Name: Alice B
Location: Cedar Lake, IN
My advice to someone newly diagnosed is to make sure you have a great support team. Let your friends, family, coworkers and your health care provider know you expect them to be you cheerleaders.
I am an extremely busy professional. I work full time (and then some) in a high-stress always-changing environment. I go to school part-time, working toward two degrees, one in HR Management and the other in Information Systems Management.
What I didn’t take time for was myself. Instead of grocery shopping, I relied on drive-thrus and restaurants for all of my meals and never worked out. I drank regular soda by the gallon. My weight reached its highest, 317 lbs. and I was miserable.
I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was hospitalized at the beginning of August 2008. I had an extremely painful headache for two days. When I went to the doctor, my blood pressure was too high, so I was prescribed blood pressure meds and bed rest. I was admitted to the hospital. After lots of blood work and other various tests, the doctor came in on Saturday to tell me I was diabetic.
I cried the remainder of the afternoon, that evening and into Sunday. I was really ashamed – my parents had even more reason to worry about their single daughter who lives alone (my cats can’t call 911); my nephews now had an aunt who was diabetic. My brothers will now forever have to tell doctors that their sister has diabetes.
I blamed myself for doing this and I immediately attached a stigma to myself. I went to the grocery store and spent an hour and a half reading labels, to purchase only $40 worth of groceries. I bought new measuring cups and food scales and measured and weighed EVERYTHING. I really wasn’t sure how to LIVE.
Eventually, I became more familiar with what I was doing and learned how to substitute and even compromise with myself. If I was at a party, I’d skip the chips and nibble on vegetables, but then allow myself some cake. I learned how to make smarter decisions without denying myself a lot. I dropped weight rather quickly and lost 60 pounds within 4 months. I’ve learned that it’s all about moderation. At my last doctor visit, I received the greatest news of all – I was taken off my insulin AND my A1C was 5.8 – within NORMAL limits!
My advice to someone newly diagnosed is to make sure you have a great support team. Let your friends, family, coworkers and your health care provider know you expect them to be you cheerleaders. The president of the company I work for was happy for me when he heard I was taken off insulin. One thing I wish I had was a person I could look up to. My grandmother was diabetic, but hers was completely out of control. I really needed someone my age who is managing their diabetes well and could guide me and answer my questions.
My long-term goals are to continue to lose weight and remain healthy. I do not want to revert back to the “old” me and will even go “back to basics” when I’m feeling out of control.