FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors diagnosed Ronda Keys
with type 2 diabetes when she was 19 years old and a student at the
University of Maryland.
Now 38 and living in Montgomery Village, Md., Keys had been
suffering the classic symptoms before her diagnosis -- fatigue,
extreme thirst, frequent urination. "That prompted me to just go to
the doctor," she recalled. "That's when I found out."
But the news wasn't completely out of left field. Her father was
diabetic, as were her grandmother and several aunts and uncles.
"There's a long line of it in my family," Keys said. "It wasn't really a surprise once I was told that I had it, but I guess I had never thought of myself as getting it, especially that young."
Nonetheless, Keys admits, she took the diagnosis with a small
amount of resentment. "I was a little taken aback," she said. "I
didn't do anything to go out and get this. I thought it was kind of
unfair. You're just told you have this, and oh, by the way, there's
Keys's doctor put her on oral medication and encouraged her to
exercise more and eat a healthy diet. But she was young and at
college and found it hard to reconcile her diabetes treatment with
"The issue for me was just being different from my friends," she said. "I didn't want to be the odd ball out. I just wanted to fit in with everyone else."
Those college years established a pattern for Keys. She would
half-heartedly pursue self-treatment for her diabetes, and then get
serious about it when she began to feel really sick. "I would try
for a while, and then I would fall off the wagon and stay off," she
Things continued that way until three years ago, when Keys was
hospitalized with a serious infection. Her body didn't respond to
treatment, which she was told was due to her diabetes.
"My blood sugar was fighting against the medicines the doctors were giving me," she said. "I was very, very sick. As a result, I had to go on insulin, which I had been fighting."
Keys was hospitalized for 14 days. The insulin helped save her
life, but she hated having to resort to it. "It just felt like
failure," she said. "Insulin equals failure. You didn't do what you
were supposed to do, and now you have to take insulin."
That feeling didn't last long, though.
"I found out it was the best thing that could have happened to me," Keys said. "I love to travel, and I'm very active, and I didn't feel well. I was getting sick. I was having trouble with my kidneys. After going on insulin, it was an immediate turnaround for me."
Since then, Keys also has become more serious about her exercise
and diet, getting to the gym three times a week and practicing
moderation when she eats.
"I'm doing a lot better than three years ago," she said. "I feel better. I'm able to do everything I want to do. I'm very active. Diabetes is not stopping me now."
A companion article offers more on the link between
childhood obesity and diabetes.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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