Confessions Of A Diabetic: I’m Happier Than I’ve Ever Been Since My Diagnosis

A month ago, I nearly succumbed to diabetic ketoacidosis, with a blood sugar level almost so lethal that I could barely walk. I hardly remember anything/everything that night, and honestly, my overall memory is somewhat impaired to this day. I keep saying the line, “some days and even hours are better than others.” But with keeping my diabetes management consistent and a part of my daily routine, I’ve found that I am happier than I’ve ever been since my diagnosis.

I saw a picture of myself on International Women’s Day in 2021 in my Snapchat memories, when I was heavy drinker, 20 pounds heavier, and a cashier at a part-time retail job that paid minimum wage in Rhode Island (which is lower than any other state in New England). I’m thinking, as I write this, with my cat curled up next to me on my queen-sized bed, and in desperate need of a neck massage, that I was definitely not in love with that life that I once led. Although I had since quit said retail job and found a man who loves me for all that I am, I still had a lingering proclivity to drink and to binge-eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. That ended in January when I chose to start intermittent fasting, which I think had at least something to do with my demise. My nurses in the hospital even said, “you can’t just not eat.” They’re right, it’s not ideal for a diabetic to skip meals.

Another thing: when your physical health is good, so is your mental health. It’s no secret that I have acute anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I often drank to forget about the reality of feeling anxious, only to forget that alcohol is a depressant (and has a lot of sugar and fat content — empty calories!). Since January 2nd of this year, I’ve been over two months sober. The painful acid reflux was still plaguing me, and I was often tired. It was obvious that I had physical ailments that were explained once I was diagnosed with diabetes.

To think I was once so carefree that I completely disregarded my health astounds me, and not in a good way. This is all going into a novel that I’m working on, based on my experience. The truth is, no one can live like Louis XIV, who lived in the lap of luxury at the Palace of Versailles. I am still the foodie I was in my “past life,” I’m just moderating my meals, carb-counting, reading nutrition facts, taking insulin before meals, and measuring my blood sugar four times a day. I actually have the motivation to work out again and I’m leading a healthy diet that’s not only beneficial for diabetics, but for everyone — no matter who you are. I’m still losing as much weight as I was when I was intermittent fasting. I don’t know if I’d necessarily call my diagnosis a “kundalini awakening,” but everything has been working out career-wise, and my manifestations have been coming true.

What’s also almost in divine-timing is that I found out my best friend is dealing with a chronic illness, as is my boyfriend (not diabetes and both separate illnesses). This goes to show that I’m not alone at all. But my family, relatives, friends, boyfriend, and even (some) strangers need not have a chronic illness to be in my corner because I know that they would all have my back either way. đź’– Connections matter!

xoxo,

April

“Where Do You See Yourself In 10 Years?”

I remember answering this question when transitioning to fifth grade. I said, “I am taking a cruise to Australia” because Australia was where I wanted to go, being the animal-lover that I am. Little did I realize that my teacher knew I was going to be a writer and not the next American Idol (the fact that I had a plan to audition when I turned seventeen makes me LOL).

I didn’t think this question would be relevant until this very day. I am sitting in my bedroom, in a completely different state, and things are certainly better than they were ten years ago. I had gone to a Catholic high school. I had gone to college to earn a bachelor of fine arts in creative writing. I am now in my final semester of my masters program in publishing and writing. All of this did not take place in Australia. I’ve never even been. But I have been to Paris and Barcelona and I can say they are my two favorite cities in the world.

I had finished the book, Rules For Being A Girl by Candace Bushnell, whose life story I discovered recently because she birthed my bible, Sex And The City. I thusly created a “Feminist Book Club.” We held our first meeting on a January afternoon on Zoom, while a blizzard was blanketing the ground with a heresy of snow and the wind blowing our air conditioner cover off. Little did I know the topics of gender and feminism would be imperative in my writing career. Speaking of my writing career, I published two books thus far: Resilience, The Disappearing Act, and the brand new Whispers of Daydreams which you can purchase here.

There were an additional three things I didn’t know would happen: 1) I would have two blog brands: The April Diaries and Gals Gotta Eat; 2) I would develop a chronic illness; 3) my writing career would also manifest into a corporate environment, working as a digital content writer for the oldest insurance company in the USA.

You can say I’m reaching a height in my career, but as my fifth grade idol, Miley Cyrus once sang, “it’s all about the climb.” I’ve met Vogue editors who said they haven’t even had that “I made it” moment yet (which I find odd considering it’s Vogue).

Moral of the story: life has its twists and turns, but everything happens for a reason. Yes, I am aware there are countless debates on that. I’m not sure if I believe that everyone has a “destiny,” per se, but there are some people who always have a certain inkling that they “know” what they’re supposed to do in life. For me? That’s to own a publication that inspires people. Now, at twenty-five-years-old-going-on-twenty-six, I am proud to say I have two of those.

Happy International Women’s Day to all my readers. You can aspire to be anything and achieve it, too. đź’—

xoxo,

April

What To Do When You Feel “Stuck” In A Funk

I just got out of my weekly writer’s meeting with my internship site for the semester, and honestly, I feel more motivated than ever to cross the finish line. I am grateful to my boss and everyone else around me for being so flexible. If you don’t know what’s going on, you can read my last post here.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve sought out help in support groups and been to therapy. Therapy was also a good “kick in the butt” (in a gentle way, of course). Also, watching How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days is a great motivator, since the plot is centered around journalism. Reaching out to friends helps, too. I also put my new planner into use and I used my notes section to write down everything I’m grateful for, and everything that I know I am (a.k.a my “best traits”).

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you need to take breaks. February was a total blur for me, but in a nontraditional sense (I was in the ICU for Pete’s sake!). Believe me, in the beginning of February, I thought I was suffering from burnout, but the fatigue and severe acid reflux only manifested into diabetes. I even go back to my full-time job next week and I could not be more stoked to actually have a real start at a place whose employees actually care about their fellow employees. And this is a simple fact of life: flexibility is the sign of intelligence.

With that being said, you should probably be more flexible with yourself, too. This also means communicating how you feel to others so they’re not left “high and dry.” You’d be surprised at how many people can actually be understanding and try to help you out. I’ll admit that I’m stubborn and had this carefree lifestyle once upon a time and thought I was invincible. FYI: no one is. My internship boss said to the staff last week, “everyone takes a sh*t. Some people get it out easier than others.” The same goes if you’re stuck in a funk. For some people it’s easier to get out of than others, depending on who you are. Everyone has different ways of doing it. I was talking to my publisher today, and we concluded that people deal with anxiety differently. That was no underlying secret to me, to begin with. As Mrs. Incredible says, “you need to learn how to be more flexible” (she said in her seductive voice LOL).

I Have Diabetes

The fact that the last post I made could’ve been my last is something I still can’t comprehend. February 14, 2022 — the day I almost died, and also the day I lived.

I was sitting at my desk at a brand new job… that I had to leave early. I had this continuous feeling that I was going to barf and faint at the same time. Falling asleep in my cubicle would not have been ideal. I had gotten home with lungs filled with cold, bitter air but also a lot of congestion. The amount of pain I was in was unbearable. I wrote this one off as my anxiety making my acid reflux worse; but that didn’t explain why my back was stinging with pain, too. It also didn’t explain why I threw up four times within a matter of two hours.

Then came a little after 11:00 p.m. and I got up from what was supposed to be sleep, but only made me feel worse. I got up out of bed, only to find I could barely walk. I succumbed to my mother’s suggestion to go to the Emergency Room.

You Have What?

The whole night was a total blur, and by that I mean I have no recollection of what happened other than the fact I was in the ICU and wet the bed trying to use a bed pan. (That’s way TMI, but still.) When I regained consciousness, I remember coughing and sounding like the demon from Beloved. I could barely keep my eyes open, nonetheless talk. I was beyond dehydrated. I could barely breathe, due to the dehydration and my overall condition. I later found out from a doctor that I did in fact, have diabetes. All of the events of the day led me to having a near-lethal blood sugar level (over 400). My Diet Coke certainly didn’t help, nor did the honey in my tea earlier that evening. It was then 4:00-5:00 a.m. and I was tired and confused. I don’t know why but I was concerned about my phone, which I later found that my mother had it all along — not that it really mattered where my phone was. My health was/is the only thing that matters here.

It’s needless to say that it came not only out of left field to me, but to everyone else I know. My best friend asked if I was okay, my poor boyfriend was really worried, and my dietician the other day was completely thrown off.

A Second Chance At Life

It’s still an emotion-jerker for me that I’ll never get my old life back, but the truth is, this is a whole new chance at a better life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to what my “past life” gave me, but this “new life” is giving me a chance to eat healthier, exercise (as soon as my arms stop hurting from where the IV injections were), but also remind myself that I’m still a fun-loving, fashion-loving, literature-loving, whatever-you-name-it person.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have my moments. Some hours are better than others. I can’t fathom how much emotional pain this diagnosis caused me as of recent. I can barely stare at a screen for prolonged periods of time; I’m surprised I’m well enough to even write this post. But today, February 24, just ten days after that day, I put on makeup and pulled myself together for myself. That isn’t to say that I probably won’t have a crying spell tonight, but I was actually able to write down what I’m grateful for the first time in over a week. My hands regained their strength, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to type!

Speaking of “type,” I most likely have type 2 diabetes and I’m coming to terms with it slowly and somewhat gracefully. It’s certainly taking some time to mentally wrap my head around this diagnosis, but just like everything else, it comes with time.

Come join me on this brand new, beautiful lifestyle.

xoxo,

April

January 2022 Reflection: Recognizing Anxiety, Achievements, And Who I Am

It was almost 6:00 a.m. on a Thursday morning and I felt like I was drowning in a glass tube that only got smaller and smaller, tighter and tighter, and my TMJ was acting up. I’m verbally begging the pain in my left jaw to stop as my tears ricocheted off my cheeks and onto my cotton-candy pink sweater. At the same time, it also feels like I’m on dry land because my throat is pleading for water and Advil. Thoughts of the annoyances of the past scratch dangerously beneath the surface of my skin. Will somebody, please, make it stop! My eyes see something of a pink and indigo Van Gogh painting and I can almost see my blood turning green, right where the scab on my thumb is.

This, my friends, is an anxiety attack I had last week.

For once, I’m able to write down what an anxiety attack feels like for me. Also for once, I choose my choice to be a writer because it’s who I am. A few minutes later, the scab turns into nothing as I sit down at my laptop to write my manuscript for my third book (…which got picked up!).

It’s so easy to feel like we’re never enough, and forget about the ways we’ve grown. Remembering our growth can make us feel more confident about tackling the future. This month, I read more books than I ever did in one month’s time span, saw a dietician, scored a full-time job, kept my sobriety in check (I’ve been sober for one month!), drank more water, and re-started submitting my art and poetry to literary outlets.

I quoted this A Cinderella Story quote in Unstoppable | How I’ve Been After a Month’s Hiatus but the same quote still applies; “never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” In other words, don’t give up. If people are being negative around you and trying to feed off your positivity, don’t you dare let their negative, growly, bitchiness cross your line of hope for your own future and present. After all, the present is what really matters here.

How To Achieve Your Goals In 2022 Without Losing Your Mind

Hi everyone! First of all, happy New Year. Second, I don’t know about you but I *used* to suck at achieving my New Years’ resolutions. But I’ll be honest with you, the concept of a “New Year’s resolution” is crap, and I’ll tell you why; the name in it of itself sounds intimidating and it sounds like something you absolutely have to achieve, simultaneously putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. However, if you turn that phrase into just simply “goals,” it sheds the pressure.

For example, one of my goals this year is to feel better in my body by intermittent fasting and eating foods that are good for me and give me energy. I was worried at first about losing weight because I thought I’d go straight back into unhealthy eating and drinking habits. Oh yeah, and I quit drinking alcohol cold turkey, which was surprisingly easy! But if you change the phrase, “losing weight” into “being healthier,” again, it sounds less intimidating and actually fun to do! I personally recommend the app “Fastic” — it’s a free app that tracks your fasting windows and actually reminds you to DRINK WATER! If you read/listened to Atomic Habits by James Clear, you’d know that even if you start something and stick with it, whatever “it” is automatically becomes a part of your routine. Don’t get me wrong, I never took a psychology class in my life (and honestly wish that I have!) but I don’t need a psychology degree to know that when you switch a phrase, something you’re trying to achieve will actually become a fun process!

Another trick or “life hack” is choosing quality over quantity. Yes, this concept applies to your lifestyle. For example, another one of my goals is to read 52+ books this year. How do I make that sound less intimidating? I choose good books that I actually want to read, including the books I’m reading in my climate literature class this semester (yes, “cli-fi” is a real multigenre, and yes, I recommend it!). I’m not even going to stress out if I don’t make it past 52 books, as long as I’m having fun reading!

Let’s track back to health for a sec; if you’re struggling with a workout schedule, sit down with your agenda/planner/whatever and schedule when your workouts would take place. But only workout if you feel like it. You can’t force your body to do something. Listen to your body. If you work in the morning/afternoon, it’s more likely that you’ll be working out at night. I have yet to get my schedule in complete order, myself.

In summation, the key to achieving your goals is to have fun doing it, even if you have to change a phrase to wire your brain into wanting to do it.

Like always, I wish you folx godspeed in achieving your goals for 2022! Make this year better than the last two years! Commit to the “new you.”

xoxo,

April

10 Gender-Neutral Ways To Build A Better Dating Profile In 2022

I met my boyfriend on Bumble, and one of the things he told me right off the bat was that he loved the confidence I exuded in my pictures and my responses. He especially liked that I said in response to a prompt that read, “You should swipe right if you…” and I said something along the lines of “if you can find the right girl and stick to her.” We’ve been dating for almost six months.

I care about my followers. And if you are trying to find love, believe me when I say I was in your shoes. And if you’re on a dating app and you’re thinking about giving up, please DON’T. Believe me when I also say that I was sick of guys who were afraid of commitment and sent pictures of themselves on the toilet (if you’re a guy reading this, women don’t want to see the inside of your underwear — GROSS).

Without further ado, here are tips for all genders on dating apps:

  • Pick the pictures that best depict YOU — not some fake smile from a senior photo. I’m talking about your best feature, in your opinion.
  • Pick a picture of you when you were genuinely happy (e.g., graduation, in another country, etc.)
  • DON’T post a picture of yourself getting sh*t-faced or doing drugs. (PSA: please don’t do drugs.)
  • With that being said, an innocent picture of you and another person drinking something like champagne, a martini, or wine is appropriate.
  • Pick a picture of you and your friends (something recent, if applicable, I know it’s hard because we’ve been living three total years in a pandemic!).
  • DON’T post a picture of you and your ex girlfriend/boyfriend.
  • Pick a picture of you doing something you love (e.g., my boyfriend posted a picture of himself in front of BMW’s which he has a passion for — nothing more sexy than that).
  • Make your bio coherent and include what exactly you do for a living.
  • Have a witty response to one question and something serious in another.
  • If applicable, pick a picture of you and a family member, preferably a parent or mother/father figure.

I hope these help, and I wish you all godspeed on finding love in 2022!

xoxo,

April

7 Quotes By Betty White We Can Bring Into The New Year

Today, on New Year’s Eve, we lost a legend a few weeks before her 100th birthday: Betty White. All of our hearts are broken. People say that 2022 is going to “suck” without our paperweight of culture. I say, let her legacy carry into the new year and beyond. And believe me when I say that 2022 is going to be better year.

I realize that 2021 has been rough for a lot of people. As COVID surges from city to city, we have to remember this affirmation: Even though I cannot see the good in a situation, I know it’s always there. That’s not a Betty White quote, but I still have to proclaim my good word.

  1. “I have no regrets at all. None. I consider myself to be the luckiest old broad on two feet.”
  2. “Everybody needs a passion. That’s what keeps life interesting. If you live without passion, you can go through life without leaving any footprints.”
  3. “It’s not a surprise, we knew it was coming—make the most of it. So you may not be as fast on your feet, and the image in your mirror may be a little disappointing, but if you are still functioning and not in pain, gratitude should be the name of the game.”
  4. “My mother always used to say, “The older you get, the better you get. Unless you’re a banana.”
  5. “You’re never too old for anything.”
  6. “Retirement is not in my vocabulary. They aren’t going to get rid of me that way.”
  7. “You don’t fall off the planet once you pass a given age. You don’t lose any of your sense of humor. You don’t lose any of your zest for life, or your lust for life.”

This is just seven, but I do have to share this one poem that I wrote in light of her legacy:

And just like that,

Heaven is a little brighter,

all four corners are gilded,

and the four women who once

graced our televisions are together again.

— Rest in Peace, Betty White

@ AprilFederico

Happy New Year, folx.

xoxo,

April

How To Not Become A Doormat And/Or People Pleaser

I used to self-define myself as a “people pleaser,” which is not the case anymore. I am not a doormat to be walked all over. I am a human being, too, who’s just trying to be satisfied in life– my life. After all, we’re not put on this planet to “please” others.

There’s that saying, and I’m pretty sure I’ve quoted this before, “do what you love and you never have to work another day in your life.” But when you take a job, are you doing it for you? Or are you just doing it to please others? If you said yes to the latter, you’re like me: a former doormat. This is just a hypothetical example, but that’s not to say that I haven’t experienced it for myself. As a writer, I hear the words, “get a real job” ring in my ears all the time, from the first time I heard it. Who said art can’t be a job? Maybe I just needed to vent here, but it’s true. Artist, Wayne Thiebaud painted every day until he was 101 — a prime example.

I stay up after 1 a.m. writing this, with a fire in my heart and an enormous passion for what I do. Some people will call you crazy for pursuing your passion. Some people will try to tell you what to do, try to shut you up, or crap on your passions, only for the sake of pleasing their asses.

Moreover, I can’t help but feel like, when I was bullied in middle school that I let people walk all over me, just like a doormat. I let people cut me in line and hear my name mentioned to my face and behind my back. One time, I got hit in the head and let the guy get away with it, without an apology. When I was in eighth grade, it finally smacked me in the face with a textbook that I was letting all the BS happen to me. There came time when I refused to let people put their feet in the back of my chair and to move a couple of seats down for their “friends.”

The funny thing about being a “doormat,” is that people will think you’re never going to be successful. I hate to say this, but if you let people walk all over you, you will not get what you want, out of a situation or in life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to take the high road, but it’s also okay to say “thank you” after an apology when it’s certainly not “okay.” And when someone keeps asking you to do something, just say, “I can’t help you this time/anymore because…” but you don’t even have to give a reason, though a reason can help back up any argument.