Monday, December 04, 2006
Once upon a time...
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Allison. She was a getting ready for her senior year in high school, seemingly in love with a very cute boy, working at her first job, and living her life to its fullest. She had been tired and worn out for a few months, drinking gallons of water on a daily basis, and having more muscle cramps then she had ever had before. Allison was thinning like the hair on a middle aged man and her mother began to think her little girl was anorexic, even though she was packing her a lunch double the size of many of the kids at Allison's high school.
In June, Allison went to Hersey Park for the day, and instead of riding roller coasters like her little sister and dad, Allison sat on a bench, weak from what she thought had been an intense kickboxing class. She drank more that day then she ever had before and she had to pee the entire ride home to Northern VA.
The next week, Allison had to go to the doctor to get her allergy medication refilled. She told the run-of-the-mill doctor she had been thirsty, emotional, losing weight, and feeling exhausted. He told her it was probably in her head. Allison peed in a cup, just for good measure. She drove home with her mom, who fixed her a grilled cheese sandwich. Allison sat in front of the television, watching As the World Turns, enjoying her day off.
The phone rang and her mom answered. She told Allison that the doctor called.
600s. Hurry and get here for more tests. Emergency room. Stop eating. The words blurred together as her mom threw the clothes in the suitcase. Bring an overnight bag. Make arrangements for several days. Tests. Pokes. Insulin. Don't eat or drink. Call the boyfriend. Pick up the sister. Go to Walter Reed. Allison has diabetes.
Allison wondered as she sat there what would happen. Would her life change? Would she ever be like she was? Would she...die?
Allison recieved the best care, education, and support she could have gotten. She left the hospital with her syringes, newly formed calluses on her hands, more literature then she might have imagined, and an NPH and Regular insulin regimen. 3 weeks later she went to Humalog and Lantus.
Allison still is in love with that very cute boy, who stayed by her side through all sorts of diabetes ordeals. She still is living her life to its fullest, but now she is almost done with college, wears a purple insulin pump, and she carb counts. She's become an outspoken advocate for diabetes, educating people that the face of diabetes isn't always the face of your grandparent. She's told many a faculty that she isn't wearing an iPod on her hip all the time. She's apologized for the inconvenience of her medical device, but never for who she is.
Her life has changed. She never will be like she once was. But the experiences have shaped her into who she is today.