For most area fourth-graders, their backpack of school
supplies doesn't contain an insulin "pen."
for Patrick Esquibel II, 10, who goes to Indian Hills Elementary
School, daily life requires this special pen, in which he can measure
the amount of cubic centimeters of insulin he needs to offset his
school lunch and then use the pen to give himself the injection.
Esquibel was diagnosed at age 2 with Type I, or insulin-dependent,
toddler age on, Esquibel has had to take insulin shots every time
he eats even a snack and that amounts to five times a day sometimes.
Since age 7, Esquibel has given himself the shots under his parents'
doesn't matter if it is in the middle of Burger King," said
his mom, Holly Esquibel. The family spoke from their home in Williams
Acres Thursday evening. "We don't want him to be embarrassed
he has diabetes."
began a support group for juveniles with diabetes, which had its
first meeting last month at the Children's Library.
son said he has a "tape" of his mom's voice running through
his head: "She'll tell me, 'Take care of yourself or you'll
lose your hands, feet, vision,'" he said. He said he's used
to the routine now and wants to help other young people diagnosed
with the illness.
her son was first diagnosed with diabetes, Holly Esquibel said she
knew what his symptoms probably meant, because her stepfather is
a diabetic. At the time, the 2-year-old boy was urinating constantly,
was always hungry mostly craving Kool-Aid and also got lethargic
staff didn't take it seriously because of his age, and the lack
of immediate family history with it. That is, until staff at Rehoboth
McKinley Christian Hospital's College Clinic tested his urine, which
she dropped off one afternoon.
the time I got home, there was a message on my answering machine
to bring Patrick to the ER don't feed him, don't bathe him,"
Holly Esquibel said.
message didn't give any details as to what was wrong, but the urgency
of the words didn't escape the Esquibels. At the hospital, they
learned the tot's blood sugar registered over 500, with 80 to 120
being the normal range.
son was admitted to the hospital for three days, while physicians
worked on getting his blood sugar to normal or at least, heading
in that direction. At the same time, hospital staff crammed pamphlets
at the parents and showed them how to give insulin.
immediately turned into the 'doctors' when we got home," said
his father, Patrick Esquibel.
first, Holly Esquibel said she had to hold down her son while her
husband gave him the shot. The boy was too young to understand why
he suddenly had to take these shots so often.
he has grown, the boy began learning it's OK to have diabetes and
it's a daily routine, just like taking a shower or bath. At age
10, Patrick Esquibel II is visibly proud at the maturity he's shown.
also interested in helping his mother determine how many units of
insulin he'll need for different meals.
wants to eat lunch at school with the rest of the kids," his
she learned how to determine, from the carbohydrates that will be
served, how many units, or cubic centimeters, he'll have to inject
at lunch time. He can eat whatever he wants, but he has to take
insulin to compensate.
said he's not concerned about the upcoming Thanksgiving celebration.
About the only thing he can't have is cranberry sauce and candied
more leery of Halloween, Valentine's Day and Easter because of all
the candy. He eats some of the candy but doesn't usually finish
his "trick-or-treat" bag by the time Halloween rolls around
the next year.
don't really like candy, so that helps," he said.
6-year-old sister, D'Onna, supports her brother but had to confess
Thursday night: "I love Snickers."
family goes on marches for diabetes, like the one in Gallup annually
in March, which is National Diabetes Awareness Month. November is
National Diabetes Month, one month being more focused on awareness
while the other focused on the disease itself.
the march, they wear T-shirts with Patrick Esquibel II's picture
that say: "I am stronger than diabetes."
Esquibel II won a poster contest one year, and he also marched next
to former Navajo Nation President Kelsey Begaye. The Diabetes Calendar
in 2001 featured a photo of Patrick Esquibel II.
he is the only student at Indian Hills Elementary School diagnosed
with juvenile diabetes. His mother wanted to stress that he's not
the only student with it, but the only student diagnosed with it.
With the research Holly Esquibel has done on the disease, she knows
it affects far more children and adults than are diagnosed.
really proud of Patrick for everything he accomplished and everything
he's done. Hopefully, he will take this with him, as the teen years
are coming up. I'm proud of our daughter for supporting him,"
Holly Esquibel said.
Esquibel II had some advice for other youth diagnosed with the illness:
"It's nothing to be ashamed about. It can be hectic, but you
can get through it. You're special. God gave you this because he
knew you could handle it."
more information on the support group or juvenile diabetes, residents
may call the Esquibels at 870-8300.