Confessions of a Diabetic: Healthcare Is A Human Right

I hardly ever get political on this platform. But as a lifestyle blogger and influencer, it’s important to be an advocate for causes that I care about — especially when they have to do with human rights. In fact, I was once on a (very) beaten path of becoming a human rights attorney. But after many contemplations, writing and publishing is my truest path to success and overall fulfillment.

Moreover, I need to have a heart-to-heart. Yesterday (Fri., March 18 2022) I was on the phone, dialing multiple numbers, on the hunt for new, possible, and competent PCP’s whom I could actually rely on for my recent diabetes diagnosis. What’s coincidental, but also in divine timing, is that I had received a DM from a friend from high school. One of the imperative and truest thing(s) she wrote to me was that being a young woman and finding compassionate healthcare is challenging, but advocating yourself is the most important thing.

But come to think of it, getting compassionate and competent healthcare as a young woman is more than challenging. It is like the Hunger Games, essentially. But why should we have to fight for something that is a human right?

It bothers me greatly that the United States is ostensibly the leader of the free world, yet we are so far behind in healthcare. Is it out of laziness? Is it because everything is supposed to be a joke? Well, when it comes to healthcare, getting medication for your condition — no matter what it/they may be — should not be a problem, nonetheless a battle.

It bothers me, especially because this past week alone, I had to pay out of pocket for my diabetic equipment just so I can test my blood sugar. Why? I have no access to my endocrinologist until the end of the month of April. So until then, I don’t know who I have to slay in order to get proper refills that insurance will cover. I realize this is more information than anyone will really need to know. However, I am a storyteller, after all. And for me, being a storyteller is the one way I get my voice across for issues that are important to me.

As a member of the American Diabetes Association, I chose to do my civic duty and email my Rhode Island senator, congressman, and representative. Thus far, I’ve received word from Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse. What struck me, particularly from Senator Whitehouse’s letter, is the following:

Dr. Frederick Banting discovered insulin 100 years ago and sold the drug’s patent for $1, reportedly saying, “Insulin does not belong to me, it belongs to the world.”  Unfortunately, Dr. Banting’s hopes of insulin being affordable and accessible to all have not been realized.  Between 2012 and 2016, the annual cost of insulin nearly doubled.  Today, many Americans struggle to pay for insulin, some resorting to deadly rationing in order to afford this costly drug. 

– Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Ahh, how we all wish for simpler times when the basic necessities would cost less than $5. (That’s even less than gas prices nowadays — ugh!) I’m no expert in the depths of American history or economics, so I do have to pose the question: when did basic necessities become inaccessible?

I also have to say, I am scared once I eventually run out of my (short) supply of insulin. It doesn’t help that I am worried about my blood glucose levels constantly. But you can say that my “American Dream” has been modified to fit my current situation. How do we make our “American Dream” come true? Most people would say we “work to live,” but making your voice heard is imperative, too. Think about it.

xoxo,

a very fed-up April 💙

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. 💖 Connections matter!

xoxo,

April