Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's Christmas Morning

Merry Christmas:

I've waited until today to share my special news with the world.  I'm now a Med-free diabetic.

I remember writing my first entry and at the end of it I said something like, I want to be diabetic-free.  Well, one person decided that they would be the bearer of bad news and inform me that there is no cure.  I remember reading those words and thinking that it was like pulling hope from underneath my feet.

But alas, 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!

You, yes you who read and post to my blog, have been a big help in me getting here.  So, from the bottom on my heart, I want to wish you a blessed Christmas.

Feb 2011--Diagnosed (A1C 12)

Dec 2011--Med-free (A1C 5.5)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I actually won a something!

So, I'm sure we all have participated in a sweepstake at some point or another.  Every time I leave certain stores, there's a chance to win something, if I call the number at the bottom of my receipt.  I never do.  I always tell the cashier (who explained how the contest works), "I never win."

So, imagine my surprise when I found out that I was a winner in the Diabetic Living Reader Sweepstakes.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's Diabetes Awareness Month-Encourage Each Other

We're officially inside Diabetes Awareness Month.  It's so important that you spread the word about the disease, prevention, and to hug, support, and encourage Diabetics.

I just want to encourage those who are fatigued, out of whack, have lost their way, and/or have decided to ignore the negative effects of diabetes to GET BACK ON THE GRIND this month.

It's a big challenge dealing with diabetes.  It's overwhelming.  It's time consuming.  It's exhausting.  It's an hourly (not yearly) demand on our lives.  

So for this month commit to:
checking your glucose regularly,
watching your carbs (not watch them go in your mouth) limit them,
walk more,
and get proper sleep.

Let's Look Fabulous on Fridays (Dress in Blue for Diabetes Awareness).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My First Diabetes Walk

Today I participated in my first diabetes walk.  It was an awesome experience.  My energy level was high the entire time.   I trained, but I did more thinking about training than training most days because the change in exercise as a diabetic is a drag.  I use to just roll out of bed and go straight to the gym, but now I have to check my glucose, eat if the number is too low (even when I don't want to eat), check the glucose again when I'm finished, and many times I have to check once more within an hour.

But, I did it and I look forward to maintaining and improving the daily exercise I do and another walk in the near future.  See the video


Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Mind is the Most Important Muscle

I haven't been paying attention to my mind.  I've been studying the way a diabetic should eat, monitor their glucose, exercise, get various health checkups, but I have not given my thoughts much thought.

I've been too busy rebuilding my home, restoring my health, that I didn't take the time out to restore my mind.  I remember vividly, a day in January when I looked in the mirror at myself.  I didn't look at my hair, or pass myself, I mean I looked at all of me--and I loved her.  I loved the imagine that was reflected in the mirror and the smile that I gave myself back.  I took a moment to realize that I was in my dream job, had the loving husband I'd prayed for, a nice home, a getting-in-shape body, and love ones who cared deeply for me.  Heck, I was blessed.  And, it felt so good to honor that.  To see that there was a day after the storm of low self-esteem, after writing the dissertation, after longing for a husband, after doubting myself.  In short, I made time to be happy.

Even though, I was over 200lbs-I was happy that I was in the gym five days a week, even though I was feeling lost learning how to be a professor at a new university-I was happy to have my job, even though I didn't own a home-I was happy to have a nice apartment, even though I didn't have sofa-I was happy to have the very used loveseat, even though I didn't have more than 400.00 in savings-I was happy that I could make it from one payday to the next.  Even in the midst of those things, I was happy because I realized I was blessed.

Yes, I remember that day vividly.

And then. Over the next three months, the "and thens" happened.  Then, my vision went blurry.  Then, I ended up in between the sickbed and the deathbed. Then, I was learning how to give myself shots twice a day. Then, I'm crying more than I'm laughing.  Then, the 400.00 I had in savings was spent on medication and doctors' visits.  Then, I was back in credit card debt because I had more medical expenses than money.  Then, I came home to discover, I no longer had a home.  Then, the bra I had on was the only one that I owned.  Then, all my clothes could fit into one bag and I was getting them washed for free at Tide Loads of Hope. Then, I was living in a hotel for three weeks. Then, my mom and grandma carried me because I was so torn that I couldn't even dream of being the person I was just a few months ago.

I took a big drop.  I fell from a mountain and the only thing I could do is allow the Lord to be my rock and shelter me.  People said that I was blessed and I couldn't see how.

Since then, I have been working to restore and rebuild physically, but my emotional health has been neglected. So, for the past few weeks (during the time between my last entry and this one), I've been paying my state of mind more attention.  I realize more and more each day that I'm going to have to exercise my mind to produce good thoughts because it is the most important muscle.  For as a man thinks, so is he.

So this morning, I'm asking myself a few questions... How can I not be happy when I think about the fact that I wasn't there when the tornado destroyed my home?  How can I not be happy when I think about the phone call I made to my mom at the doctor's office when she said to go to the Emergency Room because you need more help than that doctor is giving you?  How can I not be happy when I have friends who gathered together to give me assistance in the midst of my crisis? How can I not be happy when I think about the five visitors that came to spend time with me during the six days I was in the hospital-sure five visitors ain't twenty, but it sure beats zero? How can I not be happy that I had health insurance when I got sick, because I didn't have it just two months prior?  How can I not be happy that I'm here, that I'm still standing, that I'm battered and bruised, but here?  How can I not look at my limbs and be happy that I still yet have them because some diabetics don't?  How can I not be happy when I think about the fact that I haven't missed a meal even when I didn't have a kitchen?

And the biggest question I'm asking myself today is, how can I not go look in the mirror and see that I'm blessed? How can I not look at myself in the mirror, as the new woman than I am, and love her the same way I loved her back in January before all of these things?  How can I not love her even more because she has weathered some crazy circumstances and yet she is still standing?  How can I not give honor where honor  is do-God has me here for a reason?  How can I not realize that when I look to the hills where ALL my help comes from and realize that once I see how blessed I am, then I am already in a place of happiness!

I'm off to do that right now... (how about you?)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Feeling Dainty with my Fashion-Forward Medical Alert Bracelet

I searched for a long time before I found the perfect medical alert bracelet.

Some people don't wear them and physicians don't mandate that we where them, so the decision is really up to each individual.  I chose to wear one because I figure, you never know when it can come in handy.  I could be at the gym one day and suffer from low blood sugar before I realize it, but if I'm wearing a bracelet someone can help me--and I feel better knowing that.

The first one I bought was a unisex black bracelet.  I thought I would like it, but it drew too much attention, was a little too masculine, and it didn't mesh well with my attire.  So, I went back to the internet searching and I came across Beadin' Beagle's website.  It didn't take me long to know that this was the right store for me.  I purchased an elegant "Tri-Color Swarovski Pearl Medical Identification Bracelet" with claps on both ends.

I am EXTREMELY happy with my purchase! This is the perfect feminine, everyday medical alert bracelet.  I admit that the price is a bit pricey, but the feeling that I have when I look at my bracelet makes it worth it.  I'm not embarrassed to wear it in the classroom, at church, or formal gatherings.  I turn the "Diabetic" ID inward, so that it isn't immediately noticeable to others.

As a new diabetic, I find that a medical alert bracelet also reminds me of my condition.  It's not as easy to ignore diabetes when I'm wearing my bracelet (that doesn't mean that it never happens, it just happens less). Additionally, it's like a permission slip.  It gives me the permission to let others know that I have a special condition.  When it's time to eat, I'm not just an average person wanting to eat, I'm a diabetic on a schedule who has a vital organ (pancreas) gone haywire.  See, my bracelet says so. :-)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Byetta

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.  Life with the injection was something like this:
I was nauseous most of the time,
It cut my appetite in half (which was a good thing since I lacked portion control),
I would frequently find myself at dinner unable to eat when everyone else is eating because I had to wait at least 15 minutes before eating after giving myself the shot,
I had to take a cool pack on the airplane to ensure that my Byetta stayed cool until the first usage,
I experimented with at least three different needle sizes, brands, and lengths before finding the "perfect" one for me,
I had to disclose my illness to people or at times that I didn't want to because they would see the needles in my bag or see me administering the shot.

When I think about all the tears I've shed around issues of having to give myself a shot twice a day or how the psychological pain begins long before and lingers long after the pain of the needle has pierced my skin or how complicated my life has been because I had to give myself a shot twice a day and make sure the timing was accurate or risk a diabetic attack.  (And my earlier entry on diabetic attacks explains just how much I hate those).

This picture represents my OLD life and I'm praying that it remains that way.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Will you offer me your legs this easily in 30 years?

My first summer as a diabetic taught me a lot about the pressure other people put on diabetics to eat incorrectly.  I found myself at more than a few occasions where people offered me food or portions that are outside of my diet AND THEY WERE INSISTENT.

Perhaps, the most common people were diabetics themselves (who eat horribly) or close relatives of diabetics (who watch their diabetic relatives eat horribly).

"Taste a little bit of this cake." "My mom has diabetes and she eats like this all the time." "Eat some more of that." "Girl, God will take care of you, you better eat all you can." "Them doctors don't know what they talking about half the time no way." "You should eat all your food."  "Is that all you're going to eat?"  "Come on, you have to have some of this dessert, I made it."  "You can eat whatever you want, diabetes ain't affecting you yet."  "It's okay to eat this today, just don't eat it everyday"  "It's okay, I got a diabetes too and I'm eating it"

Sure, as a diabetic, no food is off limits.  If I want ice cream-I can eat it.  If I want sweet potato pie-I can eat it.  But what I can't do is eat a plate of chicken, macaroni & cheese, rice and peas, yams, corn, and 2 slices of cake washed down with sweet tea all in one sitting.  And, my decision to eat only 3 carb choices at once (which means I have to make a decision between the mac&cheese, the rice, the corn, the cake, and sweet tea) seems to rub other people the wrong way.

I'm reminded of house parties.  I use to walk around with a cup of Sprite soda in my hand sipping on it like it was alcohol just to avoid people constantly saying "You're not gonna drink?" or "Have a little" or "Just taste it." 

I'm also reminded of the hostility I've gotten from some people when I say, "I don't eat pork."  Rather than accept the fact that I'm perfectly fine with them eating pork they want to convince me that it's okay to eat pork.  Once, at a dinner, my decision to not explain why I no longer eat pork was the center of discussion for about 20 minutes.  I refused to explain why I stopped eating pork and one dinner guest refused to give up on asking until it was certain that I would not budge. 

So, I've learned that when you don't drink alcohol in a setting where people drink-they pressure you to drink.  When you don't eat pork around people who are eat swine-they pressure you. And now I know that when you're diabetic and you refuse to eat too many carbs-people pressure you.

I never lose sight of the fact that my pancreas is out of whack and what I eat today determines if I'll have working kidneys, eyes, heart, and legs in 30 years.  I wonder if those same people who are pressuring me to eat improperly now will offer me their organs or limbs as easily if I needed them in 30 years?  Would they so easily say in 50 years, "I'm partly responsible for you being this sick in your old age and I want to offer you one of my kidneys."  If the sugar they offer me today ends up being the cause of fading eyesight, will they be my guide?  Will they be just as angry at the amount of medication I have to take to stay alive as they are when I deny their large glasses of sweet tea, soda, or kool-aid?

Living with diabetes means that I never forget that I am what I eat...and I choose to eat healthy. 

Friday, July 22, 2011


So, the planking thing is really taking off.  And, it's spun a host of other -ing things to follow like...
toothpicking, coning, leisure-diving, owling, and more.

So...why not have "Glucoming" for diabetics!

Take pics of your glucometer is strange, weird, average, not so average places and post to the Facebook Group I started today.

I can't wait to see what happens.

Here are a sample of my pics with Audrey2 (the name of my glucometer.  He wants blood and I've got more than enough. LOL  (btw, you'll only get it if you've seen the film Little Shop of Horrors)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Food, Fingers, and More

 I met my husband in a restaurant 5 years ago and my best friend 14 years ago over a plate of spaghetti.  So, food has brought me comfort on a variety of levels.

My favorite kinds of food are the kind that allow you use your fingers.  I've never eaten fufu, but when I think about visiting Ghana or a Ghanaian restaurant, I imagine how the fufu will feel in my hands. 

Mexican tacos, cornbread and collard greens, Naan bread and masala, fried green plantains, Ethiopian injera bread, homemade biscuits being sopped up with cane syrup--all require you to drop your man-made forks and use the ones God gave you. AND, I LOVE IT!  Any food that will allow the seasoning of freshly cleaned hands to touch it-is my kind of food.  If I loved sweets (which I don't), I would deeply enjoy the bottom of the cake plate.  When you get to scoop up all the crumbs that were left behind by the slices.  Umm, fingers and food are the best. (It's probably not the kind of thing a budding member of the black middle-class should say, but hey-I'll probably never get invited to a Boule or Links affair anyway.  Plus, I'm sure I'm not the only person who wishes they could pick up the chicken leg at formal gatherings rather than leaving behind perfectly good meat because the knife and fork can't get it like your fingers will.  What can I say...I like to connect with my food.)

But being a lover of food (even the kind that require the distance of knife-and-fork) caught up with me five years ago when I reached my personal MAX.  I was a sneeze under 250lbs (and probably was 250lbs if I had weight myself more often).  Something about seeing 240+ lbs on a scale when I don't have any children (at least I could blame the weight on them) woke me up.

I remember clearly buying a new pair of jeans that were a size 20 and saying to myself "This is the last 20, I'm buying without being someone's mother."  And, I meant it--I wore those jeans to death!  By the time I was done with them, the jeans had a hole in the middle from the fight my thighs had with each other with every step.  My mom likes to joke that when people's thighs rub together they're saying "You hit me? I'll hit you back!"

I saw a nutritionist.  We went over my diet (which consisted of too many fried foods, not enough fiber, and cereal that had little nutritional value).  The consultation was oddly entertaining at one point because the nutritionist-in-training  was telling me to eat egg whites, baked chicken breasts, raisin bran or other cereal with at least 5% fiber, and portions so small that I knew she had to be joking.  So, I proceeded to say, "umm, nope, I can't do that.  I have a freezer full of chicken thighs and two new boxes of Frosted Flakes and Apple Jacks."

This totally annoyed her supervisor, so she jumped in and said "Look, we're here to help you. You either want the advice or you don't."  I must have been so determined to lose weight that I didn't even respond to her attitude, only her words.  So, I politely responded, "I not only want help, but I need it.  The advice you're offering right now isn't helping.  I can sit here and tell you 'Oh yes, I'm only going to cook chicken breasts' or I can tell you the truth-I'm gonna eat those thighs in the freezer before I go out and buy more chicken, I'm not going to throw away my Frosted Flakes and Apple Jacks, and I hate egg whites.  Once you know this information, then and only then can you begin to offer me some real assistance."

The nutritionist-in-training broke the silent that followed my remark.  She suggested that I bake the thighs and when they run out-buy breasts, mix a whole egg with an egg white, find a cereal with at least 5% fiber and eat half with half Apple Jacks. Now, things were making sense--That was advice that I could run with.

I got my cholesterol checked a few months later-it was 238 (elevated) and so was my weight.  My new mantra was-I need BOTH to be under 200. I've been on the SLOW road to losing weight since I bought those jeans and it's not been easy.  I have friends who have tried ever diet under the sun and the gains (loses rather) they experienced made me want to try them too.  But I never did.  I knew that when I came down, I wanted to STAY down and that was only going to happen when I changed my relationship with food.  I learned to eat Kashi Heart to Heat, tofu, ample vegetables, egg beaters (with one real egg because I still don't like pure egg whites), baked chicken breasts, more fruit, and drink plenty of water.  Before long, I couldn't count the last time I drank Kool-Aid or Sweet Tea or ate something fried and smothered.  In 4 years, I had lost 40lbs and it felt great.  Sure, it's only 10lbs a year, but they were 10lbs GONE!  No quick fixes. Then the dissertation came and I gained 10lbs, but I made a decision to put graduation above my weight.

So, I came into the new year ready to continue my mission-get below 200lbs.  Unfortunately, a month into my progress Diabetes came and now I'm having to completely changed my relationship with food again.  Unlike some diabetics I've heard who say "I'm not changing what I eat," I can't be that way.  Perhaps because I found out I was diabetic while on the brink of going into a coma, I know fully well that what you put in your mouth CAN kill you.  Not only that but it can lead to blindness and amputation.  My main goal now is to leave this world with all the limbs God gave me.

I'm not sure where my relationship with food will end up...for now, I'm learning all about carb counting.  And I'm so scared of eating too many carbs that I find myself not eating enough-which is not good either.

No matter where my love of food will end up, I'm sure I'll always enjoy the kind that's "FINGER-licking good."

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Trip to Martinique

Earlier this month, I took my first trip to Martinique as a diabetic.
There were a few things that I remembered about the island from my previous trips that made me nervous to have to tag along diabetes.

#1-I swim almost every day when I'm there.  But now, I'll have to check my glucose before and after swimming which means carrying extra strips with me.

#2-Like Black America, Martiniquian meals are rich in starches, so I'll have to be strict about carb counting.

#3-I wasn't quite sure how to I felt about telling my in-laws about being diagnosed with diabetes.  The diagnosis came a couple of weeks before my husband and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary and I felt guilty about it.  I figure, who wants a sick wife within a year of marriage.  While he and I are working through this (mainly him reassuring me that he's here through sickness and in health), I wasn't quite sure how his parents would take the news.

Plus, since I am not fluent in French,  I felt horribly nervous that I wouldn't understand their first reaction.

On the flight over, I had a low blood sugar.  I'm not sure where it came from, but it caused me to inform half the flight crew (in search of someone who spoke enough English to understand) of my situation. It turns out that when people hear that you're diabetic and that you are in need--they want to help (what a relief).

For two and a half weeks my eating schedule was all over the place!  I was sometimes visiting family, sightseeing, or swimming and then realized that too many hours had gone by since the last time I ate.

But, alas, I made it through the vacation.  I had some low points, but overall it was well worth it.

p.s. We ended up having a discussion about diabetes with one of his diabetic Aunts. It turns out that he has about four diabetics in his family, so it was totally different than my family.  I had a private conversation (in French) with his Aunt in which I thanked her for sharing her story with me because these past four months have been turbulent. I didn't have the vocabulary to tell her that I worried about how you all (the family) would feel about me being a diabetic and that I was completely OVERJOYED to be loved (and perhaps even more) by them.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

You Can Do This (the process and the video)

When I first hear about textingmypancreas' idea for the You Can Do This project, I was excited.  I knew that I would record and upload my video.  I just didn't know exactly what I was going to say.

So, I turned my video camera on and talked from my soul.  For 15 minutes, I talked, laughed, cried, and sang.  I figured that this would be the best way to capture honesty.  I uploaded about four and half minutes of that 15 minute conversation with myself (imagining an audience).

Here's a link to that video, I hope you like it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Diabetic Attacks-In My Own Words

Within hours of being diagnosed with diabetes the nurses told me to "Beware of low blood sugar."

What they should have said was, "Watch out for those diabetic attacks, if you think you've kissed death while your sugar is too high, just wait until it gets too low."

Of course they couldn't say it just like that, but since I'm not in the medical field--I can! So here it goes, "Watch out for those diabetic attacks, if you think you've kissed death while your sugar is too high, just wait until it gets too low."

Here are some textbook symptoms  of  low blood sugar: 
shakes, confusion, hunger, blurred vision,
sweats, convulsions, pounding heart, 
clammy skin, and irritability. 

Here are my top thee real-life symptoms: (I am describing the diabetic attacks that occur during the night while I was sleeping, so I woke up in the midst of the following)

#1 The Shakes--It feels like your body's natural vibrations have drank Red Bull, so they are in OVERDRIVE. It's subtle, but present and gaining strength as if a convulsion is on the brink.

#2 Sweating--Imagine sitting inside a home in South Florida or the Caribbean, with no air condition or fans. It's about 3pm (not high noon sun, but it's still bright and shining) and it's time to start cooking, so the oven and stove are turned on.  It's the type of sweat that washes your entire body.  You realize that parts of your body are sweating that you didn't even know existed.

#3 A Beating Heart--Your heart is beating so hard that you feel like it just joined The Marching 100.

When I'm violently awaken from my sleep with these symptoms, I am in a state of fear so intense that it's almost measurable. I can smell the plants in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  When my glucose was high, I felt like I was oozing, slipping, creeping into a coma.  But, during a diabetic attack, I feel like I'm running, dashing, sprinting into the open arms of death. I 'm in the small space between fighting for my life or reflecting on my life and letting go. So, I fight for my life.  And what do I have to fight with...


The very thing that diabetics have to avoid most days is the life-saving nectar that we need during an attack. Orange juice is my sword of choice, but I also carry glucose tablets on my keychain (just in case I have an attack during my awake time).

What the textbooks don't address is the level of anxiety diabetic attacks cause.  I haven't sleep the same  since my diagnosis.  After experiencing two attacks back to back while taking a much needed nap, I have stopped taking insulin.  Apparently, I was having frequent attacks because my dosage was too high. (Thanks again to my mom who, as a nurse who worked at a diabetic clinic, told me that the sliding scale I was put on was too low for me and that I needed to stop the insulin).  

Since I am no longer on insulin I have not had a diabetic attack, but the residue (fear of waking up in the middle of an attack) is still present.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

An 8-hour International Flight

Before becoming a diabetic, I loved to travel.  "Traveling" has been my initial response to the question "So, what is your favorite thing to do?" since my days as an undergraduate.

Traveling for me is so freeing, so liberating, and a way to clear my mind.  When my car tires hit the road for a long drive to a new destination or I board a flight to a different city, something inside of me comes alive.

But recent experience with an international flight was not pleasurable for a couple of reasons.

#1, After paying for the ticket, I went straight to the "special meals" section in search for a "Diabetic Meal." Previously, I would have gone directly to the seat selection link, but hey, things change.  To my surprise, this airline didn't have that option, bummer!

#2, My carry-on luggage is calculated, organized, and full to the brim.  But carrying a little black bag, alcohol wipes, extra medication, and all that jazz requires MORE room.  So, I found myself paying an extra 60.00 busks for another checked bag.  Yet another way that diabetes is costly!

#3,  I had to carry a mini cooler-bag for the medications that require refrigeration.  New airplane policy prohibits flight attendants from storing medication in the airplane's fridge on 8-hour flights.

By the time flight was over, my icepacks (they made it through security check-YEAH!!) had melted.  Just before departing the aircraft, I asked for some ice and the flight attendant was nice enough to give me some for my cooler-bag.

#4, I checked my glucose before the first meal and I was just above 70.  I decided that although it wasn't a "diabetic mea;" that I better eat everything except for the cherry dessert, in hopes of preventing a lower reading. The  low 70s was a little abnormal for me, but I figured that once I ate a good meal, (with two rolls) that things would balance.

Unfortunately, I was wrong.  Four hours later, when the crew served a "snack," I checked my glucose again.  This time I was UNDER 70. I was so surprised that I checked my glucose twice.  Both reported numbers below normal.  This sent me in a bit of panic.  I haven't been below normal since my days on insulin and I was told that Byetta and Metformin prevent below normal readings from occurring.

I wished that I had kept the cherry dessert.  But since I didn't, I politely asked the flight attendant for a cup of juice with the sandwich. Shortly afterwards, I was feeling a little bit better.
I don't want diabetes to kill my love for traveling.  I want to feel that freeing feeling again, rather than thoughts of anxiety and worry.  I want the open road and anticipation of a new journey to remain the rejuvenating, soul-stirring pleasures they have been for years.

 But as for now, I'm wondering how in the world can the two coexist?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Surviving a Natural Disaster with Diabetes--OMG!

Living through a natural disaster as a newly diagnosed Diabetic SUCKS! Plain and simple! (And, I'm not going to search for more sophisticated terms).

Do you really expect me to remember diabetes when my home is blowing in the wind?

I admit...after seeing how the tornado Karate-chopped my home and left me scrambling for the pieces, I forgot all about diabetes.  The first thing I did was call my mom as I ran through the rubbish of broken trees and debris.  Before hanging up the phone to book her flight to get to me, she asked if I had eaten and checked my glucose.  Frankly, checking my glucose was not on my To-Do-List.  I wanted to see if I could salvage any of my belongings.  But, she insisted that I stop and check my glucose.  I reassured her that once we hung up that I would do it.

What do you know?  She was completely right--my sugar was low and I needed to eat something immediately.  I was in the midst of a natural disaster and there was a disaster brewing inside my body.  So, I ate a PB&J sandwich (Items that I had just bought from the store while picking up my medication).  But, talk about being frustrated.  I wanted to do things, help someone, cry at the roofless apartment complex, get out of the rain, yell, anything but sit in the car and eat. But diabetes isn't so accommodating, it's demanding.  And it held me hostage: demanding food or threatening to shut my entire body down (again).

Which will kill me faster Diabetes or Fast Food?

Let me start with this disclaimer---I hate fast food.  Of course it wasn't always like this. I too have tasted the savory goodness of McDonald's french fries, Wendy's burgers, and Burger King's fish sandwiches.  However, when you know better, you should do better. And one look at Super-Size Me should make anyone want to cut back on fast food.  But in a natural disaster, fast food seems to be the only food available.  It's almost as if those places are made of titanium with bunkers that keep the barrels of grease unscathed.  

So, I found myself eating burgers, fries, diet cokes, and praying that the little pieces of iceberg lettuce would offer at least an ounce of nutrition. For three days, I asked myself, which would kill me faster, this fast food or the diabetes?  I think my mom was convinced that it would be the diabetes because every 4-5 hours she made sure I ate something (without her, I'm sure I would have had a few diabetic attacks). It pays to have a nurse for a mom.

In the midst of a storm diabetes can be vicious. It demands a schedule, a routine, and medication that cannot be taken without food.

I was able to avoid pork (Yeah!), but most of my other picky dietary quirks were tossed out the window (along with my belongings).  I had to nurse my diabetes by feeding my body whatever was offered by the disaster relief, the apartment complex, local churches, or whichever restaurants were operational.

My first hotel-cooked meal was so delicious I wanted to kiss the plate. Perhaps, I have never said my grace with so much meaning as I did over the plate of broccoli, rice, and baked chicken.  I could FINALLY eat according to the "Plate Method" (1/2 plate of veggies, 1/4 protein, and 1/4 carbs). Oh joy!

With only a few minutes, do I grab clothes or diabetic supplies?

At one point Firefighters allowed us to enter our homes (with an escort) for only about 5 minutes.  We were instructed to grab a few "essentials" and exit because they did not know how sturdy the foundations were.

If you've been a diabetic for a while then it makes sense to grab your supplies.  However, as a new member to the club, I didn't even think about test strips, Glucena shakes, alcohol wipes, the box of lancets, or the bottle of Metformin.  I went straight for the 200.00 dollars I stashed away, a jacket, and some panties.  I didn't think about medication until I was escorted out of the apartment. So, it was a blessing that I missed the storm by five minutes because I was filling all my prescriptions and therefore had fresh stock in the car.

This experience has taught to me have a Diabetic Kit in one place with everything that I need inside. It was a tornado for me, but for someone else it could a fire, a hurricane, a gas leak, a typhoon, or whatever. A part of me would like to believe that it was easy to forget the diabetic supplies because I'm a newly diagnosed, but seriously...when your world is crumbling around you, what REALLY will you prioritize?

What are things that I reflect upon?

How funny it seems now that earlier that day my biggest concern was which recipe would I make from the Soul Food for Diabetes Cookbook.

I'm glad I dressed up for work that day because those were the only clothes I had for 2 days.

The joy I felt when I discovered a gym bag in the trunk of my car with clothes, shoes, a towel, and soap.

It never felt so good to go back to mom's place.

How will things be different when I move into a new place? Will I become anal about backing up files on a virtual server? Will I still care about my CD/DVD/Wii game collections like I did before the storm?

The level of care, love, and concern my friends have for me is indescribable.  I am so honored to have gotten care packages, financial gifts, prayers, and words of encouragement from them.

It is an awkward feeling to be at an extreme level of need.  It's a level where your pride wants you to say, "Thanks, but no thanks," however, there is no way you can turn down help. So, I found myself in the FEMA line, the food stamp line, at the food banks, at Tide Loads of Hope, in the prayer line, and every other line that was available to help restore my life.  What a life-changing (and humbling) experience! The blue collar, the white collar, and the no collar are all in the same disaster-relief lines.

Mother Nature has been spitting out tornados across America since March 2011 at an unprecedented rate and none of us know when she'll stop.  Since my last entry, Jopin, MO has been leveled by tornados.  Who knows this year's upcoming Hurricane Season may bring. Surviving a natural disaster sucks for us all, but as a diabetic, the feeling is compounded by the limitations of the disease.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Storms of Life Keep on Raging

Just as I began to
smile again,
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,
dance again,
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.

The tornadoes that swept through and swept away large chucks of the country from Oklahoma, Ohio, North Carolina, Alabama, to Mississippi were horrific.

It had only been two months.
2 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)


I crumbled from the inside out when I saw my apartment complex. I felt just like those buildings- ravished, torn, broken, and barely able to stand.

My mother and grandmother flew into town the next morning and the two of them are nursing my spirit because my personal resilience reservoir was used up to bounce back from the diagnosis. 
I've been emotionally shipwrecked. I am bent, battered, and bruised, but not broken.

In the past three weeks, I've lost my home, been living in a hotel, gone to a church's food bank for help (and treated rudely), had the red cross shut it's door in my face, stood in the FEMA line for assistance with others who were affected too, had my clothes washed by TIDES LOADS OF HOPE (what a blessing that was), had to grab whatever items I could out of my home, keep working, and remember that I'm diabetic and must maintain a routine or risk going back into the hospital.

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.

And yet, He still keeps me.  I missed the tornado by five minutes all because I stopped by the pharmacy to fill my diabetic prescriptions.  Had I not stopped, I would have been home and physically injured or dead. God keeps on keeping me and I am praying that I fulfill His purpose for my life.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Better Health Brightened My Day

Yesterday, it came to me like a suffocating wave--I NEED to know other diabetics.  The reality that no one close to me understands what I'm going through was weighing heavily on my mind.  Since I don't have the telephone number of any diabetics, I don't have anyone to talk to who can say "I understand what you mean."

Finally, in the midst of my thoughts, I remembered a recent visit to the eye doctor.  I saw a sign on the door advertising a 7-week program for diabetics held at Better Health. Although it was too late for me to participate, I snapped a picture of the flyer with my cell phone before leaving. I decided to call.

The friendly-sounding woman who answered the phone explained the 7-week program and provided the dates for the next one.  I felt like saying, I need assistance now, but I didn't.  I asked if they had other events.  To my surprise, the answer was "Yes."  She explained that they have weekly clinics.

I wasn't quite sure what a "clinic" was, but I told her that I'll be there tomorrow.  When I arrived, I saw a room full of diabetics talking amongst themselves, being jovial, and waiting for the clinic to begin.

"OMG," I thought. I joined the group at the table and sat down.  But, just being in that space (a room full of people who know what it's like to hear the words "You are a diabetic") was overwhelming.  I started crying.  I tried to conceal my emotions, but I couldn't.  When it was my turn to introduce myself, tears were the only reply I could offer.  And, the group offered compassion in return until I was able to regain my composure.

During the clinic, I learned more about diabetic medications, met a few people, got my glucose and blood pressure checked by a nurse, and had an awesome conversation with Melissa (the Health Education Coordinator).  To my amazement, these services were all free.  This diagnosis has not only been physically and emotionally taxing, but it's also been financially exhausting.  So, to know that there is a place that provides educational training for diabetics along with a few medical health services at no cost is a real blessing.

The most touching event of the night happened when a woman at the table asked, "When were you in the hospital?"  I told her two months ago.  She continued to say that she was there the day I was admitted.  She arrived before me (also suffering from high glucose), but the staff admitted me ahead of her because (as she said) "You were bad off that day."  While the picture from that day illustrates jut how ill I was--it takes things to a whole other level when a stranger remembers seeing me months later and can describe the seriousness of my affliction.  As she said, "You are blessed."  I nodded in appreciation and recognition that I am still blessed and her sharing that with me was living proof.
Today marks exactly two months since my diagnosis and I'm sure if at least one person had informed me about the services offered at Better Health, I would have been in a better emotional space.  But there's no since in crying over spilled milk (I have bigger things to cry over), discovering Better Health has been the perfect 2-month gift and I intend to visit again. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Week in France--So Emotional

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.

The next trial came once I arrived in France and sat face-to-face with my first breakfast.
As you can see from the picture, EVERYTHING but the cup of coffee breaks down into sugar. The baguette and the croissant are  bread (which carbs turn into sugar), the orange juice is liquid sugar, and the jams are sugar.  So, I sat there alone in the restaurant staring at food I can't eat all at once and feeling my anxiety level rising.  It seemed like hours passed.

Finally, I said something in French that I struggle to say in English--"Je suis une diab├ętique."  I further communicated that I cannot  pour sugar into my coffee and the waitress offered me CANDREL. I felt so relieved to discover that she had a sweetener (I could at least drink the coffee and eat the croissant. I left the other items). I made sure to remember the name "Candrel" for rest of my trip.

Overall, I managed to get through the complications of being outside of my comfort zone and daily routine. I have been to Paris before, but never with this many restrictions, exceptions, and concerns.  I understand more now why diabetics suffer from depression and anxiety at alarming rates.  My mind never seems to rest.  I'm always thinking about what I've eaten, what I will eat, and what I am going to eat--how many carbs are in the dish(es), how will they effect my glucose, and where will I be when it's time to give myself the evening shot???

I've learned that this leads to "Diabetes Burnout: a common state of mind that can be triggered if you feel overwhelmed, scared, or discouraged by the demands of managing your health" (Outsmart Diabetes Prevention Guide). My goal is to avoid burnout, but I can tell already that this will not be an easy task.

Here's a picture of me and my new best friend--MY GLUCOMETER (Blood Glucose Monitoring System). I'm sure I'll have a nickname for it very soon.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Give myself a shot? You MUST be tripping!

On my fourth day in the hospital, the night nurse entered my room with the regiment of medications and I said, "Oh no.  You've come to give me a shot.  I hate those things."

 She smiled. "No, I am not going to give you a shot."

"Yes, you are.  I see the needle in your hand."

She smiled brighter and it was laced with a bit of wickedness.  And she repeated, "Nooo, I am not going to give you a shot." Before I could refute her again, she interjected, "You are!"

"What?  You must be tripping.  Are you serious?  No. You can't be serious." I extended my arm like I had done for the past few days.  Unfortunately, she seemed completely unmoved.  She greeted my extended arm with an extended arm of her own that held an alcohol wipe.

Like a child determined to get their way, I looked at her with pouted lips refusing to grab the alcohol wipe. She, like parent, was stern and with her body language made me understand that her word was her bond.

I grabbed the wipe, the needle, and the lancet.  Nurse Pat began talking to me and I found comfort in her words.  "I am doing you a favor.  When you leave this hospital, you're going to have to give yourself these shots and there won't be a team of nurses there to do it for you, so you need to practice here."

I believe that she could see the water welting up in my eyes.  I felt as though I had lost too many fights in that moment.  I had lost the standoff with her and with a needle in my hand all I could think about is how I've lost the battle with my health.

But Nurse Pat wouldn't let me breakdown (at least not in front of her).  She continued, "You'll get through this.  I grew up in a house with two diabetics.  I watched my father take care of himself each and everyday.  He was Type 1.  My mother, however, would eat whatever she wanted--she would bake a cake and then yell at us for not eating it before she got to it.  My mother was Type 2.  All you need to do is take care of yourself.  I'm telling you, this shot will become second nature.  You can be a diabetic and it not drastically change your life.  You understand?"


"Now, let's do this."

Feeling pumped with a small dose of bravery, I wiped the small tear from my eye, slightly in a amazement that her comforting words had stopped the waterfall of tears that I knew were on the way.  She verbally assisted me with the task at hand and after I had successfully given myself the shot, I felt extremely proud.

Thank you nurse Pat (wherever you are).  And your presence: a full-figured black woman who talked about managing diabetes with confidence helped me in more ways than I can express.  It's not quite second nature yet, but I am able to hold my Byetta injection with a smile on my face.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tribute to Famous African American Diabetics

I use to like Patti LaBelle, but now I love her, she is my Shero.  I was flipping through one of her cookbooks and when I read "I had diabetes, but I wasn't going to let it have me," I cried right there in the Barnes and Noble.  Those words struck a cord with me.  They touched a place within in me that no one else was able to reach.  My mom, husband, grandma, and close friends had shared some encouraging words, but it was something about holding that book and knowing that Patti LaBelle had reached a place that I needed to reach was inspiring.

Each day I wake up, I aspire to move closer towards positivity.  Closer to recognizing that I can overcome the feelings of devastation. Closer to knowing that it's possible to leave this Earth with all my limbs.  Closer to knowing that diabetes does not have to be the death of me. Closer to living a LaBelle attitude! :-)

Yesterday, she was featured in an USA Today article on famous diabetics.  Their list included Patti LaBelle, Bret Micheals, Jay Cutler, Mary Tyler Moor, Nikki Lang, Nick Jonas, and Paul Sorvino.

Here is what the article stated in relation to Patti LaBelle:
(singer, author of Patti LaBelle's Lite Cuisine) LaBelle, 66, says her diagnosis of type 2 diabetes initially gave her the blues — she thought she'd have to give up her favorite foods. She soon realized she could still eat well, just healthier. "Diabetes is not a death sentence. Sure, you can't eat fried foods and rich desserts anymore, but there are many wonderful ways for you to cook (bake, saut, microwave, steam) delicious meals. Be more creative."
Family and friends help keep her on track. "I have such a tremendous support group. Everyone from my housekeeper to my security guard makes sure that I do the right things and take my meds when I'm supposed to."

Since Patti LaBelle was the only famous African American diabetic in the article, I thought that I would showcase a few others for inspiration.

So here's a shout out to all those well-known African Americans who are not afraid to fight this chronic disease.
Patti LaBelle

Angie Stone

Anthony Anderson

Aretha Franklin

B.B. King

Della Reese

Halle Berry

J. Anthony Brown

Winnie Mandela

Dr. P

Monday, March 28, 2011

What in the World Happened? (My Symptoms & Diagnosis)

I came into the new year determined to finally get below 200lbs.  I've been talking about throwing a 199lbs party for the past five years. After totally changing my diet and making lifestyle changes rather than settling for quick-fix solutions, I have successfully maintained a 25lbs weight loss, but failed to reach my goal of getting below 200lbs.

With school behind me, I felt there was nothing stopping me from celebrating my 199lbs party before the summer.  So, I joined a gym and by the end of January I was going five days a week.  I shed 10lbs by January 31st and was eager to see what February would bring me.

Unfortunately, February brought some VERY strange things. I now know that those things were symptoms of diabetes.

WEIGHT LOSS: By February 5th, I had lost 4lbs. And then the weight kept coming off. I was averaging 2lbs a day and I knew this couldn't be from working out because I eventually got too tired to make it to the gym. I told a few people that I felt like I'm on that movie Thinner (the guy was cursed and kept losing weight until he was bones). Within 15 days, I had lost 22lbs.

EXTREME THIRST: I started drinking water in the middle of my workouts, which didn't alarm me. I wrote it off as I'm working out more therefore, I need more water. However, I soon found myself craving water at every turn.  The first time I went to the doctor (a week before I went into the hospital) I told her "I'm craving water like a fat police officer wants Krispy Kreme Doughnuts."  I was drinking more than a gallon a day.  When I walked into a store, I went straight to the beverages and drank while I shopped for groceries.  The  moment I finished drinking water, I was thirsty again.  **The doctor told me that it was because of my workouts and that I should drink Gatorade to hold the water in my body.  This was the advice that nearly killed me because in essence what she said was-go out and dump sugar into your body.  I returned a week later on the verge on a diabetic coma**

FREQUENT URINATION: It made complete sense that I would go all the time since I was drinking all the time. The difference is that I was no longer able to sleep well at night.  On average, I would go four times during the night.  Also, I found myself sitting on the aisle at church because I didn't think I could make it through the entire service without going to the restroom.

BLURRED VISION: I couldn't see as clearly, but yet again, I had an excuse--it was time for my annual eye exam.

FATIGUE LIKE I NEVER KNEW: This is the symptom that sent me seeking help.  I thought that I was more tired than usual and when I began sharing that with others they responded with "Me too, it's that time of year."  This made me not take the fatigue too seriously at first, but after not having the energy to go to the gym, drive the car without taking a long blink, not being able to sit up straight at my desk, or avoid falling asleep in the bathtub, I knew I needed to go see the doctor again.

I went to see her (just a week after complaining of extreme thirst) and this time I told her, "I'm so tired that I cannot function."  Matter of fact, while sitting in the waiting room, I repeatedly went to sleep.  I was so tired that I had to hold on to things while I walked.  When she saw me, she said that she would give me a shot and send me home. This terrified me! I called my mom and told her that the assistant said, "Your glucose isn't registering and that's not a good thing."  My mom, a nurse, told me to go to the emergency room NOW!

There was no way I was going home in this condition, so I replied "No thank you. I am going to leave here and go to the ER."

"Well," she replied, "You're not a case for the Emergency Room because you are not in a lot of pain. If you go, you'll want to exaggerate your pain scale. Tell them that you are in a lot of pain. A 10 out of 10."

"I am going to go. My mama said go. This is not like me. I am usually full of energy and now I can not even stand for five minutes. I'll tell them whatever, but I cannot leave your office and go home, I KNOW that something is SERIOUSLY wrong."

She had her assistant wheel me outside (yep, I needed a wheelchair since I was that weak).  My friend drove me to the hospital.  On the way there, I kept falling asleep too.

I had forgotten to "exaggerate my symptoms" and there was actually no need to do so.  Within 20 minutes of being in the ER, I heard the following words "Your glucose is 593. You're on your way into a coma. Get her in the back stat. She needs an IV. How long have you been a diabetic?"

"What? Never. I'm not a diabetic. I don't even know any diabetics."

"With a glucose reading of 593, you're a diabetic now! And, if we don't get that number down quickly, you will go into a coma. Anything over 200 is problematic."

"WHAT?  I'm not a diabetic, I'm just very tired. A coma, Really?"


I was admitted and over the next six days, I lived in the hospital where doctors and nurses worked on me and tried to educate me on diabetes.  Unfortunately, I was too broken to absorb 100% of the information I was being given and I spent the next six days crying, being confused, scared, and feeling more alone than I can ever remember. And yes, I was angry at the doctor who told me to start drinking sugary Gatorade and who should have checked my glucose the second I said that I'm very thirsty.  She is no longer my primary physician.

Below is a picture I took while waiting in the ER.  When I see this picture now, all I can think about is how I was fighting against going into a coma and didn't even know it.  I know there is an Angel right there with me.

I am wearing a mask to protect me from the woman with bronchitis who refused to synchronize coughing and covering her mouth.  I didn't know what was wrong with me, but I knew it wasn't bronchitis.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Moving from Why? to When? (Questions for God)

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.

Lately, I've been thinking about all my questions to God:
Why me?
Why me, I hate chocolate and hardly ever eat sweets?
Why me, I just crossed into my 30s?
Why me, God, just plain and simple why me?
Why me, no one in my immediate family has diabetes?
Why me, I just started going to the gym five days a week?
Why me, I eat vegetables each and every day?
Why me, I don't eat pork, I don't fry, I even go weeks without eating meat each year?
Why me, I'm 40lbs lighter than I was five years ago?
God, I just don't understand.

After not getting answers to those questions within my own time frame (which is immediately), I've decided to transition my questions from Why? to When? So, these are my new questions for God:

When will you heal me and make me whole Father?
When will you bless me like You did the woman in the Bible who had an issue that only you could solve?  I have an issue too, Father.
When will you keep your promise to me that "By your stripes, I am healed?"
I'm taking my medication, when will you restore me?
I'm exercising again and eating the proper combination of foods, when will you deliver me?
Without works, my faith is dead, so I'm working and believing--when will you show up and show out?
When will this test become one of my greatest testimonies?

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.

Plus, all those Why? questions could easily be flipped around.
Why did you keep me in good health longer than some other people?
Why did you give me the time to finish school and get married?
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 remove the taste from my mouth when one more glass of orange juice could have killed me?
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 do you keep on blessing 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!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why blog? Why now? And, why is race important?

I just got around to searching (or rather Googling) 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.

So, I have answered why blog? and the why now?  On to the why race is important?

When I entered the ER and they told me that I was diabetic one of the first things that came to mind is..."I have a black person's disease."  Not in a I'm not black type of way, more I'm another statistic.  Frankly, the way people talk about diabetes and HIV/AIDS nowadays, it makes you think that white and other races of people don't get them.  One of the first emotions I felt among confusion was shame.  Shame to admit that I'm black and that I have diabetes.  And add my over 200lbs weight to that, I could have crawled into a corner and melted away.  So, there I am in the ER feeling ashamed for being PHAT and black.

Secondly, during my six days in the hospital, I cannot tell you how many times nurses assumed that I had been diabetic for a while or that I already knew how to "handle my diabetes."  Naturally, I felt like it was because of my dark skin.  Yes, I am sensitive about race and that's America's fault not mine.

And finally, I want to contribute at least one searchable entry onto the web about being an African American diagnosed with diabetes that is more than startling statistics about the 3.7 million of us who have the disease, the fact that we are 1.8 times more likely to get the disease than white people, or the large amount of sistas and brothas who have had their limbs amputated.

So, welcome to my journey of prayerfully becoming an ex-diabetic.