Early in 2019, I received news that I have LADA diabetes* (a form of type 1) instead of type 2. I can still vividly remember the day when I received a message from my endocrinologist at the time - "Welcome to the type 1 club!"
Every month I read Between the Lines, which highlights the courageous women who battle every minute of every day to keep their blood sugars "between the lines." One of those women is my wife Keena, whose story was highlighted last month in the DiabetesSisters eNewsletter.
Oh no, I need to go to the bathroom again! Does this sound familiar? Have you ever wondered why some women have problems with bladder and bowel function, and others do not? Let’s discuss what causes some women to have dysfunction in these areas?
When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three, I learned what to expect. There were the new daily responsibilities: 10 blood sugar checks a day, multiple daily injections – sometimes up to 5 a day, a strict diet, and highly regulated exercise. I was made aware of diabetes complications that included my eyes, kidneys, liver, and heart, possible nerve damage, and even the possibility of a limb amputation.
I love traveling because it allows me to learn new things, meet new people, and explore new places. The traveling bug bit me at a young age when my family would drive from Florida to South Carolina to visit our extended relatives. In preparation for the trip, my mother and grandmother would dump mounds of coins onto the living room floor so that everyone could take part in separating, counting, and rolling the coins.
Almost 6 years ago at a routine gynecological exam, I had an excessive amount of sugar in my urine. I was immediately admitted to the ER and hospitalized for 5 days with a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. I struggled for a full year, constantly hearing that my A1C wasn't improving because I was noncompliant. When I went for my next annual gyno exam, I was told that there was no way I was Type 2 and that I must be Type 1.
“Were you in Chicago for work?” my friend asked.
“No, it was for fun actually. I lead a support group for women with diabetes. The group I work with is a national organization called DiabetesSisters. There are women like me leading groups all around the country. This weekend was an opportunity to get together in one place, support each other, share our experiences and learn from each other while having a great time in a new city.”
I have been fortunate to attend several DiabetesSisters’ Leadership Institutes. It is always a learning experience. I look forward to attending because it provides motivation for me to run my local PODS when things may or may not be going so well.
Do you ever feel like a puzzle piece; one that belongs somewhere among the other 1000 pieces of imagery, not quite sure where you fit or how you can connect to form the giant picture? This has been the story of my life. For over 44 years my jigsaw had a hole. I let this empty space define me while I constantly searched for a way to fill the empty void. If only I could see that the answer was right before me the whole time.
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