The number of teens and young adults living with type 2 diabetes has increased in recent years. Managing diabetes at this age can come with different challenges than an adult may face. This week on the blog, we are featuring stories of people who have been there—and how they’re determined to live long, healthy lives while managing their diabetes.
Does type 2 diabetes affect a young person in your life? Check out the American Diabetes Association’s new “Be Healthy Today; Be Healthy for Life,” a resource developed especially for youth living with type 2 and their families.
Hi, my name is Micaela. I am 22 years old and have type 2 diabetes.
I was so shocked to find out I had diabetes—even though Latinos are at higher risk for it (my family is originally from Guatemala, and my grandmother has type 2). My lifestyle also wasn’t the best, as I hardly ever exercised and had gained a lot of weight.
Well, I was in for a huge surprise that would change my life forever! It happened in December 2010, exactly three months after my closest cousin, practically a sister to me, sadly passed away in a car accident. I became so depressed. I also started feeling very tired, and my taste buds were useless. A couple of days later, my vision got blurry! I honestly thought I needed glasses. Two days after that, I could barely stand on my own feet. I could hardly pick up my one-year-old up; I felt like I was going to pass out or faint.
So I visited my local clinic, and thank goodness they took me in as a walk-in! A medical assistant came in and tried to take my blood pressure, but she couldn’t get it. She hurried and called the doctor in, who also failed to get my blood pressure. They immediately called 911 for an ambulance!
I remember dozing off because I could hardly keep my eyes open! I was terrified; I didn’t know what was happening. I had a relative working at the clinic, so I asked her to call my husband and my mother, who was watching my toddler. Soon I was on my way to our local hospital, which was 30 minutes away. I remember talking to the EMT and he said by my symptoms I probably had diabetes. I said, “No way, that’s impossible!”
I was admitted, and all these nurses started coming. They pricked my finger to get a blood glucose reading, but didn’t tell me the results right away. I got up to use the restroom and I couldn’t even walk there without the help of a nurse. Then they admitted me to the ICU, and my husband got there, having left work early.
When they finally told me I have type 2 diabetes, I cried so much because I was devastated. My blood glucose reading was 1,200 mg/dl—and they said it was unbelievable that I wasn’t yet in a coma. But I pulled through it and adjusted to the new changes, including injecting myself with insulin. Still, it was hard to accept the fact that I have diabetes.
It has been two and a half years since I was diagnosed. I am proud to say I have since been taken off insulin, managing instead by watching what I eat it and exercise when I can. Now that I am on a diet plan and work out regularly, I plan to drop some serious weight. Weight loss comes slowly but I know one day I will be where I want to be.
At first I was not motivated or determined; I always felt like giving up. I would have breakdowns and question, “God, why me?” But I’ve accepted me and realized I am the only person who can change myself.
If I start feeling down, I just look at my daughter smiling and I’m over it. And if God grants it, I want to grow old with my husband. I want to live to see my little one grow up, see her go to school and the prom, and be there for her wedding. I can’t imagine life without her, without being here for our daughter!