Photography by Jeanine Phelps Photography
Meet Emily. She is Beauty Revived.
The first thing you’ll ever notice about Emily is her smile, her infectious laughter, her
ability to find happiness in almost any situation. Emily’s drive and inner strength to accomplish
her goals allow her to push through fears that others might balk at.
Then you’ll see her pink purse. This isn’t odd for an eight year old to carry, but her purse
is full of syringes, insulin, a blood glucose monitor, glucose tablets, and emergency glucagon;
life saving instruments for which no eight year old should be responsible. But here we are, and
here she is.
Emily was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on September 11, 2016. She went from a
normal carefree childhood to monitoring her food intake and accepting insulin injections four to
six times a day in the space of hours.
Before diagnosis, Emily was rarely sick. We were able to recognize the symptoms of
Type 1 Diabetes in her before her condition really took a turn. It still meant a three day stay in
the hospital, and it still meant Emily had to learn to take insulin herself, but it didn’t mean a week
long stay in the ICU trying to stabilize her vitals like it often does with a newly diagnosed child
with Type 1. For Emily, her condition developed quickly from feeling thirsty and needing to use
the bathroom often, to a complete upheaval of her world. One day she felt pretty good and the
next day she was enduring people putting needles in her arm every time she ate something. It
was a lot for her, and she had moments of resistance, and a lot of tears and many many nights
of crying out that she didn’t like diabetes. As parents, all we could do was hold her and
acknowledge that yes, diabetes is a terrible thing to endure.
When Emily was newly diagnosed, her body still wanted to produce its own insulin, as
her pancreas had not officially died yet. At times, completely randomly, her blood glucose would
tank and she would go very low, very quickly. It seemed we were walking on eggshells trying to
keep her blood glucose stable and at an acceptable level. The amount of insulin we gave her
was ridiculously small, and still there were times she would just bottom out. It was a very difficult
time for all of us, learning and adjusting. Praying.
One week after diagnosis Emily was back at school, adjusting in her new school life.
During all these rocky, fragile months where her body was still figuring out what it was doing,
Emily had to be in class. Whether she was learning how to recognize low blood sugar, enduring
high blood sugar fatigue, or surviving a rough night of crazy numbers as her parents jostled her
awake to check blood glucose or make her drink juice, Emily endured with an overall happiness
and by successfully completing her third grade year.
This summer Emily was able to go to our hospital’s Diabetes Camp, organized by the
ADA. For a whole week, she hung out and played with other Type 1 kids her age. They canoed,
hiked, swam, scavenger hunted, and talked to each other about living with Type 1. She saw all
her friends line up for injections, carb counts, and kids being given juice for lows. She was a part
of a community of kids comforting each other for having to sit out for a bit while they recovered
from a low. It may very well have been the best week of her life.
Emily is in a unique situation where her father and one of her older brothers also have
Type 1 Diabetes. So she’s never truly alone in her condition, but her brother and father wear
insulin pumps, and at this point Emily is not interested in trying a pump out. It was fantastic for
her to be with other kids receiving injections, enduring the same struggles.
Since the beginning of Emily’s diagnosis she has decided to become a ‘diabetes doctor’.
Her goal is to rid diabetes from the world so other kids don’t have to go through what she has
endured. She wants to cure her brother and father also, and is sure she can do it. Emily loves
math and science, and has the drive and ambition to meet her goals. No matter what she does,
I know for certain she will always face adversity with a good heart and an optimistic attitude.
Nothing can stop her; she’s faced the worst already.
About the Photographer
I’m a self taught photographer.
I am a blessed mommy to 2 beautiful girls.
A Dallas Cowboy and Alabama football fan.
Addicted to my iPhone, Sonic Half Lemonade Half Water, the Food Network, thrift stores and my Nikon.
I am a perfectionist.
A hopeless romantic.
A terrible, horrible, no good, very BAD speller.
A scarf and plaid shirt addict.
The one to capture your kiddos being kiddos.