Tag Archives: diabetes diagnosis

March 27th 2012 is American Diabetes Association Alert Day


If you have diabetes, today is a good day to mention to friends, co-workers, family, acquaintances that today is Diabetes Alert Day and that it’s good to be aware of the symptoms of diabetes because early intervention is super important.

If you don’t have diabetes, today is the day to take action.  What I want you to do is to act on making sure you and your loved ones don’t have diabetes.  Go here to learn more about diabetes and to find tons of helpful resources in English and Spanish.

Procrastination and denial are dangerous, more dangerous than diabetes.  Be informed and act now.

The 5 Stages of Grief Apply to Diabetes


You know how when someone dies, a loved one often goes through stages of grief which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance?

I think that when someone gets a diabetes diagnosis, they go through those same phases.  No one has died in this case but something has-life as we know it.  Our lives matter a lot to us, there is no denying that.  So when a doctor informs us that we have a disease that will last the rest of our lifetime, requires constant monitoring and care, changes to habits and routines we may have in place, and causes all sorts potential health problems that bring about inconvenience and pain…well, it’s not unlike experiencing the death of a loved one.

I’m not saying it’s as painful as experiencing the death of a loved one.  I’m just saying the stages of grief are the same.  For example, when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 11, my first inclination was to be like…”noo……really?”  I quickly got angry and though I didn’t show it, I know it because my diary at the time has a page on it where I wrote, “Damn diabetes, I hate you!”  The letters are made out in straight lines and you can tell I pressed down really hard, accentuating each stroke with multiple slashes from my ball point pen.  Next came bargaining.  I grew up in a place where almost everyone is religious and so friends would take me to their churches in hopes that their pastor could “cure me”.  I went along because deep down I wished someone could.  I also didn’t even think a single cuss word between the ages of 12 and 14 in an effort to be “good” enough for God to cure.

Then came depression.  This stage lasted a long, long time.  Many years in fact.  There are catalysts that move us out from the first few stages of grief.  We can’t physically handle staying in shock and in denial for too long.  We only have so much adrenaline and reality is a very persistent nag.  Anger usually leads to self-destruction and it wears us out until we realize it doesn’t improve anything.  It doesn’t take long to figure out that bargaining isn’t going to cure us.  But depression is a disease.  It eats at our brains and takes away our strength every day.  Depression literally changes the chemicals in our brains.  So people often hang out at this stage for a long time.  I was no different.

Acceptance.  It’s so empowering, so forgiving.  When we reach this stage a sense of peace comes over us.  The thick cloud of our diagnosis lifts and we are able to hope, be inspired, and dream about our future.  Life isn’t a drag anymore and our diagnosis might actually do the unexpected-bear gifts.  We can move forward.  We see potential and possibilities.  We know we are going to be ok.

If you’re a diabetic and haven’t reached the final stage of acceptance, please know that you can.  You just have to give yourself time to heal and time to learn about what your diabetes management requires.  Nothing is wrong with you for grieving the loss of the life you once knew.  And you have permission to move ahead when you’re ready.  Get help for the tough days and look forward to the better ones.

They are coming.

Remembering Life Before Diabetes


I was thinking about this the other day.  I know a lot of people probably don’t remember much of their lives before diabetes.  The majority would though, considering type 2 diabetes is the great majority of diabetes cases and a substantial amount of type 1 diabetics were diagnosed as older children, teenagers, or adults.  Then there are the type 1.5 diabetics who would remember, too.

Anyway, if you were older when diagnosed…do you ever think back and remember life before diabetes?

I try not to but, the year of my diagnosis is so clear in my mind.  When I’m recalling a memory from childhood I tend to automatically go to that year, 1994.  It’s kind of strange. 

I can remember who I sat next to in 5th grade between January and June when I “graduated” elementary school.  I remember how in February my sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 3 and how that night I tried to explain to my brother who is a year and a half younger than me, that it was serious because Dad was sitting on the couch thinking for too long a time.  I remember my favorite outfit that Spring was a matching pair of Umbro soccer shorts and t-shirt…orange and purple.  I remember fighting with my hair all the time because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to fix my naturally wavy hair (Oh what I would have done for a flatiron).  I remember liking a boy just because he was especially kind to the girl in the wheelchair.  I remember three family members visiting over the summer from Venezuela, leaving my brother and I sleeping on army cots in the basement for a month (which was so much fun).  I remember us having pillow fights every time we disagreed on something (also fun).  I remember visiting Washington D.C. that summer and thinking that Abe Lincoln was the coolest president EVER and I remember feeling so giddy about being in the presence of his statue.  I remember starting middle school in September and was excited to be “growing up” and felt ready to take on the world.  I decided I’d stop being so shy.  Every day was amazing due to the potential of it.  My diary read, “Sysy, you’re life is gonna change.”

Then I was diagnosed with diabetes in November.  

It’s kind of nice to remember life without diabetes.  My favorite memory is just that of spontaneity and the feeling that my body was unstoppable.  Like the times when there was a thunderstorm and I’d go outside barefoot and run around the house in the mud like a nutcase.  I’d get my brother and two sisters to do it, too.  Our Mom yelled at us to come inside before we were struck by lightning but then we’d look up at the window and see her taking pictures and laughing.  Those were good times.

Oh wait, now that I think of it, those thunderstorm runs were after diabetes…:)