Living with Diabetes

Danielle, age 17, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was three years old. “I felt scared and did not know what to think. I was not aware of what it meant to be diabetic, but I had a feeling I was going to have it for a long time…” she said. Although she did not find it difficult to adjust because she was diagnosed at such an early age, Danielle’s lifestyle does interfere with her daily activities.

“I have to watch what I eat and make sure I am always putting some sort of exercise in my day, even if I do not want to. At school, if I am to take a test, I [have] to test my blood sugar to see if I am able to concentrate only on the test because if my sugar is too high I need to [take] insulin and wait [until] my sugar is back down to take the test. But if my sugar is low I need to go to the nurse and get a snack to bring my sugar back up to the right sugar, so I won’t be falling asleep while I am taking the test.”

Danielle is aware of the complications that can come from not managing her diabetes. “My mom passed away because she did not take care of her diabetes and went into a diabetic coma,” she said. Like her, her sister also suffered from diabetes. “My older sister had a pancreas and kidney transplant. She had kidney failure because of her high blood sugars and she was close to dying so she was put on a transplant list in Phoenix, Arizona. She also got a pancreas as well which is why she is no longer diabetic and is doing much better…”

Blood sugar monitoring is a vital part of treating diabetes and it can save a person’s life. Danielle herself has experienced complications due to unstable blood sugar levels. “I have gone into diabetic reactions [when] my blood sugar goes way too low and I am unconscious. I have gone into DKA [or] diabetic ketoacidosis [when] my blood sugars were way too high and we were not able to get them back down,” Danielle said.

In situations like these she stresses it is important to remain calm. “The thing to know is that you should not panic if your friend is right next to you and faints…find someone who knows what to do…look in their bag, see what sugar you can find… Sugar is the most important thing to get into the body if [glucose] is too low… whatever you do, don’t panic,” Danielle recommended.

She also encourages people who know someone with diabetes to help through positive support by accompanying them to the doctor or to tests. “[Help your] friends out if they need it, give them smart advice and encourage them along the way …” Most importantly, Danielle believes the best way to help a friend with diabetes is to be normal. “Treat them as you do everyone else. Don’t change just because you found out something new about them, unless they need your help.”

As a young girl with diabetes, Danielle says it’s important to be optimistic if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with the disease. “[Don’t] be down and depressed about it because, yes it puts stress on you, but I mean, you’re still living life, if you take care of yourself you will grow old and be able to see you kids, grandkids, and great grandkids grow.”

November 2010

Diabetes – The Silent Killer

Like many other Hispanic families, my family has its battle with diabetes. My mother was the first to be diagnosed. Her diabetes was set off by her first pregnancy. It later developed into a permanent condition. Afterward, my uncle and my maternal grandmother where diagnosed with diabetes. A few years ago my paternal grandmother was also diagnosed with the same condition. Having so many members of my family suffer from diabetes makes me a potential candidate to suffer from it as well. Unfortunately, there are many young people like me who are at risk.

In the year 2007, the Center of Disease Control and Prevention reported that approximately 24 million people in the U.S. had diabetes. Of this staggering number about 10% were Hispanic. That means that in 2007 about 2 million Hispanics in the U.S. suffered from diabetes. As a matter of fact, diabetes is mostly prevalent among Latinos.

What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a medical condition that causes levels of sugar, or glucose, to rise in the body. The problem starts at the pancreas, an organ under the stomach that makes the hormone insulin which helps regulate glucose levels in body cells. Insulin also helps the body turn glucose into energy. When the pancreas is unable to make enough insulin or the body cannot use the insulin, the insulin starts to accumulate in the blood resulting in diabetes. The reason this can be dangerous is because it could lead to health complications such as blindness, kidney failure and amputations.

Both genetics and the type of lifestyle a person leads can affect a person‘s probability of having this disease. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. When a person has type 1 diabetes, the body produces very little or no insulin at all. It is usually diagnosed in children and teens and is believed to be genetic. Type 2 diabetes is more common and has been linked to excess weight and inactivity. People who suffer from type 2 diabetes either do not produce enough insulin or their bodies reject the insulin they produce.

Spotting the Symptoms
The main symptoms of diabetes type 1 and 2 are frequent urination, increased thirst and increased hunger which are caused by the increased levels of glucose in the body. Other symptoms might include fatigue, blurred vision, wounds that don’t heal, skin infections, and numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.

“We ask that you learn to identify differences in your body. If all of a sudden you’re experiencing [symptoms] and you know it’s not normal then you should check yourself,” Ms. Krasey said, Marketing Coordinator at the Diabetes Association.

Treating the Disease
It’s important to diagnose and treat diabetes early. “Diabetes is called the silent killer. Usually what happens is that you fail to identify the symptoms and as time goes by there can be complications,” Ms. Krasey cautioned. The sugar accumulated in the body can cause damage to blood vessels. Kidneys are made up of tiny blood vessel clusters and can be damaged severely which can require a transplant if diabetes is not treated. High blood sugar levels affect the eye blood vessels which can eventually lead to blindness. Diabetes can also increase the risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Eating well and exercising regularly are essential to maintaining control of sugar levels and having a long life. Diabetes has no cure, so a person diagnosed with it who wishes to live a healthy life must commit to lifelong changes in their lifestyle. Blood sugar monitoring is a vital part of treating diabetes and it can save a person’s life. Changing glucose levels can be dangerous. Blood sugar monitoring is the only way to keep track of blood sugar levels which can change suddenly even with a strict diet. When a person’s blood sugar levels are at an extreme high or low, the person must seek immediate medical attention; seek an adult’s help or call 911.

For all type 1 and some type 2 diabetics insulin injections are essential to survive. However, oral insulin is also available for type 2 diabetics who are able to successfully control their insulin levels. There are many groups, such as the American Diabetes Association, that provide classes and support groups to help people learn how to treat diabetes and maintain a healthful lifestyle. If you think you might have diabetes, they can also provide low cost exams.

Living with Diabetes
Maria Teresa Cerqueira, Chief of the U.S.-Mexico Border Office for the World Health Organization stresses that the key to prevent diabetes is to maintain a healthy weight. “People should find a way to move, to keep active.” She recommends people exercise for about an hour a day, by either walking more or doing other activities they enjoy. Group activates are a good way of keeping active while having fun. “You don’t have to be a supermodel, just be healthy.” Ms. Cerqueira also mentioned that to keep a healthy weight, it is important to maintain a good self-esteem and drink plenty of water.

Although diabetes is a serious condition, Ms. Krasey also stressed that diabetes is not contagious. “Some kids hear diabetes and they get scared.” There is no way to contract this disease from other people.

November is diabetes awareness month. Let’s help raise awareness by wearing blue on Nov. 14. Eat well, be active and encourage others to do the same. It’s the only way to prevent and stop this disease.

November 2010

Indira Ortega

Age:18
Grade:Freshman in college

Tell us about a cause that you are passionate about. Why did you pick this issue for your service project?
Violence in Juarez. I chose it because I have friends that have been going through tough times because of the violence over there.

What is the community need or problem? Why is it important?
The need is to feel safe around each other because now you can’t even walk to the store without feeling unsafe. It’s important to come together because we can’t fight this alone.

Describe your community service project. What it is you do to help your community?
I came together with my family to have reunions in a park to talk about the different issues that are going on in Juarez and how we as teenagers can make a difference by changing our ways of looking at things.

What was your plan of action? What planning or preparation did you do to complete your project?
Since my friend was killed, I found out his brother got depressed, so I wanted to show him I was with him. So I gathered with my family and asked them for ideas to help the teens in the Juarez community. We thought about these gatherings and invited everyone.

Who benefited from your service project?
Several of my friends, neighbors of my family. Those who I’ve grown up with and also some of their friends.

What other volunteer projects do you participate in?
I just graduated from the Mayor’s Top 100 Teens and I want to get involved with community service opportunities in college.

What do you do for fun?
I love to hang out with my friends. Go dancing and get on the go-karts and also sometimes go partying. Right now, it’s been hard to have an extra-curricular activity, but I’m part of the Society of Women Engineers.

How can others get involved in this issue and help make a difference?
I was thinking about creating a blog in which people can share experiences and things like that. Just sharing and giving some type of advice can make a big difference.

November 2010

SB1070

We came here from Mexico
To look for Freedom

We crossed the border with
Scratches
And scrapes
Burns
And blisters

Everyone seemed nice
Everyone was friendly
Everything was fine

The govenor changed
The law
Now we’re like prisoners
Stuck in our homes
Scared to come out

We’re like turtles
Stuck in our shells

We work hard
We do it right
We don’t know
What we did wrong

By: Kimberly Garcia-Jordan

Living With Diabetes

Danielle, age 17, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was three years old. “I felt scared and did not know what to think. I was not aware of what it meant to be diabetic, but I had a feeling I was going to have it for a long time…” she said. Although she did not find it difficult to adjust because she was diagnosed at such an early age, Danielle’s lifestyle does interfere with her daily activities.

“I have to watch what I eat and make sure I am always putting some sort of exercise in my day, even if I do not want to. At school, if I am to take a test, I [have] to test my blood sugar to see if I am able to concentrate only on the test because if my sugar is too high I need to [take] insulin and wait [until] my sugar is back down to take the test. But if my sugar is low I need to go to the nurse and get a snack to bring my sugar back up to the right sugar, so I won’t be falling asleep while I am taking the test.”

Danielle is aware of the complications that can come from not managing her diabetes. “My mom passed away because she did not take care of her diabetes and went into a diabetic coma,” she said. Like her, her sister also suffered from diabetes. “My older sister had a pancreas and kidney transplant. She had kidney failure because of her high blood sugars and she was close to dying so she was put on a transplant list in Phoenix, Arizona. She also got a pancreas as well which is why she is no longer diabetic and is doing much better…”

Blood sugar monitoring is a vital part of treating diabetes and it can save a person’s life. Danielle herself has experienced complications due to unstable blood sugar levels. “I have gone into diabetic reactions [when] my blood sugar goes way too low and I am unconscious. I have gone into DKA [or] diabetic ketoacidosis [when] my blood sugars were way too high and we were not able to get them back down,” Danielle said.

In situations like these she stresses it is important to remain calm. “The thing to know is that you should not panic if your friend is right next to you and faints…find someone who knows what to do…look in their bag, see what sugar you can find… Sugar is the most important thing to get into the body if [glucose] is too low… whatever you do, don’t panic,” Danielle recommended.

She also encourages people who know someone with diabetes to help through positive support by accompanying them to the doctor or to tests. “[Help your] friends out if they need it, give them smart advice and encourage them along the way …” Most importantly, Danielle believes the best way to help a friend with diabetes is to be normal. “Treat them as you do everyone else. Don’t change just because you found out something new about them, unless they need your help.”

As a young girl with diabetes, Danielle says it’s important to be optimistic if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with the disease. “[Don’t] be down and depressed about it because, yes it puts stress on you, but I mean, you’re still living life, if you take care of yourself you will grow old and be able to see you kids, grandkids, and great grandkids grow.”

By Helen Rodriguez

I Am Beautiful Poem

I am beautiful because I’m a good friend.
I am beautiful because I know how to dance.
I am beautiful because I go to parties.
I am beautiful because I wear tight pants.
I am beautiful because I am a trustful friend.

Beauty describes many things.
I am beautiful because I have a heart that describes the kindness in me.
I am beautiful because I accept myself for who I am.
Not only because of eyes, lips or curvy hips.
Just me.
I am a cheerful person that loves everything.
I am beautiful and that’s what describes me.
I am beautiful because I am.

I’m beautiful from my head to my toes.
I’m beautiful because of my eyes.
I’m beautiful because I’m a good friend.
I’m beautiful because I’m a Latinita.
I’m beautiful because God made me that way.

Diabetes – The Silent Killer

Like many other Hispanic families, my family has its battle with diabetes. My mother was the first to be diagnosed. Her diabetes was set off by her first pregnancy. It later developed into a permanent condition. Afterward, my uncle and my maternal grandmother where diagnosed with diabetes. A few years ago my paternal grandmother was also diagnosed with the same condition. Having so many members of my family suffer from diabetes makes me a potential candidate to suffer from it as well. Unfortunately, there are many young people like me who are at risk.

In the year 2007, the Center of Disease Control and Prevention reported that approximately 24 million people in the U.S. had diabetes. Of this staggering number about 10% were Hispanic. That means that in 2007 about 2 million Hispanics in the U.S. suffered from diabetes. As a matter of fact, diabetes is mostly prevalent among Latinos.

<b>What is Diabetes?</b>
Diabetes is a medical condition that causes levels of sugar, or glucose, to rise in the body. The problem starts at the pancreas, an organ under the stomach that makes the hormone insulin which helps regulate glucose levels in body cells. Insulin also helps the body turn glucose into energy. When the pancreas is unable to make enough insulin or the body cannot use the insulin, the insulin starts to accumulate in the blood resulting in diabetes. The reason this can be dangerous is because it could lead to health complications such as blindness, kidney failure and amputations.

Both genetics and the type of lifestyle a person leads can affect a person‘s probability of having this disease. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. When a person has type 1 diabetes, the body produces very little or no insulin at all. It is usually diagnosed in children and teens and is believed to be genetic. Type 2 diabetes is more common and has been linked to excess weight and inactivity. People who suffer from type 2 diabetes either do not produce enough insulin or their bodies reject the insulin they produce.

<b>Spotting the Symptoms</b>
The main symptoms of diabetes type 1 and 2 are frequent urination, increased thirst and increased hunger which are caused by the increased levels of glucose in the body. Other symptoms might include fatigue, blurred vision, wounds that don’t heal, skin infections, and numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.

“We ask that you learn to identify differences in your body. If all of a sudden you’re experiencing [symptoms] and you know it’s not normal then you should check yourself,” Ms. Krasey said, Marketing Coordinator at the Diabetes Association.

<b>Treating the Disease</b>
It’s important to diagnose and treat diabetes early. “Diabetes is called the silent killer. Usually what happens is that you fail to identify the symptoms and as time goes by there can be complications,” Ms. Krasey cautioned. The sugar accumulated in the body can cause damage to blood vessels. Kidneys are made up of tiny blood vessel clusters and can be damaged severely which can require a transplant if diabetes is not treated. High blood sugar levels affect the eye blood vessels which can eventually lead to blindness. Diabetes can also increase the risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Eating well and exercising regularly are essential to maintaining control of sugar levels and having a long life. Diabetes has no cure, so a person diagnosed with it who wishes to live a healthy life must commit to lifelong changes in their lifestyle. Blood sugar monitoring is a vital part of treating diabetes and it can save a person’s life. Changing glucose levels can be dangerous. Blood sugar monitoring is the only way to keep track of blood sugar levels which can change suddenly even with a strict diet. When a person’s blood sugar levels are at an extreme high or low, the person must seek immediate medical attention; seek an adult’s help or call 911.

For all type 1 and some type 2 diabetics insulin injections are essential to survive. However, oral insulin is also available for type 2 diabetics who are able to successfully control their insulin levels. There are many groups, such as the American Diabetes Association, that provide classes and support groups to help people learn how to treat diabetes and maintain a healthful lifestyle. If you think you might have diabetes, they can also provide low cost exams.

<b>Living with Diabetes</b>
Maria Teresa Cerqueira, Chief of the U.S.-Mexico Border Office for the World Health Organization stresses that the key to prevent diabetes is to maintain a healthy weight. “People should find a way to move, to keep active.” She recommends people exercise for about an hour a day, by either walking more or doing other activities they enjoy. Group activates are a good way of keeping active while having fun. “You don’t have to be a supermodel, just be healthy.” Ms. Cerqueira also mentioned that to keep a healthy weight, it is important to maintain a good self-esteem and drink plenty of water.

Although diabetes is a serious condition, Ms. Krasey also stressed that diabetes is not contagious. “Some kids hear diabetes and they get scared.” There is no way to contract this disease from other people.

November is diabetes awareness month. Let’s help raise awareness by wearing blue on Nov. 14. Eat well, be active and encourage others to do the same. It’s the only way to prevent and stop this disease.

By Helen Rodriguez

Quiero Mis Quinces

While few girls are lucky enough to even have a quinceañera, even fewer are lucky enough to have their quince featured on a hit television show. Jazmine Gomez from Panorama City, CA was one of the chosen few to have her quince featured on Quiero Mis Quinces, a Tr3s: MTV Musica y Mas series that takes an inside look at over-the-top quinceañeras. This electro street dancing, graffiti-loving chica is unlike any other Quiero Mis Quinces has seen.

Jazmine, a junior in high school who loves to dance and play softball, was shocked when she found out that her sister had submitted her quinceañera to be featured on Quiero Mis Quinces. “I didn’t even know my sister contacted them,” Gomez said. “But when I found out I was excited. I wanted to show people that having a quinceañera in their backyard was not that different and that all you need is your family and love to have a great quince.”

Her Arabian themed quince, equipped with original decorations, a belly dance performed by Jazmine herself and surprise artist, Jen Carlos Canela, was everything Jazmine had dreamed for. But her dream-come-true quince didn’t seem like it was in arm’s reach. When her mother suffered from a blood clot a year after her older sister, Mila, had her quince, Jazmine didn’t expect to have one herself. But quinceañeras are an important tradition for her Salvadorian mother’s side of the family.

“My mom was very supportive and told me that you only turn 15 once. She said that, no matter what, she would help me have my quince,” Gomez said.

Jazmine, grateful to her family for their support, was thrown another curveball when she found out she would have to have her quince in her own backyard.

“In the beginning I was embarrassed to have it in my backyard because no one has it in the backyard. I wanted an elegant quinceañera but I realized we couldn’t afford one and that there were no halls that could be transformed into my Arabian theme,” Gomez said.

Jazmine eventually accepted having a backyard quince and even began to embrace the idea. Luckily, her uncle stepped in to help her transform her backyard into an exotic Arabian themed party.

“I ended up really liking it in the backyard because it was something unique. I was really grateful for just having a quinceañera and it turned out to be really nice. My uncle saved my quince by coming in with his company and offering to do all the decorations. I even got to have a surprise artist,” she said.

Quiero Mis Quinces, which is a similar to My Super Sweet Sixteen but with a Latina twist, sends cameras behind the scenes as teens prep for their coming-to-age celebrations. For Jazmine, having these cameras on her all the time was just part of the fun of planning her quince.

“It was a lot of fun and I felt like a movie star,” she said. “At first, it made me a little self conscious having cameras following me but I really don’t care what people say about me so I got used to it.”

From the second Jazmine made her grand appearance at her fiesta, she was shining and loving every moment of it. She got the party started by performing her solo belly dance for the crowd.

“As the spotlight hit my face, I was so nervous but this was my time to shine,” she said. “As I was belly dancing with the drummer, I felt like I was making the music with my own body.”

Traditionally a quinceañera marks a girl’s transition into becoming a young woman and taking the initiative to declare her faith and responsibility to it.

“It means that you are becoming a young adult and you will make smart choices. Your quince signifies purity and that you are now responsible for your own choices. It also means that you have support from your family and that you’re becoming a young adult,” Gomez said.

And for Jazmine, who has never been allowed to have a boyfriend before, it also means that she can now start dating.

She joked, “Hello America I’m officially ready to have a boyfriend,” and winked to the camera.

Jazmine brought together the old and the new to her quince, adding a new spice to the traditions of her Salvadorian and Columbian heritage.

“In our [Salvadorian] tradition we actually don’t get a white dress. The dresses are always very colorful. We also don’t do any of the shoe changing or the doll traditions like other cultures do,” she said.

Everyone knows, though, that behind every fabulous celebration, there are months of planning, stressful encounters with parents and, of course, lots of drama. Jazmine’s advice for girls who are about to have a quince is to enjoy themselves and be grateful for every moment.

“My advice is to just be grateful, not a lot of girls get to have a quince. When you don’t like something it’s ok to speak out about it but don’t be rude”, she said. “One thing that I regret is that I didn’t really take a lot of pictures with my family. I would have just enjoyed myself a little bit more if I could have done anything differently.”

Ask Jazmine about her favorite part of her big day and she won’t answer that it was having her surprise artist show up, or having the spotlight on her all night but rather that she had her family all together for once.

“I got to have all my great grandparents [from Salvador and Columbia] there and I really thank God for that,” she said. “I got to dance with my great grandpa who was 96 years old. That was really special for me.”

According to Jazmine, having a quince is only one way to show your heritage and tradition. Another simple tradition that Jazmine loves is going to her grandma’s house early in the morning to eat and gather with her family.

“My grandma will make Salvadorian food and we’ll all be there laughing and eating,” she said.

She thinks that it’s important for a person to keep their heritage alive and to share it with their friends.

“I have a lot of different friends from different cultures. It’s cool because I’ll get to go to their house and eat a lot of different types of foods and they all think differently and we can all keep our own cultures by sharing it with each other,” she said.

Jazmine’s future plans include going to college to become either a child psychologist or a veterinarian. No matter where she goes, though, she plans to stay true to her Latina roots.

“You never want to forget who you really are,” she said. “Whoever your parents are that’s your heritage and who you are.”

By Dejeanne Doublet

Our Family Wedding Movie Review

Almost every girl dreams of her wedding, about the white dress, the bridesmaids, the cake. It’s one of the most exciting events in a girl’s life. But what happens when a girl wants to marry outside of her culture and her family is adamant in sticking to traditions? Our Family Wedding, starring Forest Whitaker and America Ferrera, delves into the heart of this topic. Lucia (America Ferrera), a young Mexican-American woman, drops out of law school to marry Marcus, a young African-American man, to move to the country of Laos and work as a volunteer teacher. The only problem is her Mexican parents have no idea of her plans.

Cultural tradition is the major theme of Our Family Wedding. The title reflect this theme since it turns out not to be Lucia and Marcus’ wedding, but rather their families’ wedding as the parents keep making more and more decisions for them in an effort to keep cultural and personal beliefs alive. This strong desire to keep tradition is mostly evident in Lucia’s family who insists on having a Mexican wedding. So much that they bring a goat for a “birria, ” a typical Mexican barbeque where a goat is killed and roasted over a fire. The goat breaks loose, running amuck causing terrible damage to the wedding preparations.

The movie touches on various difficulties many bi-racial couples face. When Lucia introduces Marcus to her parents for the first time, they’re surprised to see he’s African-American. Their astonished faces, however, are nothing compared to Lucia’s grandmother’s reaction as she faints when she sees Marcus for the first time. Another important theme the film addresses is religion. Like almost every Mexican-American family, Lucia’s family is Catholic. However, Marcus’ family has not real religious affiliation., to which Lucia’s grandmother replies, “Es un pagano.” Lucia’s family insists on having a Catholic priest marry the couple and, finally she concedes.

Most importantly, however, the audience is able to see the struggle within Lucia to stay true to herself despite her parent’s expectations and feeling of responsibility to her culture as a Latina. America Ferrera’s performance is superb in this heartwarming comedy. As always she delivers a touching interpretation of a Latina “entre la espada y la pared.” One of the surprises in the film is that comedian Carlos Mencia takes on the role of Lucia’s father showing a different side to his usual unrefined, crude manner. He unexpectedly plays the part of a concerned and loving father well.

Our Family Wedding lets us see cultural barriers in a different light and eventually has the audience laughing at how unnecessarily serious tradition can be. It is a heartfelt romantic comedy which teaches us that honesty to family and oneself must prevail beyond any cultural ties.

By Helen Rodriguez

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