Back to Kids' Voices Melissa

Me, skiing
Me, skiing
Hi. My name is Melissa and I am 17 years old. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 9. When I think back I don't remember life before having diabetes and I always thought I was tremendously young when I was diagnosed. However, yesterday I was reading over this page and I read many stories about children being babies, 2, 3, and 4 years old. I can't imagine starting life at that young of an age having to take shots and having the worry of diabetes breathe down your neck.

Weeks before I was diagnosed I became very sick. My aunt, who is a nurse, began to pick up on some of the symptoms and commented that my mom might want to have me checked. I was excessivly thirsty and had to make many trips to the bathroom. I also lost a lot of weight and just felt "bad." I went to a friend's birthday party and I drank a whole pitcher of koolaid by myself and we knew something wasn't right. Then, the night before I was diagnosed I literally sat in the bathroom with a cup of ice in my hand. My mom wouldn't let me have anything more to drink because all I did was pee, so my last option was to suck on ice. That was when we really knew, we couldn't wait anymore.

The next day the nurse practitioner fit me in and the first thing they did was check my blood glucose level. She came back into the room and told us the doctor would be in shortly. I saw my mom's eyes well up with tears and I knew something was wrong. When the doctor came in he informed us that my blood sugar was 580 and that I had type 1 diabetes. Then the words that came out of his mouth next, I'll never forget. "You'll have to take insulin injections everyday for the rest of your life. I'm sorry." I didn't understand. I was only a kid. My Grandma has Type 2 diabetes and my mom had told me if I was diabetic it would be okay I would just have to take pills. So, I didn't get it, why would I have to take shots forever? Then he told us we had to go to the hospital immediately and be checked in. I was addmitted and was there for about a week before they sent us home.

I was really embarassed to go back to school. A lot of the kids made fun of me because "I was a freak" and " was weird." I hated it. The school tried to make me transfer because they didn't have a full time nurse there but my mom refused so they hired one. From the time I was diagnosed, I was taught to manage my disease on my own. I always checked my own blood sugar and gave my own injections. A few years later I started on the insulin pump, which was a temporary miracle. After a while however, I got tired of having to live with this thing attatched me all the time so I began back on injections. I go to the doctor next month to get put back on it though because my blood sugars are so out of control.

On May 9th it will be 8 years since I was diagnosed and I just wanted to tell my story in hopes that maybe I could help someone else. I have became very discouraged throughout this journey and many of times wanted to give up. When I was diagnosed I felt like someone turned the lights out to my world and left me alone. However you just have to believe somewhere there is a candle burning just for you. Fortunately I have found 3 candles in my life, God, my best friend, and her daughter. No matter how dark your world may seem or how alone you might feel, you're not alone. If anyone needs to talk or someone just to understand, my email address is mlssakay AT and I'd be glad to help. I've never let diabetes stop me from doing anything I loved. I had a heart for softball and I made the allstar team in our state and even made it to the world series. I have a 3.8 GPA in school and I can't wait to reach the rest of my dreams. Don't let diabetes discourage you, keep your head up and your dreams high. You can win.

Published April 25, 2005

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