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Living with Diabetes

As the first Miss America with type one, or "insulin dependent," diabetes, Nicole Johnson likes to say that success is based on perseverance, not perfection. Throughout the grueling pageant...except for the swimsuit competition...Johnson wore her portable insulin pump:

Johnson: "It looks like I'm wearing a little pager (laugh) but there's a tube attached to it."

Johnson, whose condition was diagnosed when she was 19, says women with diabetes should not feel guilty over the emotional swings often related to the disease:

Johnson: "Learn to realize that it's not you that is maybe being moody or over-emotional...but many times that's related to the glucose levels."

The crucial task of controlling blood sugar can be especially difficult for any young woman, but Johnson has thrived on challenges:

Johnson: "Diabetes, or any kind of chronic condition or medical challenge, is an opportunity for growth and strength building."

Johnson has logged over 250-thousand miles promoting diabetes awareness, prevention and early detection. Was it worth it?

Johnson: "From the moment that they called my name as Miss America 1999, something happened inside of me that automatically said, okay...it's all worth it...you are an okay individual despite your condition."

 For more information, click here.

Created: 7/31/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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