Zippora Karaz should have been thrilled. The 21-year old ballerina, who had spent three years at the New York City Ballet was about to take the stage in Les Petits Riens in a special role. Karz was exhausted all the time, had a high level of thirst, frequent urination and developed ugly, raw sores under her arms. Karz would find out that she was suffering from Type 1 or juvenile diabetes.

Karz was passionate about dancing and was determined to continue her passion despite her illness. Karz didn’t have much time to take insulin or measure her sugar between performances at night and rehearsals.

Karz was incorrectly told that she had Type 2 Diabetes. This can be reversed by diet and exercise. Karz continued to dance while taking insulin. She became dangerously ill, dropping to 95 pounds at five feet six inches. She also battled stiffening and constant infections.

“I looked terrible and felt just as bad, but I was deluded enough, and determined enough, to decide never to go back on insulin, and I came up with any excuse I could think of except uncontrolled blood sugar for my worsening condition.” writes Karz in her book, “The Sugarless Plum: A Ballerina’s Triumph Over Diabetes,”(Harlequin; November 1, 2009, $22.95 US/$25.95 Canada; Hardcover

Karz was able to manage her diabetes and her career as an aspiring ballerina. Karz is now a dance teacher, a diabetes educator, and a spokesperson for the disease. “Never let anyone tell you that diabetes will stop you from doing what you love, but don’t — as I did — put your health at risk for the sake of achieving success,”She warns.

Karz has the following tips for diabetics as well as anyone suffering from a chronic condition.

* Find your passion. It doesn’t matter what your passion is, it will motivate you to be healthy.

* Take care of your body. Eat right — Karz emphasizes organic foods; get enough sleep.

* Find doctors you trust. Talking to your doctor should be easy. Good doctors will share any new developments and explain the best treatment protocols.

“I hope by telling my story that I have been able to encourage others to take responsibility for their health so that they can make good decisions about how to take care of themselves and live full, passionate, lives, even with serious conditions,” says Karz.

You can read Karz’s story in detail and get more tips by reading the book “The Sugarless Plum: A Ballerina’s Triumph Over Diabetes.”

The pace of life today is rapid. The rise of digital technology has allowed people to communicate with each other via the internet and simultaneously check their children’s soccer scores. With the advent of the Internet, consumers can expect the same conveniences from all services and businesses except their insurance companies. Although 98 per cent of insurance claims are processed within 30 working days, it can be frustrating for those who have difficulty paying their medical bills.

It is no longer enough to be insured, as nearly two-thirds of American households have less income than 2002. It is important to find out how fast and easy your insurance company processes and pays claims. This is important for both financial and medical recovery.

Recent research found that 66% would not be able to adjust to the high financial cost of serious illnesses or injuries. Only 49% have enough money to cover out-of pocket expenses. Employers are being forced to reduce costs as rising health care costs put even more financial pressure on their employees.

* Increasing employees’ health care insurance copayments.

* Increasing employees’ share of premium.

* Implementing high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts.

A lot of people will have to wait for up to a few months before receiving their insurance payments. Many insurance companies are able to provide customers with fast service thanks to modern technology and better understanding of their needs. This is just one example. AflacIn the insurance industry, it is rare to find policies that allow for claims approval, processing, and payment within one day.

In the past, fast payment policies were a luxury. It is a necessity in today’s world. It’s vital to have funds readily available for serious illness or injury. You should ensure that your insurance company can move at your pace.

Aflac’s One Day Pay Promise can be found at