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

What Having COVID-19 Taught Me

For the past few days now, I’ve been unfortunately gifted with COVID-19. I’m not trying to be political, even though the United States, in particular, is severely divided when it comes to the pandemic. I am lucky to be diagnosed with a breakthrough case and not with the D-variant. I’ve posted to Instagram about the issue, TikTok, and my Media Facebook page about this issue. Though it really shouldn’t be an “issue,” because an “issue” means argument. Not only has the past 18 months taught us to always be careful, be safe, and get vaccinated, the pandemic teaches valuable personal lessons. So, here is what I learned:

1. If you’re congested, get tested immediately.

I think, for me, it started as what seemed to be a cold that I thought I’d eventually get over. And I luckily “did,” or so I thought. However, I do work ungodly hours producing a morning show so I thought it was stress leaving me with a raspy voice due to a congested chest and stuffy nose. I did have a COVID scare a year ago because of that, and I thankfully tested negative at the time. It wasn’t until Saturday October 9 when I got a sore throat and what’s known as “COVID Voice” because I thought I had laryngitis. I warned my favorite YouTuber of this, and she said it was a wonderful suggestion and was one of the incredible people who wished me well.

2. Get in touch with your spirituality.

It wasn’t until last night when I cried because I felt the presence of, and don’t call me crazy, spirit guides. I began journaling regularly (as if I don’t write enough!) and watching videos by the Gem Goddess. This one video that I linked to actually made me cry. I kept hearing the words “forgive me” in my head all day, and I realized it was them trying to tell me something. But that’s another story. Talk about a divine intervention!

3. You realize who’s really there for you.

The first person I told about my diagnosis was my boyfriend and he immediately asked if I needed anything, if I had symptoms, and to be safe. I don’t think anyone realizes this, but when people tell you to “be safe,” it’s another way of saying “I love you.” I received an outpour of support from those who really want to see me better and showed genuine concern.

4. Show your body you love it.

If you treat your body poorly when you’re sick, do you really love yourself? Even though I would’ve liked to have a glass of wine or eat junk food when sick, it’s imperative that you put nutrients in your body. I’ve started taking vitamins religiously and I’ve taken to drinking hot lemon water with honey; it makes you sweat like a pig, but it WORKS. Also, be sure to take a shower at night because nighttime is when you feel worse because your body is shutting down for bedtime.

Having COVID is sobering and it is not fun. But I can tell you this: I am grateful that I nor my family members are on ventilators and that we can all breathe on our own. Tell God, guides, the universe — whatever feels right to you — and tell your own body “thank you.” And tell yourself, “we did it,” “we got this,” and/or “I love you.”

Be well, my friends. I’ll be producing loads of overdue content for y’all.

April

15 Healthier Habits To Have After 15 Months

When COVID-19 happened, I found it hard to find a steady routine to live by every day, and it was harder because my then-work schedule would change like a girl changes clothes. Besides, the job was taking its toll on my mental health. But then, after 15 months of the pandemic and year of grad school, I decided that it was time to put the beer and wine aside and get my act together. Yes, I seldom drink now. #Wins

Building healthier habits isn’t the only way to practice self-love. Self-love also requires accepting yourself for who you are, and that includes your flaws as well as opening up to them. Maybe it’s because people weren’t at their best during the pandemic, but self-improvement became a vast movement. Me? I just chose to do it on my own terms, not society’s. Besides, how many people actually say they’re going to ostensibly “improve” themselves and actually do it? The answer is very, very few.

That’s the thing about habits; they’re easy to build and harder to kick. When it comes to health and wellness, they’re actually harder to build and and harder to kick. But it slowly gets better over time. Healthy habits CAN be easy to build and to keep! For me? It took about a week to be less dependent on alcohol. But since getting the app, Fit On, I’m more cognizant of what I choose to put in my body. That isn’t to say that you can’t have a strawberry margarita at your local Mexican restaurant with churros and warm chocolate dip for dessert. That’s just simply depriving yourself of having fun!

Some habits include:

  1. Waking up at 6 a.m. (or any time before 11).
  2. Getting a morning workout in. I do yoga and meditation, preferably outside.
  3. If you can’t work out, just simply stretch.
  4. Shower, if needed or just pat-dry your face
  5. Having coffee or tea (whichever you prefer, just don’t drink too much caffeine!)
  6. Have a protein shake or something healthy for breakfast.
  7. Reading.
  8. Communicating however which way with the people you love, even if it’s just checking in.
  9. Soaking up a healthy amount of Vitamin D.
  10. Taking vitamins.
  11. Dancing around in your room to a killer playlist (I personally adore Lana Del Rey).
  12. Getting dressed.
  13. Taking a walk or run and getting in a certain amount of steps.
  14. Spending time with your sweetie and/or friends.
  15. Drink water! I like mine in a glass with a wedge of lime or lemon to boost my metabolism.

As cliche as this sounds, your body really is the only one you have. Treat it well. After all, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Build good habits for you and only you. If this serves as motivation for you, well, that’s just fantastic!

Good luck, my loves.

xoxo, April

15 Things To Do To Survive Quarantine

It feels like we’ve lived a full year in the past week, doesn’t it? And it’s only March 19th! So another thing happened, Tom Brady is no longer a Patriot, but a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. I promise this post will be less of a “brain dump” and “trying-to-process” post, like Thoughts on the Coronavirus: is 2020 the new 2012? No, we are afraid of fear, itself. The past two weeks have been turbulence of emotions and uncertainty. I just got off a Zoom “tech rehearsal” for my Senior Art Studio class, and I have to say, it’s better than nothing.

But other than that, here are some good tips on how to survive “staying at home” which is now referred to by the CDC as “quarantine.”

  1. Have a Chick Flick marathon!
  2. Have a horror movie marathon!
  3. Get take-out from Chomp
  4. Support artists
  5. Take a virtual tour of Versailles (I did that in person 6 years ago!)
  6. Download a book from NYPL
  7. Take virtual tours of art museums
  8. Start from a stack of books you have in your room already and work your way down! I recommend anything written by Rebecca Serle, especially In Five Years!
  9. Learn how to bake and cook!
  10. Facetime a friend/significant other
  11. Watch anything on Disney+
  12. Stop perusing social media so much! This only gets on your nerves more!
  13. Spend some time with your pets, especially if you have a cat like mine
  14. Do yoga at home
  15. Meditate

2020: the year people will (hopefully) understand mental health

I’ve been dealing with anxiety and other illnesses my whole life, and it sucks. It sucks because you feel like a burden in addition to feeling judged 24/7. Don’t forget about overthinking, it’s terrible. I’ll admit I’m not as uptight as I used to be about mental health 6 or some years ago, and I wasn’t always a bubbly, confident force to be reckoned with. Mental health is something I learn to navigate, figure out, and educate myself about each and every day. But after 5 years of college, I’ve grown to be fed up about people not understanding mental illness and how much of an impact it can have on someone’s daily life.

After asking the following questions on Instagram, using anxiety as an example. Anxiety, in my opinion, is by far the hardest for other people to understand unless they have it. I posed the question on Instagram: “If you have anxiety, what do you do about it?” Responses varied:

  1. “Journal, listen to music, get outside & talk about it!” — B.C.
  2. “Deep breaths, then unplug from technology for at least an hour, and then exercise!” — Anonymous.

I then asked, “What would you say to people who clearly don’t ‘get it’?” And one person said:

“They don’t have to ‘get it’ but just be respectful of those with anxiety.”

That alone is a perfect response. Is anyone really going to understand anxiety? Or mental illness at large? The answer is “hopefully.” It’s amazing and astonishing how many people can be so ignorant of mental illness. For some people, it’s a hard pill to swallow, and even when they slug it down, it still wouldn’t process. For example, when I have bad days, they’re awful. It’s not like I choose to dive off the deep end. I’ve had people tell me I’m “wasting time” when I’m dealing with something internal when I could be doing something else. That’s unfortunately not how it works. For some, if not a lot of people, mental health can be crippling. It matters just as much as physical health.

What I didn’t realize was that today is Bell Let’s Talk Day. The title of this day alone made me think of the aspect of talking to others. No one should be forced to talk about their mental health. In fact, that violates medical laws. There are some people who don’t even believe in therapy, and that’s okay, too. Everyone has different ways of dealing with mental health. There is no “one way.” Think of the roots of a tree. They sprout in all different directions. Then there are the branches, which do the same. There’s a root cause for why someone may be upset, anxious, depressed — anything! Then you have your whole body which can react in several different ways. Some people can’t get out of bed. Some people choose to isolate themselves. Some people choose to go for a run. Some people immediately get on the phone to book an appointment with a therapist. In the end, it’s up to you what you decide to do.

January was a rough month for everybody, so let us hope that for the rest of 2020, people will learn to understand mental health.

 

BLOG-MAS TUESDAY: April’s Guide to Surviving Finals Week

Taking a break from writing a paper, and currently wrapped up in the stress of finals week. Finals week can be tough, especially when there’s a lot to do. I only have two written finals, but this paper for African Literature has my eyes red and puffy and my stomach in knots. I feel like that acne commercial with Emma Roberts: “I stress out then I break out… then I stress out even more!” Unintentionally said finals week can make your skin break out like no other. 🎶So, you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I’m telling you why: FINALS WEEK IS GOING TO BE OKAY!🎶

  1.  Let it all out when you need to do so. By that, I mean cry. Crying is healthy. It doesn’t help when it’s all bottled up.
  2. Don’t leave things to the last minute.
  3. Drink WATER 💦 no one can live on just coffee.
  4. With that being said, eat your nutrients. I’m not talking about fatty foods but get some stirfry, eggs, or sushi. Don’t skip a meal — it’s not good for you!
  5. Book a meeting with your therapist or counselor, if you have one.
  6. If you have a job on campus, I’m sure your supervisor won’t mind if you take an hour off to do final projects.
  7. Take your medications and/or vitamins.
  8. Go to your school’s tutoring center if you have last-minute finals questions.
  9. Take Reading Days to your full advantage and STUDY.
  10. Take care of your skin. I use KORRES Wild Rose Vitamin C Brightening Sleeping Facial.
  11. Clear a little space in your dorm/room/apartment (no matter where you live while going to school). Studies have shown that having a cluttered room increases anxiety.
  12. Reward yourself with a glass of white/red wine after finals, a day with your sweetheart, or a much-needed nap. You deserve it all!

If you’re stressing about grades, just know that they really are just grades, but you WILL pass finals, I garauntee you.

Here’s some inspirational quotes that’ll hopefully lift your spirits:

Good luck!

xoxo

April 💕