Growing up, I was always a chubby kid. My go-to foods were cookies, chips, Little Debbie cakes, and soul food. For the majority of my upbringing, my diet consisted of those foods. Eating unhealthy, as a small child, did not bother me much at all because I was quite active. I rode my bike often, played soccer with my brother and the neighborhood kids, climbed trees. Yeah, I was always moving my body.
My active lifestyle quickly changed once I began middle school. In the sixth grade, I began to menstruate (UGH!). With my hormones all over the place, and my cramps causing me to limp over in pain, the thought of playing outside had no space in my mind. My body changes, issues at home, and lack of emotional support caused my eating habits to spiral out of control. On top of the insane amounts of junk food, fast food became my best friend, specifically Taco Bell. I loved their crunch wrap supreme! That behavior carried on through middle school and throughout high school. Well, that was until I began to notice my body was not functioning the way it usually did.
It was the first semester of my senior year in high school. While doing my best to figure out what I was going to be doing with my life after I graduated, my body was slowly telling me I needed to seek a doctor. I was urinating more than usual, and I was sluggish. I had no get-up-and-go. I was still tired, even if I got more than eight hours of sleep. This feeling was a clear indicator that I needed to see a doctor because it was unlike me. After many days of thinking it through, I finally worked up the nerve to ask my mother if she could make me a doctor’s appointment.
The morning of the appointment came, and I was nervous. No, I was scared. I did not know what the doctor was going to tell me. On the way to the doctor’s office, my mind wandered. I was thinking:
“Am I dying?”
“Is stress the cause of this?”
“Hey, at least I get to miss school today.”
We arrived at the doctor’s office, and it was packed! My mother found a parking spot, and we walked into the building. Upon arrival, my mother, was given a clipboard with some documents that needed to filled out. We both thanked the receptionist and then searched the packed waiting room for seats. Luckily, there were two seats over by the window available. We sat down, and she began to work on the paperwork that was given to her by the receptionist. When the paperwork was complete, I walked it back to the receptionist. Back at my seat by the window, I began to tremble with worry.
After what seemed like an eternity, my name was finally called. I quickly got out of my seat and followed the nurse.
The nurse motioned for us to follow her into a room at the end of the hall. In that room, she checked my weight (yikes!), my blood pressure and asked me the typical questions you would hear in a doctor’s office. When she finished, she walked us into a small, colorful room to wait on the doctor.
About 30 minutes went by, and the doctor arrived. My first thought of her was that she was lively, fun, and eager to help me solve my problem. I don’t remember her name, but I know that it started with an “R.” Dr. R. asked what my going on with me. I explained my symptoms to the best of my abilities, and then she asked me a few questions. She asked about my diet. As much as I wanted to lie about the amount of junk I was eating, I knew I had to tell the whole truth to receive proper care. Dr. R. then asked me was I sexually active. I answered “no,” which was the truth. Dr. R. jotted down something on her clipboard, told me a nurse would be in to get a blood sample from me, and then proceeded to leave the room. Not even two minutes later, a nurse came in and informed me that I needed to pee in a cup.
“What?! I don’t even have to pee!”, I thought to myself.
I walked to the bathroom anyway. I had to sit on the toilet for a minute or two to get a flow going. Once finished, I placed my urine sample in the small metal door on the wall and went back to my room. The first thing I saw when I got back in there was a nurse, a band-aid, and a small contraption that looked as though it was going to cause me some pain. The nurse motioned for me to have a seat on the bed and to relax. The small contraption pricked two of my fingers (which was a little painful for me). The nurse took the tiny drops of blood, he smiled at me and then left the room (did I mention the nurse was a guy?).
It seemed like hours had passed before the doctor came back in with my results. By the look on her face, I could tell something was wrong. Dr. R. proceeded to inform me that it looked as though I might be diabetic. I did not know what to think. I was shocked. Was my life over? She also informed us that she wouldn’t say for sure until I got more blood work done. She set up an appointment at the outpatient center of the hospital. She told me sternly that I needed to change my eating and exercise habits, or I was going to be taking medication to control a disease that I could’ve easily prevented. I nodded, said thank you, and my mother and I left the doctor’s office.
On the way to receive more blood work, I couldn’t help but think that I had a health issue that I could’ve avoided. It was all my fault. I held my tears until I could not keep them any longer. As soon as we got out of the car and began walking inside the facility where I was to have more blood drawn, the tears just started to fall, and I could not stop them. I was alone. I had no one to comfort me during that time of need. I rushed to the bathroom so that no one could see me crying, closed myself inside of a stall, and cried my eyes out. I did that for about five minutes. I splashed my face with water and proceeded to the waiting room to wait for someone to call my name. It was not long at all before I got called back. I got more blood taken from me (did I ever mention I hate needles?). The lady who drew my blood informed me that my doctor should have my results within a week.
After a week, my results were in. I was not diabetic, but I was close to becoming one. Dr. R. urged me to eat healthier food options and exercise regularly. I assured her that I would do just that. I thanked her for helping me and left. I made a promise to myself that I would take better care of my body. After all, I only have one body.
My diabetes scare happened ten years ago, and I can honestly say I kept that promise. I am healthier than I’ve ever been, and it’s sad to say that it took a health scare to do it. I’ve noticed a tremendous change in not only my physical health but my emotional health as well. Incorporating healthier food options into my diet and exercising has improved my overall emotional well-being. Experiencing that health scare changed my life for the better.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood sugar is too high.
Most Common Types of Diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Gestational Diabetes
- “More than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it (https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/quick-facts.html.”
- “More than 88 million US adults—over a third—have prediabetes, and more than 80% of them don’t know they have it (https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/quick-facts.html.”
- “Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes; type 1 diabetes accounts for approximately 5-10% (https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/quick-facts.html.”
- “Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States (and may be underreported) (https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/quick-facts.html).
You Are At Risk For Diabetes If…:
- You are overweight
- Have a family history of diabetes
- You aren’t as physically active as they should be (a minimum of 3 times per week)
Symptoms to Look Out For:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent Urination
- Ketones in urine
Some Simple Ways To Take Control Over Your Health:
- Exercise regularly
- Consume more healthy foods
- Have regular doctor’s visits
- Stress less
Please listen to me when I say this:
IF YOU FEEL AS THOUGH SOMETHING MAY BE WRONG WITH YOU, GO TO THE DOCTOR!! You and only you know what’s normal and what’s not normal for your body.