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From Maine, USA:

I am 16 years old and live in Maine. Today I went for a yearly eye appointment. I went thinking that everything was going to be great. I got there and had my exam than my doctor asked me how my blood sugars have been. I told him that I thought that for me personally that they were doing pretty good. I told him that they are ranging from 90-200. He then told me the news that let me know that I was in need of a reality check real quick if I wanted to live much past 30. He said to me as nice as possible that I was going blind and that is was due to my high blood sugar.

High sugars? I thought that I was doing good. I have been depressed all day. I got this idea in my head about a pancreas transplant. I also got the idea that I wanted it more than anything in the world. I have not researched it a lot but that is what I am going to put all of my spare time and effort into. I am not the type of girl who should have got this disease. Just like some women are not fit for being a mother. I want the easy out. I was wondering if you could help me out a little bit. I also need information on some kind of good hospital where I could stay for a week or two to get back on track and in better control, I know I have to do it on my own but there is nothing wrong with a little kick in the butt. Like I said I live in Maine so if you know of any hospitals keep in mind that I can't go to them if they are out West. I just need a little encouragement. Thank you for reading this and please keep in touch.


As a patient advocate, the first thing I would ask is did you get a second opinion regarding your vision? You have a need for more information than you have now on this aspect of your health.

Eye doctors do not generally make pronouncements about the projected lifespan of an individual. Have you seen your diabetes doctor recently?

Having said that, I do commend you for wanting to gain better control of your blood sugars. Unfortunately, very few hospital programs can justify stays of "a week or two" now that managed care is in place.

Are you able to access a teen group in your area? Have you contacted the JDF locally? Enormous support and information is available through JDF. Perhaps you could partner with a peer in your age bracket with the goal of tightening control.

A transplant is a huge event and requires taking lots of medicine for the rest of your life to prevent rejection. It is not an easy way out. One of my best friends is a nurse who had a pancreas/kidney transplant two years ago. She has to work just as hard now as she did when she had diabetes in order to stay healthy.

Recognizing your strengths and weaknesses is a sign of maturing. You seem to be able to do this. I wish you well in your challenge of improving your blood sugars and your quality of life.


Additional Comments from Linda Mackowiak, diabetes nurse specialist:

I would also recommend a second opinion concerning the eye doctor. If you are sixteen years old and keep your blood sugars in the 90-200 range, it would be extremely rare to show diabetic retinopathy at this age. It is still important to do the best you can do with your diabetes, but 90-200 for a teenager sounds like you are doing a lot of hard work to take care of your diabetes.


Original posting 13 Mar 1999
Additional comment added 24 Apr 1999
Posted to Daily Care and Social Issues: Community Resources


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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