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I was just 18 when I had to ration my insulin for the first time. I’d recently moved away from home to attend college, and my Medicaid insurance plan suddenly refused to cover me. Unable to afford the exorbitant sticker price for my insulin, I did my best to make one vial last as long as four. I added extra hours in between doses and scrutinized every single calorie I consumed, avoiding caffeine, fruit, and the Hispanic seasonings I grew up with — anything that could cause a spike in my blood sugar.
I was simultaneously exhausted and terrified of what might happen to me. A few years earlier, after my doctors failed to detect my body’s growing insulin resistance, I’d been rushed to the hospital with diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when your body doesn’t have enough insulin and acid begins to build up in your blood.
The above excerpt was originally published in The Pennsylvania Independent.
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