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An Angel Soaring High

Posted on March 21, 2019 | No Comments on An Angel Soaring High

At two years old, what could you have been doing? Of course, most of us would probably not remember. But our parents or grandparents would have told us how hyperactive we were as a kid, or how cute we looked smothered with chocolates on our faces.

Most two-year-olds have nothing to worry about, save maybe for wet diapers, or their hungry tummies. But that was not the case with Bea. At two years old, her frail body was being pricked with needles for her daily dose of insulin — long before she could even spell the word, or know what insulin is.

At two, Bea was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, an illness that she will have to bear for the rest of her life.

An angel’s cross
Almia Bea Baluyot, or simply “Bea” to her family and friends, has the innocent look of an angel. Now seven years old, her sweet demeanor is endearing as she shows no traces of whatever difficulties her condition brings her.

But like others who have this disease, diabetes is like an invisible cross that this sweet angel has to bear.
Everyday, Bea has to be pricked a total of six times — two for her insulin injections, and four times for checking her blood sugar.

Though she’s already accustomed to being pricked often, her mother Amy says she still cries sometimes, especially if the injection hits a vein, which is painful.

Bea’s mom admits that her daughter’s condition is really difficult for the whole family, as they have to adapt to all the restrictions that her condition brings. She says seeing Bea go through her daily struggles with her illness is even more difficult for her and her husband. They sometimes can’t help but pity their daughter, “kase ang darning nawala sa kanya, sa pagkabata niya (because there were a lot of things that she missed out on in her childhood because of diabetes),” Amy shares.

Limitations and understanding
Like any other kid, Bea also likes to eat sweets. Case in point when asked what her favorite food is, Bea immediately answered — chocolates! But unlike other kids, she can’t eat chocolates as much, or as often, as she wants to. “Paminsan-minsan lang daw po ako pwede kumain ng matatamis (I’m only allowed to eat sweets once in a while),” Bea says shyly. And she has to content herself with sugar-free chocolates.

Bea’s limitations in terms of food extend even to school. Her parents have made it a point to notify the school and her teachers early on of her condition, and what is safe and not safe for her to eat. Amy further shares that at first, Bea was totally unaware of her condition —simply because her young age still could not grasp the full realization of what diabetes was. Amy says Bea only started to become aware of her condition when she started school. She recounts that during Bea’s nursery school days, she would often come home full of questions about her condition.

Up to now, her mother says that sometimes, Bea can’t help but complain about some of her limitations. But like any good parent, Bea’s mom and dad never get tired of explaining to her why she can’t have some of the things that she wants, and why such things are not good for her.

It was only last year when Bea became really aware of her illness. Attending a diabetes camp for young kids last summer helped her understand her situation more, sharesAmy. Bea became a first-time camper in last summer’s annual Camp Cope, a summer camp for children and teens with type 1 diabetes. After that summer camp, Bea now has a better understanding of her condition. “Attending camp was a big help. Medyo dam na nya yung mga do’s and don’ts,” says her mom. She adds that Bea even knows how to inject insulin by herself now.

Spreading her wings
As young as she is, Bea is learning to not let diabetes get in her way. She is a consistent member of the Top 10 in her class. “She’s doing really well in school,” Amy proudly says of her daughter.

Aside from excelling academically, Bea is also very much involved in extracurricular activities. Her artistic side and her love for drawing led her to her school’s art club. Her mom shares that Bea is also into dancing and singing. In fact, last summer, she was enrolled at a popular music center where she learned to further enhance her dancing and singing skills. During the Diabetes Awareness Week culmination activity at the Market! Market! in July, Bea performed a dance number on stage together with fellow Camp Cope campers.

Like any normal kid, not even her diabetes can stop her from playing with her friends, both in school and in their community. She loves Barbie dolls, and she loves to swim too. Playing, and basically just being active, is Bea’s major form of exercise. Her parents, though still make sure she gets to exercise at least on weekends, and do some warm-ups everyday.

Most importantly, Bea is starting to learn to take care of herself. Her mother proudly says that Bea now knows how to attend to her personal emergencies, like hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) attacks.

Bea relates that whenever she feels sleepy or dizzy — warning signs of hypoglycemia — she drinks or eats something sweet without being told. Amy shares that Bea often encounters hypoglycemia attack, her sugar level even hitting as low as 17 (normal blood sugar reading is 70 to 100 mg/dL before breakast).

Despite her diabetes, Bea remains like any kid at heart. Her childlike acceptance of her condition reflects her innocence — a precious gift that helps her triumph over the heavy burden that diabetes brings.

Bea, herself, is a blessing to her parents. Even if she’s got a delicate condition like diabetes, she has continued to serve as joy and inspiration for them, who, on the other hand, continue to give her all the unconditional love that she needs. “She is a very sweet, thoughtful, loving and caring daughteC says Amy.
Bea is also very prayerful, her mom adds. At her young age, Bea already knows how to treasure her family. “She always tells us she loves us and she’s very happy being with her family,” Amy relates.

Like an angel with broken wings, Bea may have had her wings clipped at an early age. Nevertheless, Bea is proving that even with clipped wings, this angel has the potential to soar high.

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