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Shared experience

“I’m not as scared to wear my sensor out.”

Mia-Imani Williams was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in September 2022. We spoke to 11-year-old Mia-Imani about diagnosis, wearing her glucose sensor to prom and the support she gets from her family and friends.
Content last reviewed and updated: 29.04.2024

Mia-Imani wearing a white halter neck prom dress, smiling for the photo and wearing a glucose sensor on her upper arm.

Being diagnosed with type 1

My dad had been away for a work trip and when he came back, he noticed I’d lost a lot of weight. I’d also been really thirsty and needed to go to the toilet a lot. My mum noticed that I was going to the toilet really frequently.

About two days before I was diagnosed, we were at Notting Hill Carnival. On the train journey home, I kept needing to go to the toilet. My mum was doing research on her phone to find out what it could mean. My mum took me to a doctor’s appointment with the local GP. But they couldn’t tell me or my mum what was wrong, and they sent us to A&E.

That’s where a doctor told me and my parents, that I had type 1 diabetes. We were all really shocked.

When I was in hospital, I was given a JDRF Rufus teddy bear. I love that teddy bear, he’s an amazing comfort.

Type 1 treatment and tech

I did finger pricks for the first two months after I was diagnosed with type 1. Now I wear a glucose monitor which has made it a lot easier, because I used to have a lot of bruises from finger-pricking.

Also, before I had the monitor, when my parents gave us dinner, my sisters could just immediately start eating. But I’d have to do a finger prick and test and do my insulin. But now I feel it’s easier, because I just scan my sensor.

Going to prom and wearing my sensor with confidence

I don’t normally mind wearing my sensor when I go out, but sometimes if I go somewhere I’m going see the people again, I find it harder. At school, for example, I don’t really wear it out much because a lot of people there don’t really know what it type 1 diabetes is.

When I was shopping for my prom dress, I wanted to find something that had puffy sleeves so I could cover my sensor because I didn’t want people seeing it.

But I also really wanted to find a white dress because it matched my theme for prom and the colour of my sensor. I had planned to wear it with my denim jacket, but I chose not to and just wore my sleeveless dress. I got used to wearing my sensor without covering it and no one said anything about it.

Since then, I’ve felt a lot more confident. A couple of months ago, I probably wouldn’t even go out without wearing a jacket because I felt self-conscious about what people would think of it. But now, I’m not as scared to wear my sensor out.

Support from family and friends

I have two sisters, Nyomi-Iyabo, 13 years old and Etta-Ameyo, eight years old. Etta-Ameyo made up a song for me so I don’t forget to do my Lantus (long-acting insulin) at night.

She sings it to the tune of 2002 by Anne-Marie:

“First you gotta do your lantus yeah, or else you’ll go high or low, baby.

All you gotta do is do it quickly, and then you can go straight to bed.

Get all cuddled up and warm, in your bed tonight.

That’s all you’ve got to do every night.”

She normally helps me do my Lantus as well, because I’ve taught her how. Sometimes, when I’m really tired and I can’t be bothered to set up my insulin, she does it for me.

And at school, my friends always want to come with me at lunchtime when I take my insulin. So, they normally help.

Mia-Imani's green butterfly artwork. Created using paper waste from insulin.

Mia-Imani’s butterfly artwork. Created using paper waste from insulin.

Looking forward

When I was in hospital, I was really scared. But if I could go back in time and tell myself anything, it’s that it was all going to be okay.

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