Back to Kids' Voices Anja Nielsen
I'm a 14 year-old girl and I'd like to tell the story about when I got diagnosed with diabetes. I live in Denmark, but this summer I was on a language trip for three weeks, where I lived with a host family in Salzburg, Austria. When I had been there a week, we went to the capital of Austria for two days. The second day I passed out and was brought to the doctor. He couldn't find anything unusual. He just said I was dizzy. What a surprise! Like I didn't know.

Back in Salzburg, they did more tests cause I was still dizzy, but they still didn't find anything. One doctor advised me to drink lots of Coca Cola and tea! The time went by, and soon we were going home.

Two days before leaving, it got really bad. All the time I'd been really thirsty and tired. Now I started throwing up and I could hardly walk, but I wanted to get home together with my Danish friends. We were going by bus for three hours to Munich where we had a plane to catch. In the airport in Munich I couldn't walk when no one helped me, and the others had to carry my heavy luggage as well.

I was so tired that I was close to falling asleep on the middle of the floor in the airport, though it was really crowded. The woman who checked passport asked if I was ill. Of course I said "yes." I was lucky to have friends who helped me so much, otherwise I wouldn't have come so far! She found some chairs for me, and soon two men came and nearly carried me to an ambulance. It brought me to an area in the airport where they treat people with urgent medical problems.

The doctor soon found out that I had diabetes. I didn't really care, I just wanted to eat and sleep. I wasn't allowed to do either. I was starving, I had not been eating for about 36 hours. He didn't explain anything, and when he finally said something, it was in German and so quickly that I couldn't understand it (German's my third language). I was asked if I wanted to stay or go back to Denmark. I decided to stay, they said I could catch a plane the day after.

  The leader went as well, so I was alone in Germany, with a doctor who I didn't understand. Luckily, another doctor came who was very good at English. I was brought to a children's hospital in Munich. The day after, another doctor told me I had to stay there for some days, they didn't know exactly how long. When my parents got that message, my mum decided to leave straight away. In the evening she came, it was really nice that there was someone who always understood me, though I sometimes had to translate for my mum.

My mum came Saturday. Monday a fourth doctor said I could only go back to Denmark if a Danish doctor came to escort me home. Luckily, we have a great social insurance in Denmark, so Tuesday a doctor came. In the evening I was at a Danish hospital near our capital, Copenhagen. I thought I should stay there for ten days or so to learn everything cause I live on a rather small island, and was told there was no diabetes center. But I was brought to the hospital on my island Wednesday and came home Friday.

I have a very nice doctor, who's very understanding. It's about 1 1/2 month ago I was diagnosed, and I have accepted it now. I just had a really bad period where I was very tired and felt I had no time to do what I had to, such as homework. So I took two days off school, that made the difference. Now I'm back on my feet, and I'll hopefully be going to London in October to visit my friend there. After all, it's kinda good I've got diabetes. I've lost 20 pounds, which was really needed and I'm really fit, I run like 5 times a week and eat much healthier. If anyone would like to write, you're welcome. My e-mail is

In Germany I had averytight diet, I'm not on a diet in Denmark, so I don't really feel my life is changed so much. But of course, when someone is eating cookies and I have to say no. I'm getting better at it, but it's certainly not fun!

Published October 10, 1999

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