Wednesday, September 14, 2011
How Coming Face to Face with Diabetes Changed Me
I do not have diabetes nor am I currently at risk; however, I have been screened. At 12, I went in for an annual physical examination, but this examination was unlike any other. My doctor noticed something unusual, indicative to Type 2 diabetes, so a week later I was back in the doctor’s office for a screening. I was flabbergasted. Since I was five, I have played a sport. I had no clue how serious diabetes was because my health classes had never covered the subject. So, here I was sitting in the waiting room completely unaware of just how life changing a diagnosis can be. After my screening I was made well aware of the risk factors, symptoms, and the various diabetic supplies.
I had to wait 2-3 weeks for my results, and without a doubt those were the longest 2-3 weeks of my life. As the days passed I began to reexamine how I was living my life. I seemed healthy enough, but it made me realize that exercise was not enough. In order to keep myself healthy I needed to change my unhealthy eating habits. In addition to cutting out candy and soda, I made an effort to reduce the amount of carbohydrates I ate. Being Italian this was initially incredibly difficult; however, I kept my long-term goals in mind.
2-3 weeks later my results were in. I did not have diabetes. I cannot express how relieved my parents and I were to hear the news. Even though I did not have diabetes, the experience changed me forever. So many years later and I am still mindful of what I eat as well as getting regular exercise. The experience has also made me mindful of those that do in fact have diabetes. It is frustrating to read about the recent rise of Type 2 diabetes diagnosis among Americans under the age of 20. I am even more upset when I read blogs by people blaming diabetics. I blame the rise on the lack of education in schools. Kids cannot be expected to understand this complex disease on their own. It is important for kids to receive proper health education in order to make the next steps toward a healthier lifestyle.