My life has been altered by two words that could kill someone: Juvenile Diabetes. It does not make for a peachy life, but if you work it right, it turns out sweet like cherries.
Looking back at my sour apple stage of teenage bad control, I think, "What was I doing? What caused me to start this terrible behavior?" It is jolting to think that I cheated on my diet. Now, I see too many of my diabetic friends smuggling sugar, causing their blood sugars to sky rocket; that was me five years ago.
It all started when I lost my motivation to maintain good sugar levels 24 hours/day, seven days/week. The stress of daily diabetes management built up like a cement wall. I felt alone because of all the extra work. I lost my energy and felt tired all the time. I was so anxious that I could not think straight. It became hard to keep up with a good diet.
Out of curiosity, I began to cheat. I thought one bite would not hurt. I started out with an occasional candy bar at lunch, but then went to secret snacking. A vicious cycle started spinning. I tested my blood sugar on a regular basis, but instead of writing down my actual high sugar level, I lied and wrote a normal one. Tension began to build between my doctor and me as she told me I needed to bring my hemoglobin A1C number down (which found the average of my blood sugar levels from the past three months.) Her lectures made me feel frustrated and sad.
I went into denial, and it sabotaged my health-care. I stopped learning what I need to know to keep myself healthy. I lost pleasure in things that I used to enjoy, such as sports. I felt guilty because I never did anything right. I hated my disease and asked God, "Why me?" My blood sugars went on poorly controlled and cheating forced me to isolate myself.
I was very sneaky about bingeing on any food in site, so my parents were not aware of my behavior. After awhile, they got suspicious. Finally, they looked at my blood glucose testing meter with bulging eyes, came to me and said, "Suzanne, why are your blood sugars high? What is going on?" The memory in my meter revealed my daily blood sugars to range from 292 to 553. Controlled blood sugars range from 80 to 150.
My parents lectured me day after day about the effects of having high sugar levels. Literally, it scared me senseless. Even today, I can still remember my dad saying, "Suzanne, you need to take care of yourself when you're young."
My parents forced me to openly admit what I had done. I wrote a letter to my endocrinologist saying, "I am faxing you my readings because they are rather high. The reason for that is because I have been cheating on my diet by eating cookies, not exercising as often as I used to and eating larger proportions at meals. I know these readings are very disturbing and I am sorry." My doctor felt like a priest reconciling me for my terrible diabetic sin!
Next, I knew I needed to regain control, motivation, strength and power. One bite of sugar caused me to lose all of that. With determination, I stopped cheating after six grueling months.
Today I realize that every lecture my parents gave me was worth it. Too often, diabetics take their lives for granted and do not take their disease seriously. God put me on this world for a reason and even though I have diabetes does not mean I am any less special.
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Last Updated: Sunday December 05, 2004 10:16:07
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