Living and Laughing with Diabetes

A lot can change in one year, let alone eight.  It’s been eight years since being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes but ironically, I don’t remember much about how the doctor delivered the news, how I was feeling at the time or what else was going on in my life.  Eight years later, I can tell you almost everything that I have experienced living with diabetes. 

What stands out most for me is its effect on different people.  I recall my dad having Type 2 diabetes and ultimately dying from complications from diabetes. I recall taking care of him, cooking for him and on occasion seeing his numbers drop below normal. I remember seeing him experience disorientation, sweating and shaking until I could give him some orange juice or hard candy.  I recall wondering how he developed diabetes. Was it something he ate or didn’t eat? Was it his fault?  I now know the answer to the first part is yes and the answer to the second part is no.  Diabetes is not our fault although getting educated on how to live with it is our responsibility.

My diagnosis came in 2010 and at that time I felt like “WOW. This is overwhelming.”  It seemed unbelievable that a person, who has a phobia and am terrified of needles, has to stick myself every day, sometimes several times a day.  Then, just when I thought I had accepted this thing called diabetes, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was at a loss at how these two major life changing events were invading my life.  I would come to experience various levels of frustration and sometimes anger at having to manage both.  There were times that I would say I didn’t “ask” for any of this.   Managing the pain of surgery, radiation treatments, related effects of having diabetes such as blurred vision, numbness, tingling all seemed a bit drastic for a person to have to deal with. 

But, during my experiences, I met the most phenomenal and inspiring people.  People, who were able to reduce the impact and effects of diabetes by choosing to live better, eat better and exercise more.  People who decided that living with diabetes was far better than dying from complications associated with diabetes. 

I became a part of a community of women with cancer who bonded on basic things such as faith, a desire to fight cancer and accepting the support and compassion we each felt every time we show up for radiation treatment every day.  I met women who were sure they met their Angel that was assigned to them to help them through the journey.  Our community desired to achieve the label of cancer survivor and I am proud today to say I am a 5-year survivor and along the way I know that a community of survivors exists.  We can say that we’ve faced the giant and I’ve faced two-- diabetes and cancer -- and I’m still here. 

So as a person that enjoys living and laughing, I immerse myself with diabetic food plans and an “I can do this” attitude.  While it still takes me a long time to ponder about sticking my finger or administering my insulin, I realize it’s all about your mindset and realizing God has a sense of humor to allow a person who is terrified of needles the opportunity to stick themselves every day for the last nine years. 

It’s tough not to lose faith when thinking, “YES! I’ve had the perfect meal and the perfect day of exercise and this effort will reflect in my numbers being within target…” and then they don’t. Every day I fight a good fight. For me, living with diabetes every day means I make a conscious effort to eat better, exercise more and make better choices about my health, so I win!!!  I choose LIFE and living it well because in the end I control diabetes, it does not control me. 

Presented by: Loretta Moore-Nixon

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