On February 15, 2011, I was diagnosed with diabetes. And I’m celebrating my Dia-versary by launching this website. In the past year, I’ve had some lows, some very lows, some bottom-has-fallen-outs, some ups, and some thank-God-I’m-ups. Diabetes has changed me forever. And, it’s complicated to say how exactly because diabetes is complicated and requires daily and often hourly maintenance.
In order to give you peek into my life over the past year, I’m posting excerpts from my blog. About a month after being diagnosed, I began blogging for the first time in my life.
MY FIRST ENTRY: March 26, 2011
I just got around to searching (or rather Google-ing) for information about being an African American who has been diagnosed with diabetes. The results were terrifying! It was a bunch of statistics on how many African Americans have it, die from it, or get limbs removed because of it. What I found is exactly why I haven’t searched for information in the past 5 weeks, since my diagnosis.
I am still wrestling with the words “I am diabetic” because it just doesn’t fit me. I’m young. I’m smart. I’m black. I’m a woman. I’m a daughter. I’m a member of a church. I am a professional. I am a lot of things, but am I really suppose to add, “I am a diabetic” to the list??
This blog is my outlet. To express my highs and lows about being recently diagnosed with diabetes and what I am learning along the way.
MY SECOND ENTRY: March 27, 2011
I haven’t told many people about my diagnosis because I can’t handle all their questions. Very few people have allowed me to say “I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes” and return that statement with “Is there anything that I can do?” or “Do you mind if I pray for you?” What I’m often met with is a laundry list of questions “WHAT? How can that be? When did you find out? What are they gonna do? What type are you? Do you have to take insulin? What happened? What are you gonna do now?”
I am sure my friends and family mean well and deep in my heart I want to be able to answer their seemingly never-ending list of questions, but I cannot. Because I’m still asking God “Why?” and all those “What?” questions from others is more than I can bear.
As I am moving from Why? to When? I’m able to see that Why? leads to a dead end. The questions are unproductive. When? allows me to push myself, encourage myself, and remind myself that if I do my part He’ll do His part. When? holds me as much accountable for my healing as it does God.
Why did you keep me in good health longer than some other people?
Why did you hold off this illness until I had the type of insurance that covers a large portion of these costly expenses?
Why did you give me the sense to go to the ER when the doctor told me it was useless?
Why when my body was on the brink of going into a coma did you keep just enough blood flowing in the right places long enough for me to get assistance?
Why did you allow me to find out at the onset of this chronic disease while there is yet still hope?
In short, why did you bless me?
Why are you still carrying me when I looked at those one set of footsteps and thought you had left me to walk alone?
I may not understand, but I thank You!
FIRST TIME I INJECTEDMYSELF IN PUBLIC: April 13, 2011
The worrying started about a week before my departure, but the anxiety kicked in when my first flight had “maintenance issues.” The 4-hour delay caused me to miss the connections and changed my location for the PM shot of Byetta. I had gotten comfortable with the idea of having to give myself a shot in the airplane’s cramp toilet-room. I would pray that God calm the air waves (like He calmed a raging sea) long enough for me to give myself a shot in a turbulence-free environment.
But, when “shot time” came, I was standing in line with 60 other people hoping to get a seat on a new flight. My options were 1) Get out of line, find a restroom or isolated area to give myself the shot and lose my place in line or 2) Give myself a shot right there in the line.
I chose option #2. I couldn’t risk missing my place in line, which could have meant missing the flight. I decided not to look around to see who was looking at me. I just prepared my things, checked my glucose, administered Byetta, put the things away when it was over, and continued to focus on the more pressing issue–securing a seat on the flight. This could have been an empowering moment, but I was in survival mode and that meant an absence of shame.
I LOST MY HOME IN A TORNADO 2 MONTHS AFTER BEING DIAGNOSED
Just as I began to
say “I am diabetic” with a matter-of-fact tone,
establish a routine,
learn how to count carbs,
Just as I began to
feel more like my old self,
listen to music and daydream
Just as I began NOT to
fear dying in my sleep from a diabetic attack,
cry more in a week than I laugh,
let this diagnosis take my spirit,
Just as all these changes were being made
I lose my home.
It had only been two months.
Exactly one day LESS than two months (if I get technical).
February 15th (Entered ER, diagnosed with diabetes, reside in the hospital for six days)
April 16th (Leave for work around 8:00am and return home at 4:30 to the shocking discovery that my home is barely there)
This is the kind of pain that a medical physician’s remedy can’t cure. There are no herbs or pills that can make me smile from my soul, dance from my core, and restore my joy.
GOODBYE INJECTIONS: August 21, 2011
On Thursday, I went to my specialist and got the news that I’ve been waiting all summer to hear…You no longer have to take Byetta. I’ve been working really hard (eating right, exercising, and taking my medication) so that by the end of summer my close relationship with Byetta would be over. My Endocrinologist, whom I was seeing for the first time since summer vacation, informed me that due to my 38-pound weight lost and good numbers that he was canceling my Byetta regiment. This news was awesome to hear. I could have shouted all the way out his office.
When I think about the ways the shot has impeded upon my life, I feel like a ton of weight has been lifted.
MED-FREE: December 25, 2011
Today I’m sharing my special news with the world. I’m now a Med-free diabetic.
I kept on going, kept praying, and kept meeting people. I soon learned that it might be possible for me to be a med-free diabetic. And that has been my goal.
Every time I stayed within my carb-count, ate one less french fry that I desired, walked 5 more minutes than I wanted to, refused to drink a glass of cranberry juice (my ultimate favorite juice), I was staying focused on my goal.
In just 9 months I MADE IT! I’m so super, duper, excited about this.
I understand that there might come a time when I won’t be able to say “This Christmas I’m med-free,” but I’m SO THANKFUL that I’m able to say it now!