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Kelli's photo As I sit here with my pen and paper, I think about the many changes that have occurred in my life. There is one major change that I will never forget because it has changed my life forever.

On Friday, September 2, 1994, the bomb dropped. I went to the Urgent Care doctor on the way to school. My mom had been noticing unusual things happening, such as extreme hunger and thirst, drinking gallons at a time, and massive headaches. On top of all of this, I had lost an immense amount of weight. I did not think anything about it because who minds eating a lot while losing weight? After arriving at the office, my blood sugar was tested on a little machine, and after 45 seconds, the word "high" kept flashing on the screen. I was totally confused and frustrated. Immediately the nurse had me go upstairs to see an endocrinologist. I did not even know what that was. Then, the nurse took me mom and me to a little room with a table. A woman came in and without saying anything, she brought out insulin and gave me a shot. At this time, I still had no idea what insulin was and that it meant that I had diabetes. The nurse instead tried to teach me how to give my own shot and talked about some diabetic information. She explained that my blood sugar was so far above 600 that it could not be tracked. Most children are hospitalize if their blood sugar reaches 300. This woman did all of this without even telling us that I had diabetes.

After all of this, I was sent home with instructions to call in the morning to find out my dosages. These few hours changes the rest of my life. This is only the beginning. Just as I adjusted to the diabetic life, it stopped. I was told I was on a "honeymoon." Not after a wedding, but a diabetic honeymoon. This is a common occurrence for most people after they are diagnosed with diabetes. It occurred because my pancreas was giving out its last effort before it completely shuts down. My doctor told me that you never know how long it will last. It could function again for one week to two years. This uncertainty filled my life with confusion. I did not know what to do. I just took each day at a time. It turned out that my honeymoon period lasted almost 14 months, the longest my doctor had seen. So, after a nice break, my diabetes is back. I am still having to adjust to it again, but it is not half as bad because I have been expecting it.

Becoming diabetic has completely changed my life. My best friend is the insulin I take and a machine. I use the machine to test my blood sugar four times a day by poking my finger and putting blood on a test strip. It counts down from 45 seconds and then reads my blood sugar. It seems almost like a game. From the reading, I am able to adjust my insulin and what I must eat. I have not only had to take insulin and test my blood sugar, I have also had to completely change my eating habits. I am forced to eat a healthy balanced meal regularly about six times every day. I try not to have a negative attitude because I now realize just how lucky I am. I do not know what I would do if I did not have my machine or all of the sugar free foods that are now available.

Not only did diabetes change my physical life, but it affected my mental life as well. It helped me look at my life and realize what was important to me. Becoming diabetic has also made me mature as a person. I now have responsibilities that I must take care of. It also helped to bring me closer to my family and has drawn me closer to God.

I now realize that life is full of a series of tests. You never know what is around the corner, but you have to take it as it comes. Most young people are not tested with health problems, but may have financial problems or may have to face the loss of loved ones. No matter how rich or popular people are, their tests will come. A positive attitude, and remembering that God has His plan for us, will always get us through it.

I am fortunate that diabetes is something I can control. If I take care of myself, I can lead a healthy life while many others are tested in more serious ways. My mother knew an 18 year old boy at her work who had lung cancer. After a two year battle, he lost bit battle with life. All he wanted to do was play football and basketball, but instead he had to have chemotherapy. He would have loved to trade his disease for diabetes. I am very grateful for a healthy life, with wonderful friends and family. What test is around the corner for each of us? Are we ready?

Kelli Sweitzer

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Last Updated: Sunday December 05, 2004 11:15:56
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