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Growing Up with Diabetes

            The most difficult challenge I have ever faced is growing up with diabetes. I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was only thirteen months old, so growing up dealing diabetes is all I have ever known. This is difficult for me because I cannot eat what or how I want, I have to plan my schedule around it, and I cannot really do anything in extreme conditions.
             Above all the challenges I have faced while dealing with diabetes, the most challenging is not being able to eat what or how I want. As a young child growing up, I would see everyone around me eating and enjoying foods that I knew that I could not or should not eat; it made me feel a little left out. My parents did their best to make sure that I had all of the sugar free foods, drinks, and snacks that were available. The aspartame (sugar substitute) used in sugar free foods has a different taste than regular sugar. This is why I believe that regular food tastes better. The holidays are definitely the most difficult times that seem to be the hardest for me to do right, because that is when everyone is cooking starchy foods and baking sweets. Some of my favorite holiday foods to eat are dressing, fried chicken, sweet potatoes, shepherd pie, field peas, butter beans, pound cake, pecan pie, sweet potato pie, and many other foods that are cooked during the holidays. Because these foods are very starchy or sweetened with real sugar, it is a challenge to adapt during the holidays.
             In addition to things that make dealing with diabetes difficult, planning my schedule around it and having to get medicine at the same times every day no matter what I'm doing is very hard. For a long time I had to wake up early every morning to take my medicine and eat, no matter if it was the weekend or we were out of school on break. I never had the chance to sleep in until age 12, when I started using an insulin pump. I constantly have to keep a check on my blood sugar to make sure I do not drop too low or get too high.

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