Today I have decided to share a guest post with everybody. About a year ago, I received a message from my blog from a girl who was just recently diagnosed with diabetes in college. I asked her recently to write a guest post about her first year of college, and just like the title says, it’s not a normal first year. The reason why this story touches me is because I went through basically the same exact stuff my first year of college. Well, enough of me talking, here is Lauren Kaphengst – @LaurenKaphengst . Hope you all enjoy and feel free to leave her comments.
Definitely Not Your Normal First Year of College
My first semester at Grand Valley State University was much like that of any other college freshman. I had no shortage of friends with incredible people in my dorm and joining Sigma Kappa Sorority. However, by the end of Christmas break, I had lost a total of 30 pounds. My mother thought I was just walking more around campus and eating different food now that I was away from home. My friends, however, thought I was bulimic (they didn’t tell me until months later). I had all the usual symptoms we all now know about, but I just thought, hey I’m busy so of course I’m tired, thirsty, ect., you know, the usual.
February 4th, 2011, I had a routine checkup with the clinic on campus (that I almost cancelled because who really wants to walk 25 minutes in the frozen tundra that is West Michigan). Later that night was President’s Ball, so I just wanted to do my hair, put on my new dress, and party with thousands of other students from my university. The Physician’s Assistant who was seeing me, after some normal tests, told me my urinalysis was positive for glucose. Alone in the Campus Health clinic at the age of 19, I was told I might have diabetes. After a blood test and many tearful phone calls, I learned later that day my A1C was 13.7 and I was in fact diabetic. The PA gave me prescriptions for Metformin and a glucometer and sent me on my way.
I still went to President’s Ball that night. My frantic mother drove the 3 hours the next morning to come get me, and I convinced her that I did not need to go to the hospital, despite her persistence. I met with an endocrinologist three days later, on a Monday that I would have normally had Anatomy, Psychology, and Biochemistry lectures. She told me that I have Type 1 Diabetes and I was immediately put on insulin, and to throw away the useless pills from the PA. After more tears, especially during the first few shots and finger pokes, I was back at school as if nothing had ever happened.
When I was first diagnosed I thought diabetes was going to rule my life, and it did for a while. I didn’t go out, drink like many of my friends, or even exercise because it was just too hard. I put on a courageous mask, told my friends no, I am not bulimic, and tried to pretend I didn’t hate my life. Every finger poke was a challenge, my best friend would threaten to check my blood sugar for me when I reached the 5 minute mark and still hadn’t released the lancet. And the insulin pens and needles, I was definitely not their biggest fan. Eventually I came to a wonderful realization, I had an incredible group of people supporting me and slowly, I got through it.
This has been the craziest year of my life. I am now living in the sorority house, ready to start the nursing program in August, and I actually go out on the weekends. In my other life, my A1C is 7.0, I’ve been on the Medtronic insulin pump since July (which is incredible and everyone should get one!), and I have yet to be hospitalized. It is a difficult life to adapt to; the ‘so, why do you have a beeper?’ questions or watching people almost pass out when you start to check your blood sugar (really its only a drop, come on). Now, hiding my pump while wearing a dress on Saturday night, carb counting, and explaining my life to those who just don’t get it, are second nature.
I am a Sophomore Nursing Major at GVSU, a member of Sigma Kappa Sorority, Vice President of Fundraising for Rock Against Rape, Vice President of G.A.M.M.A. (Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol), and a Type 1 Diabetic. I know my life will never be “normal,” I will always have that last aspect that labels me, but now after one year, I’m okay with that.