed that I make a presentation explaining what diabetes is, the symptoms, and what I need when I have low blood sugar and, well, when my friends see me shaking, they run to the kiosks to get candy for me. Also, my mom went to school, spoke with the principal and my course advisor about the constant trips to the bathroom and in some cases, the need to eat out of schedule. My dreams are nothing more than to have a cure for this disease, to be a free person, without worries, without punctures. My family and I have a lot to thank the program. In the country we live in, there is not much diabetes education and if it were not for the program and their help with strips, insulin, and management with glycosylated hemoglobin tests, we would not know how to deal with diabetes. Today, with the program we have a second family, we look after each other, and we collaborate in everything we can.