Twenty-five years ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes. With a blood sugar of over 1200 mg/dL, my body was shutting down. I was 18 years old, in many ways, just beginning my life.
In those 25 years, much has changed in my life: college, career, relationships, marriage, motherhood. The one constant has been diabetes.
I had diabetes 25 years ago. I have diabetes today. I will still have diabetes tomorrow.
My journey has been filled with emotions of all kinds, including fear, hope and happiness. I have battled depression as a result of diabetes and have also experienced the happiest moments of my life, including attaining a graduate degree, finding love, and bringing a child into this world.
And my journey has brought me here: to DiabetesSisters. Twenty-five years ago, I could not have imagined I would lead an organization that is dedicated to providing support and education to women living with diabetes. An organization that focuses on finding the commonalities of a disease that is so different for everyone, and bringing them together for Sisterhood.
I am so lucky. I am so fortunate.
Yet, diabetes haunts me daily. Stigma. Judgement. Misunderstanding. It hurts.
Years ago, at my bridal shower, I was asked by a well-meaning attendee, “Should you really have a slice cake? You know you have diabetes.” Ashamed, I smiled politely and didn’t eat the cake.
At that moment, I should have done so many things: I should have educated her on carbohydrate counting. I should have explained that my blood sugar was in range. I should have explained that my endocrinologist and I had discussed that my A1c was in a place that made us both happy.
Most importantly, I should've eaten the damn cake.
In 25 years, I’ve managed my diabetes the way that is best for me. That’s all I can do. With no judgement of myself or others. With no criticism of what I do versus what others do.
And in the next 25 years, I will continue to check my blood sugar, keep my medical appointments, and be proactive about my health.
And cake? I will always eat the cake. I’ve earned it.