Payvin Esmaeel's blog

Age 14
Payvin adding to the emission pledge board at Evelina London

May 2019

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Hi my name is Payvin, I am 14 years old, and I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 9.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition where the body’s immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas, leaving the pancreas unable to produce insulin, which is a hormone that keeps blood sugar steady. I found out I was diabetic after years of visits to the doctors because I was losing lots of weight and constantly waking up at night to go to the toilet alongside being thirsty 24/7. I guess I was lucky because if I had been diagnosed later it could have affected my organ system.

After I found out, I had to stay at Evelina London for a week. It was confusing at first as I was pretty young and I had no idea what was going on. At this point, I didn't realise it would change my life as the doctors and nurses treated me like I was normal even though I had to prick my fingers and use an insulin pen every time I had food. Yes, it was a lot to take in as I had to learn how to carb count, get used to needles and always be aware of what I am consuming, but it didn't make me feel different or impact my daily life.

However, as years went by and I moved to secondary school, I had appointments nearly every week at Evelina London due to chronic pain in my knees and right hand. I moved onto an insulin pump, a device giving me insulin through a small tube inserted into my stomach, which I have to change every day. This was a whole new experience to me that changed my life, even though I had diabetes a couple years prior to having an insulin pump. Diabetes started to feel annoying and made life harder and as if it is a chore.

But I always say to myself, when I’m at a low, people have it worse than you. That has always motivated me to carry on.

In my spare time I like to focus on my artwork, which I love to link back to my diabetes, and revision as I have my GCSEs coming up in a year. Other than that, I like to spend time with my friends and cousins (especially my little cousins because I love kids). Diabetes hasn't really affected my every day activities, but it can be a struggle and you always have to be mindful.

I want to thank Evelina London for helping me for over 5 years now. They have been like a family to me and the doctors and nurses have always gone out of their way to help me in the best way possible.

Sadiq Khan talks to patient Payvin at crafts table

Last month, I was admitted to hospital for a couple of days as my sugar level wasn't lowering and my sodium levels had dropped. On the second day, I had the opportunity to meet the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who was visiting to talk about the Ultra Low Emission Zone, which will hopefully help everyone living in London. I was kind of confused as I barely slept the night before, but I am extremely happy I met him. It made my hospital experience on those couple of days less stressful and normal.

For all those that are going through the same thing as me, the advice that I would give you is to keep going through the hard times, things will hopefully, eventually get better someday and don't let diabetes, chronic pain or any other health problems get in your way of living life.

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It doesn't make you different from others, it makes you unique.


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