Alumni Spotlight: Amanda Ciprich
Amanda Ciprich, Rutgers University, May'16
Alumna Amanda Ciprich, Rutgers University, Nutritional Sciences, May 2016
When were you diagnosed? And what was it like?
During my senior year of high school, I started to get really bad headaches. I would come back from school and would go right to sleep because that was the only way I would have any sort of relief. By doing so, I messed up my night time sleep schedule and wasn’t able to sleep at night. I started to become physically exhausted and was slowly becoming mentally drained from not getting enough sleep. I tried to rationalize it because I was stressed with college applications, maintaining high grades, and working a part-time job.
Slowly things started to get worse. I was drinking an insane amount of water every day, but nothing seemed to quench my thirst. I even started missing time in class. I woke up one morning and finally had enough. I had barely got any sleep and needed a day to recuperate. I told my mom that I needed a needed day to just relax and destress.
She agreed to let me stay home as long as I went to the doctor’s office to get an excuse for my absence. I turned eighteen years old a few weeks before so it was my first time going to the doctor by myself. When I arrived at the doctor’s I was asked to step on the scale. My doctor’s face dropped when he realized I lost over twenty pounds since my physical six months prior. He was very concerned so he conducted a urinalysis which showed that I had ketones in my urine. Right then, he knew that I had symptoms for diabetes and told me I needed to go to the hospital right away.
When I arrived at the hospital, I was scared. When the nurse checked my blood sugar in the emergency room, the meter read “error”. My blood sugar was over 600 mg/dL. At the time I did not know what that meant, but I knew it wasn’t good. During my stay, I did not know what to expect. None of my family members or friends had diabetes. Over the course of three days, I learned to carbohydrate count, give myself injections, and test my blood sugar. Despite feeling overwhelmed with the new lifestyle I had to acquire, I felt at ease with the support from my friends and family.
Since that day, I have learned so much about myself and my body. I am under excellent control and everything is now second nature to me. Even though I was diagnosed as a young adult, I cannot remember what it was like not to have diabetes. This (lifelong) journey has given me passion to pursue a (lifelong) professional career as a Registered Dietitian. By 2017, I will be able to counsel individuals who are just like me!
Tell us about your undergraduate career:
Being diagnosed as a young adult was very difficult especially since my diagnosis occurred only a few months before I was supposed to graduate high school. I had already submitted my college applications and was waiting to hear back from the universities. Usually, this is a very exciting time for high school seniors, but for me it wasn’t. Since I was diagnosed so close to beginning college, I knew it was in my best interest to stay home and commute for the first two years. Within those two years, I was able to gain control of my blood glucose levels, drop my A1C, and transfer to a university that was close to home. Throughout my undergraduate career, I was constantly keeping myself busy between extracurricular activities and full-time class load.
I was working part-time at a local hospital creating meal plans for patients. I also, spent time volunteering with various organizations like Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and American Diabetes Association. Above all, I made sure that I exercised almost every day and spent valuable time with my family and friends. Life does not stop for anyone and neither does diabetes. I want to experience all that life has to offer and won’t let diabetes limit me in anyway.
Tell us about diabetes in college:
Living with diabetes in college was a complete balancing act. I was frustrated during exam weeks because no matter what I did, my blood sugars would always run EXTREMELY high. I had some difficulties studying for exams because I would not be able to concentrate and that would stress me out even more. Diabetes taught me good time management because if I ever crammed for exams my blood sugars would be out of control.
How did you get involved with CDN? And what was your chapter involvement?
I got involved with CDN my junior year at Rutgers University as a member. By my senior year, I was Vice-President and actively involved in updating the website, setting up meetings, and advocating throughout the community.
What have you been doing since graduating from undergrad?
Since graduation, I was accepted into a coordinated program to complete my dietetic internship and Master’s degree in dietetics. I will be completing this program through Sodexo Dietetic Internship’s and University of Rhode Island in 2017.
What are your aspirations for the future?
My aspirations for the future would be to become a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). I am SO passionate about diabetes and cannot wait to share my experience with others!
Leave us with some advice:
Diabetes does not define me—it explains me. It gives me strength and courage to do anything I put my mind to. It gives me motivation and optimism to better myself and to purse my goals. I will never stop trying to better myself or my health!
One quote that has always spoken to me:
“From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health.”