Teen with Diabetes Shares Experience Growing Up with Disease

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MERCEDES – Living with diabetes can present its daily challenges, especially among the youth.

A Mercedes high schooler says she’s a student just like any other; hoping to make good grades and eventually go to college.

She says while diabetes poses some challenges, it won’t stop her from achieving her dream.

Emma Rodriguez says she remembers when she was diagnosed.

“I guess I was kind of sad about it. I really didn’t understand what it was and what I have to do,” she said.

Rodriguez was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 4 years old. She says during this time, her mother has been her biggest supporter.

“She helps me with my questions and all that,” said Rodriguez.

Right now, she says her life is all about planning ahead whether it’s for class or diabetes.

“I just had to be more careful about what I ate cause my blood sugar would drop or go up, depending on what I ate,” she explained.

According to the American Diabetes Association, about .24 percent of people under the age of 20 are diagnosed with diabetes. That’s about one in 400.

Rodriguez says school can present its own challenges aside from trying to make good grades.

“(When I have) low blood sugar in the middle of class, my phone will give an alert and it will be kind of loud, so it will kind of disrupt the class a little and I’ll just have to get a juice from my bag and drink it,” Rodriguez explained.

Another challenge Rodriguez says she faces is explaining to fellow students what diabetes is.

“A lot of people ask me ‘Can you have a cupcake?’ Yeah, I can eat a cupcake but my blood sugar has to be within a certain range,” she said.

Not all students are out of the loop. Rodriguez says her friends are always looking out for her.

“They even carry some stuff with them, like some cranberries or something. Some candies if I don’t have any in my backpack, they will give me some,” she said.

Rodriguez says, for now, she’s not going to let the disease stop her from being the student she wants to be.

She says her advice for other students with diabetes is to make sure they have enough insulin to last the day and not let the disease prevent you from having a regular life.


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