Antoinette lives with type 2 diabetes and is committed to fighting the stigma surrounding it. She writes about her experience at realdiabetics.com.
I was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic about 4 years ago at the age of 42. My introduction to diabetes was quite amazing. I woke up in the ICU of the hospital to learn that my blood sugar on admission was 1315. Yes, you read that right—1315. My A1C was 18.2. I was in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
Learn about DKA
Although I had several family members with diabetes, I never thought I would become one. I believed that having a healthy diet and exercising would prevent me from developing the disease. I had been a vegetarian for almost 20 years and I was pretty active when I was diagnosed. Not only was I diabetic, but I needed to be on insulin.
During discharge I was given a sheet of paper of things to eat and things to avoid. This was supposed to be my guide for my new life. Although I was overwhelmed, I was determined that I would not let diabetes control my life. I eventually was able to discontinue insulin. I currently manage my condition with a balanced diet, exercise, stress management, and medication.
As I began to share my story with others, I soon realized that there is a dangerous stigma attached to the disease. Because type 2 diabetes is often associated with being overweight and lack of exercise, many people don’t talk about having the condition for fear that others will judge them. Meanwhile, there are over 400 million people around the world battling the disease who really need education and encouragement.
My mission is to help remove the stigma associated with diabetes and build a community of people actively seeking to improve their health despite their diagnosis.