Location: Durham, North Carolina
"I decided that I wasn't going to let type 2 diabetes take another person in my family — I was going to control it, not let it control me."
It's an understatement to say that type 2 diabetes runs in my family — my father, mother, oldest brother, six aunts and two uncles were all diagnosed with the disease and passed away because they didn't make the necessary changes to manage it. I don't know why I thought type 2 diabetes would skip me, but it didn't. After my diagnosis, I became so depressed that I wasn't motivated to start a healthy lifestyle. Finally, I decided I'd had enough and I wasn't going to let type 2 diabetes take another person in my family. I learned as much as I could about the disease. I realized that my family was not eating correctly and I hadn't been taking care of them properly while they were sick. When they told me they felt weak, I fed them foods that I thought were healthy, but I now realize that those foods were not a good choice. I have learned that information is a powerful tool.
I have discovered what works for me. I make healthy food choices — my motto is I'm eating to survive — and I participate in a local walking club. I decided that I will control type 2 diabetes rather than letting it control me.
I'm passionate about telling others about type 2 diabetes. My family didn't know, but I made sure my son knows the life-saving steps for managing type 2 diabetes. I take comfort in the thought that my family will not experience the devastating effect of this disease in the future. I also tell people next to me at the doctor's office to make sure they get checked for diabetes. If we each speak to one person and they speak to someone else, we can help communities take the first step to managing type 2 diabetes and avoiding other health risks. Because type 2 diabetes was so rampant in my family, I thought the disease was a death sentence. It isn't. My advice to anyone who's diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is to own it right away. Don't let the shock and depression from being diagnosed with the disease stop you from owning it. It's important not to isolate yourself, and remember that exercise and healthy eating are keys to getting type 2 diabetes under control.