Back to Kids' Voices Amanda

Hi there. My name is Amanda, and I'm from the dairy state of Wisconsin. I'm 17 years old and a senior in high school. I've been a diabetic for the past 5 years, and have been on the insulin pump for the past 4. I'll start off by telling you about my diagnosis and my experience with diabetes.

It's very weird to think back to the day I found out, because it just seems like it happened ages ago. I was in the 7th grade when I learned of my illness, and felt the symptoms probably 2 months before I actually found out. Of course, at the age of 12, I wasn't really aware of what was going on with my body and that it was at all life-threatening. I remember always being extremely thirsty and hungry, which resulted in many restroom breaks. I had lost about 15 pounds within those 2 months, and as a pre-teen girl I was quite okay with that. However, it was the last straw for my parents, who decided it'd be best to get me an appointment with our family doctor. About a week before my scheduled appointment, I woke up in the middle of the night as sick as a dog. I was still drinking gallons of water and visiting the bathroom quite a bit, but as the hours passed I just kept feeling worse and worse. I had severe pains in my stomach and could no longer support my own weight. I remember going upstairs to use the bathroom, and then waking up on the bathroom floor to find my mother crouching over me. To be honest, I was too confused and exhausted to be scared or even aware of what was going on around me. My mother rushed me to my doctor who then sent me to a hospital in the town next to my own via ambulance. I spent about a week in the hospital regaining my health and learning about diabetes and the daily tasks I'd need to perform once I left the hospital. For the first few days, I didn't realize what being a diabetic meant. However, about my third day there it all kind of hit me at once. It was a great struggle for myself and my family at first; it was especially hard for me to return to school knowing I had to deal with the reactions of my peers.

It's been 5 years now. Diabetes is no longer an obstacle for me, but rather just a part of my daily life. Many refer to me as a diabetic, but I usually don't. I feel diabetes is a part of my life, but does not define who I am. At times it's been hard to get others to realize that, but I never fail to show them that I'm capable of succeeding at anything a 'normal' kid can do. Most of the people I go to school with know of my diabetes. I used to be afraid of people's reactions when they found out, but now I use my illness to educate others about the different aspects of the disease.

On a more personal note: In previous years I've been a swimmer and diver for our high school's swim team. I love the summer, because I enjoy being at my cabin swimming and jet skiing. I love spending time with my friends and family, which I do quite a bit. I consider myself quite active in my high school and community, although I'm not playing sports this year. I'm in a great number of clubs and do quite a bit of volunteer work. My high school newspaper is also a very important part of my life, and I'm hoping to continue this passion of mine even once I'm at college.

I've met quite a few diabetics, many of them from Wisconsin. All of them from different backgrounds and all of them very different in personality. I've made friends who I strongly cherish, and I'd love to meet and make new friends. If you'd like to talk or ask me any questions feel free to email me. I'd love to hear from you.

banana_creme06 AT

Published December 18, 2005

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