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“Being diagnosed with Diabetes can be a very scary thing, and it can easily make your life stand still for a moment”– Charlie Kimball.

I have Type 1 Diabetes. I was diagnosed at 20 years old. I was surprised, but I should have expected it. The disease runs in my family.

I discovered I was diabetic because I started working in a daycare, and a physical was required. The doctor did lab work, and my sugar count returned very high. The doctor’s office called to give me the diagnosis, but I was not home. At that time, HIPPA laws were nonexistent, so they told my mom. She wanted to contact me immediately, but it was before cell phones, so she could not find me and impatiently paced the floor, waiting for me to come home. Finally, when I got home, she sat me down and gave me the news. I was devastated. I felt like my life was over. I don’t like people messing with my food or my eating habits. I knew that this diagnosis was going to change my life.

Thinking back, a lot of things made sense. Starting in my teen years, I was extremely moody and thirsty; I urinated often and was always tired. I was kicking myself; I should have recognized the symptoms. I was mad at my mom because she should have recognized the signs. After all, my grandpa on one side and grandma on the other side had Type 2 diabetes and had experienced the same symptoms before they were diagnosed.

I realized that we often miss what is right in front of our faces.

For the first two years, I controlled the disease with oral medications. However, I continued being angry and didn’t change my habits. Finally, I was put on insulin and took shots for 40 years. I have had issues with my diabetes for years and continue to want desserts and carbohydrates.

By the time I was 60, I had become a brittle diabetic. A brittle diabetic is an individual with significant, unexplained changes in blood glucose concentration. As a result, it is harder to control my sugar. It has become imperative to take my eating habits more seriously. Because my sugars were uncontrolled, I was encouraged to get an insulin pump. For various reasons, I fought against this suggestion. Finally, I caved and got one. I have struggled with it since I started wearing it. However, my sugar is better controlled, and I don’t have to take four shots daily!

Many wonder what they can do for the person with diabetes; STOP ENCOURAGING THEM TO CHEAT. It is detrimental to their treatment and cruel to those struggling with the eating plan!!

If you have family or friends with diabetes, the following are some ways to support them.

· Know what diabetes is and how it's treated.

· Be open to the kind of help they want, and don't judge.

· Look out for the symptoms of low blood sugar.

· Serve a variety of foods.

· Be a workout buddy.

· Offer mental and emotional support.

November 14 is recognized as World Diabetes Day. The holiday is observed on Frederick Banting's birthday because he and Charles Best developed insulin. The day's purpose is to recognize diabetes as a problem that affects everyone worldwide and is not specific to any race or country.

I encourage you to learn more about diabetes and help those you love in caring for themselves.

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