yaaMy friends call me Yaa. 25 years of age and I have been living with diabetes for 11 years. I was diagnosed as having diabetes when I was 14years.

It all started when I realized that I was passing lots of urine daily especially at night, would wake up extremely hungry, and was losing so much weight .I Was then in a boarding school (senior secondary school) so one day, I decided to go home and tell my parents about what I was going through. My mother is a nurse so I thought this would be the easiest step to take to solve my problems. When I got home my mother decided that I should have an early scheduled medical checkup due to the symptoms I had told her about. After the routine tests, the doctor said to my mother in my presence “your daughter Yaa has diabetes”. I knew nothing about diabetes then, so all I remember is seeing the shocked and devastated look on my mother’s face. Then she uttered these words “We don’t have diabetes in our family”. I on the other hand knew nothing about what I was going to deal with for the rest of my life.

yaa1My parents are very helpful; mother being a nurse understood and did her best to educate me on the condition. As a teenager, I had difficulty understanding and accepting due to that I was advised to be withdrawn from the boarding house temporally. I would take soft drinks (soda, fizzy sugary drinks), eat chocolate with friends against doctors’ advice because I found it difficult accepting .This unfortunately always would result in me being admitted to the hospital on account of high blood glucose and I will miss classes in school. When I thought I was starting to get hold of things, finally accepting and allowed back into the boarding house, I had friends avoiding me because they heard I had diabetes and thought it was contagious. Teachers would also avoid me and would literally run away when they saw me injecting my insulin at school. Those were the bad times, but then I say to myself now, those were obviously not my true friends. There are a few who stuck by me and till now remain my true friends.

I am privileged to have had a great Headmaster at my school who would sit down and have chats with me and encouraging me not to be disheartened despite the challenges that I was going through. I must admit he is one of the reasons I chose to study really hard and enter the nursing profession.

I have been a qualified nurse for more than a year now and working with so much happiness. I have also joined the Diabetes Youth Care support group and I must say I enjoy the privilege of having a 2 fold membership as a client and also as a health professional. I love this group as I meet other young ones who live with diabetes, we are able to discuss and share all our problems without fear of being judged. We spend time with medical professionals who answer all our nagging questions and have patience for us.

There are amazing people in the world who may be limited by various conditions they may be going through either physical chronic illness or other, but limitations are meant to be overcome and I am living proof of this daily.

I am looking forward to working with young people living with diabetes professionally by becoming a Diabetes Nurse Educator raising awareness and supporting young ones living with chronic diseases in Ghana.

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