Category Archives: Stories

Write Right about Diabetes

There are a few things that irk me about articles that I see written about diabetes.

Where to begin? Well, let’s give you my credentials and my “right” to be upset about this. I’m not really upset as much as I am just bothered. I’m sure these articles have great information, however, when you’re writing wrong about something I know so well about, I stop reading.

So, here are my credentials.

  • Person with Type 1 diabetes since the age of 7, which is approximately 23 years.
  • Diagnosed as having juvenile diabetes or diabetes mellitus.
  • Journalist with an M.S. in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Reporter for 3 years.
  • Professional writer since 2008.
  • Editor for 2 years.
  • Freelancer since 2007.
  • Blogger since 2011.

So accuracy, writing and creating well-rounded pieces on diabetes is kind of second nature to me. I’m not bragging, since these pieces of information can be found on my bios, on Facebook, Twitter and numerous other outlets. I’m literally showing you why I’m going to complain about this in a second.

It’s November, which means it’s National Diabetes Awareness Month and an array of diabetes articles have been published left and right about things that the DOC, or diabetes online community, have known about for years. YEARS.

I saw an article recently about how medical professionals are now calling diabetes an epidemic. However, this term didn’t just start this year. Diabetes has carried epidemic traits for a long time. People are just noticing now.

So here’s my list of things to do should you decide to take on the mission of writing about diabetes:

  • We are people with diabetes, or PWDs. We are not diabetics. Since diabetic is an adjective for objects, it doesn’t necessarily apply to people. We are not things. Take a gander:
    • People with diabetes have diabetic supplies.
    • Diabetic comas, diabetic ketoacidosis, diabetic socks
  • This disease is not foreign to the world. Don’t write like it’s foreign and don’t write about it like it’s something that people have never heard of.
    • Write to educate the community. If you’re talking about new technology, write like you’re excited about it, not like it’s an alien species.
    • Put forth credible information that explains when statistics were collected and who is collecting them.
    • Don’t trust the first thing you read. Please.
  • Get to know the community. We’re here! And we’re not curing our diseases any time soon.
    • Find us on Twitter, join groups on Facebook, ask questions and get real answers.
  • Yes, there are four types of diabetes and none of them is “worse” than another. They’re generally all the same.
    • BUT there are various strains of the disease. Yep. There are ALL DIFFERENT TYPES!

I don’t want to discourage people from writing about it. It’s a nice challenge for a lot of people, including myself. When I wrote about the epidemic and all the different types for a publication, I realized just how difficult it was to write a piece for the general population, that’s full of myths, fake cures and, quite frankly, lies. It’s a full on effort to set people straight about all the things that revolve around the disease and having the disease. Sometimes, it’s overbearing.

Try living with it.

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Filed under Diabetes, Health, Stories

As Long As I’m Alive…

There is not one day that goes by where I’m not affected by this internal bully of a disease. More like an annoying, know-it-all friend who won’t shut up. It feels like no matter what you say, you’ll never be right, even if you really, truly thought you were. Not to mention that they’re always challenging your knowledge and throw a wrench in your plans, and the next thing you know, you feel like you’ve been through an emotional roller coaster and you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

It’s almost like a bad relationship. Neglect leads to fights, which lead to emotional bouts in your head, leading you to cry tears of frustration, feeling like you don’t know what you can do to fix it and eventually dreading the future with your partner. You get tired and burn out. There is no relief, there is no consoling or anyone to tell you it’s going to be all right, because honestly, you don’t even know it’s going to be all right.

Don’t forget the good days. Those are a double-edged sword. You celebrate the wonderful communication, the fact that it all worked out for the day, and you hope that in 24-48 hours, you feel the same way: happy, warm and balanced.

The internal conversation is messy. If anyone else heard it, they’d think you were nuts. You blame yourself for things that sometimes are truly out of your control. You try to think ahead to guess on what the outcome will be in four hours only to be incredibly off kilter with what your “opponent” is trying to do to you. Yes, it feels like it’s out to get you and throw you off on purpose. “We’re on the same team!” you scream at yourself. “Why is this so hard?”

Don’t get me wrong. Diabetes is sometimes my best friend and we get along. Other times, I bitch about it like there’s no tomorrow and yet other times, I want to punch it in the gut and leave it agonizing over what it’s done to me. Fortunately, for me and diabetes, it is not a person who I can harm.

When you feel out of control, sadly, shame comes upon you. I’m telling you, the more I think about it, having a chronic disease is really like having a bad partner. At times you don’t want to even talk about it for fear of what other people are going to say. “Why do you do that to yourself?” “Why isn’t it working?” “Maybe you just have to take a step back and breathe.” That’s what I think to tell my friends when they’re having relationship issues and it applies to me as well. Ridiculous, huh?

However, this comparison also goes to show you just how emotional and psychological diabetes is on someone. Though it might not seem that bad or you think it’s linear and systematic, it’s not. Every day it’s something new. Whether it’s administrative like ordering prescriptions, verifying insurance, having organizations say they don’t want to cover you or worrying about what you have to pay out-of-pocket to miscalculating carbohydrates, eating too much fruit, having your tubing kink, running out of strips or explaining what the beeper on my hip is for, I deal with some aspect of my diabetes every day.

I’m not complaining. I’m really not. But between letting it out and trying to stay balanced on my own, I really want a break. Other times though, when I’m feeling low and lonely, I’ll settle for a hug.

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Precaution: Diabetes in the Mainstream

A couple of days ago, I caught the episode of “Two Broke Girls” after hearing that there was a “diabetic” on the show. Y’all know how about I feel about that word, and if you don’t, read about it here. Anyway, when I heard that there was a PWD on the show, I had to watch it. The first thing I thought was, “I can’t wait to spot all the errors they’re about to commit!” Especially because, well, that’s what usually happens. We read, see, hear something that’s totally wrong, inconsistent and sometimes unsettling.

TwoBrokeGirlsIn the episode, Max decides to go to pastry school and meets Dick, I think his name was. They make jokes about their instructor and at one point when they get kicked out of the class, they start talking and he shows his fanny pack with syringes and insulin. They make a joke about him being “diabetic” and a pastry chef. He ends up liking Max and goes to the extreme of not taking his insulin so that he goes into… and this is where it gets weird.

While Max is talking to her roommate Caroline, Dick falls over (why? Because apparently he’s going into shock? Or just acting it out) and the head Chef asks if anyone knows how to administer a shot. Max proceeds to just pull out a syringe and shoot him up. After she’s done, he stands up like nothing happened, claiming that he didn’t take his insulin so that Max could be his partner (since she knows how to give shots). What a guy! He must REALLY like her.

OK, what do we know about diabetes? First of all, we know that high blood sugar creeps up on you and as a person with Type 1 diabetes, you’ll feel that and have symptoms. Secondly, bouncing back from a high blood sugar takes at least a half hour because you feel crappy and you need time for the insulin to be absorbed in your body. And lastly, how did she know how much insulin to administer? We should also make note that when your blood sugars are that high, you want to test your blood sugar to figure out just how much insulin to give yourself. The last thing you want to do is “roller-coaster” your body and drop immensely.

Although diabetes is popping up in sitcoms and other general market areas that a wider audience can see, the information pushed out should be correct. Maybe he was pulling everyone’s leg and it was a joke, but it should never be treated as such. Administering insulin is such a serious thing that it came up in a court case in California as recent as August, ruling that schools can administer insulin without a nurse.

I’m glad that people are talking about it and that it’s casual enough to stick it in a sitcom; especially Type 1 diabetes. People should talk about it more, but you also have to know that what you see isn’t always the truth.

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Having Vitiligo AND Diabetes: How I’ve Dealt

Happy World Diabetes Day everyone! Instead of writing about something that everyone is writing about right now (something along the lines of “What Diabetes Day means to me”) I decided that I would open up about something completely different.

I haven’t written about this and it might be because I was afraid to. Sometimes when I think about the issues that I face, health-wise, I get upset. Upset, agitated, bitter—basically, everything that a person with diabetes goes through on their own without any other issues on top of it, yeah. That’s normal for people like us. Diabetes has become part of my normal life. It’s a part of me that I have grown up with and have adjusted to. But what happens when you develop something else, later in life, that you have to actually cope with?

I feel like I never really had to “cope” with diabetes because it was always there. I knew no difference. But when I recently started developing vitiligo, it worried me. What is vitiligo you ask? Well, it is a skin condition where you turn white. Remember Michael Jackson’s skin condition? Yeah, same one. It’s not contagious, it happens slowly, there are no other health repercussions because of it, but it is considered an autoimmune disease.

The doctors love to throw at me like this: It’s an autoimmune disease and you have Type 1 diabetes so, it kind of makes sense. And I come back with: No, it doesn’t because I have Type 1B which is not autoimmune diabetes, so learn to ask questions and get your facts straight before you assume. OK, that’s not how I responded but it’s how I would have LOVED to.

Earlier this year, approximately in May, I noticed the skin around my mouth lightening. I originally thought 1381949_587130964679416_1936705440_nit was just dry skin so I started putting moisturizer on more often. However, little by little, I noticed other areas of my face lightening as well.
Then the summer came full blast. And you know what happens when the summer gets here? I get toasty. I’m a tan person, if you’ve ever met me and I’ve always taken pride in the fact that I could soak up the sun like a sponge and display the golden color all throughout the winter months.

Well, when it comes to my face, that is no longer. People have tried to make me feel better about it, saying they don’t notice it or that it doesn’t change the way I look. But initially when it was spreading (which it does very quickly within the first few months), I couldn’t stand the sight of myself. I looked weird. I couldn’t go outside without makeup on. And something started to happen that hardly ever happens to me– I started feeling sorry for myself.

A few months later, I realized, “Well, who am I to be pissed off? If God thinks that I don’t need a working pancreas or a solid colored face, well then, I don’t need it.” I got over the issues that I was facing. Quite literally. The fact that I wasn’t going to be able to get an even tan during the summer didn’t phase me any more. It was just my face. It didn’t change my personality, my insight or my drive or ambition. I was the same person, regardless of what color my skin was. This isn’t even a racial issue!

I have little spots on different parts of my body now. It’s not spreading too terribly fast either. I decided to Google vitiligo the other day and found another completely different community. It was overwhelming. But nevertheless, the fact that I have diabetes also helped me to get over it. I have worked so hard on keeping myself healthy that a skin condition with no deathly repercussions wasn’t going to phase me. In fact, it showed me how vain I was.

Looks mean absolutely nothing and if I was too conceited or vain or worried about my looks, I can’t be now. Friends have told me that I’m still pretty, others have said they don’t notice it and I think the best comment was, “When I look at you, I see beauty. That’s all I see.” Well, I can’t argue with that, now can I?

I still have to be careful in the sun. I’ve seen a dermatologist for the vitiligo and they suggested that I try light treatment that my insurance is fighting with me to pay for. Yeah. That’s never going to get old. I’m also using an ointment for my skin. As much as it might scare some people, it doesn’t take priority in my life. It just doesn’t. I have more important things to worry about, like blood sugar levels, thinking like my pancreas and living life.

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Filed under Complications, Diabetes, Doctors, Health, Stories, Treatments

…But You’re Different…

“But see… you actually take care of yourself…”

I’m different. I said that in my last blog. I know I am because I have something that not a lot of people have. Even less among Latinos. See, I’ve got a rare type of diabetes. I know I’ve mentioned this to a lot of different people. I have not just Type 1, but I have Type 1b that has been shown to be developed due to an environmental cause, like a virus. It is not autoimmune.

1150243_595264203866092_1089546014_nAmong Latinos, among Mexican-Americans, diabetes affects 18 percent of the population. It’s a pretty high number and that was back in 2010. I’m waiting for new numbers to come out since I’ve been reporting on the same ones from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s time to update those digits because I know diabetes is affecting a lot more that 25 million Americans; I can feel it.

So within my community where Type 2 diabetes is most talked about (so much that many don’t realize there are different types) as just “diabetes” there is a certain misunderstanding of what I’ve got going on. It’s hard for people to understand what I go through and why I go through it since I’m not old or overweight and I look like I’m in pretty good shape.

When I tell my story, they look at me as if they’re proud of me and say, “That’s so good of you! You keep doing good and keep yourself healthy.” I get that from a lot of people with Type 2. I end up telling them that I’m fine; I know how to take care of myself. It’s them that I’M worried about.

The downside to having Type 1 is that anything can go wrong at any time. It’s actually pretty dumb. I mean, you can be doing just fine, numbers fine and everything and still have traces of protein in your urine. That’s bad, by the way. Protein should not leave your body. Ever. Or have bleeding behind your eye. That’s the worst, especially when you hear, “That’s because of your diabetes. At least it’s not affecting your vision.” I get chills just thinking about it.

There are still issues that I have to face and I usually face them alone. Why? Because people see me and I look fine and healthy and cool. “You’re different. You actually take care of yourself.” Yeah, that’s true, but it’s still something that I have to be weary of.

Look, I’m not saying that anyone should take pity on me, because I don’t want it. What I’m saying is that having diabetes is just as serious whether it’s Type 1, Type 2, LADA, Gestational or anything else. I need and want people to know about my diabetes just in case. It sucks to think about it that way, but it’s true.

Also, when I’m talking to people about it, I want them to listen and to learn about what is affecting me and my body and what I think about because usually, I’m telling people I care about an I hope they care about me enough to listen. It can also help people that they know, not just me.

The truth of the matter is, is that if you have it well controlled, people don’t think it’s a big deal. And then, as I mentioned in a previous blog, should something go wrong, you’re to blame for it because you must have done something wrong.

Maybe I’m just complaining here, but disorders like diabetes should be acknowledged and almost respected. I don’t want people to pity me and I want them to understand just how much effort it takes to make my body “GO.” Is that selfish of me? It might be.

It also comes from issues that I’ve had in the past. Once, I had sharp pains in my abdomen. The doctors said it was another serious disease that only affects men between the ages of 35-45. I was 23. The doctor said he was 95 percent sure he was right. My mom screamed second opinion.

The day that I committed myself into the local hospital in Urbana, I had to beg a neighbor to take me. “I have a meeting with my professor that I can’t miss,” she told me. I stood in front of her in pain. “Can you just drop me off? You don’t even have to come in with me. Just drop me off,” I begged her. The last thing I wanted to do was take a taxi to the hospital and I was in so much pain.

Later I ended up getting my gallbladder taken out and that was the end of that. No other disease. No more problems. Weird? Yep.

The last time, I was severely dehydrated. It took will power to get myself to a point of being OK after my insulin wasn’t getting to me due to a bent cannula. I was throwing up and was too weak to go anywhere. I asked a few people if they could come and just be with me, in case I didn’t stop throwing up and had to go to the hospital. No one accepted my charming invitation.

“But you’re fine,” I was told. That’s not the point! Doesn’t anyone get it?

Maybe it’s these experiences that have jaded me into thinking that I deserve some kind of attention. Maybe it’s these experiences that have got me thinking that I’m superwoman. Maybe it’s these experiences that have me believing that I can do anything, alone, and not be limited by my disorder, the fact that I’m a woman or even, even my body.

When you take care of yourself, even others see you as a champ; invincible. Is that good? Is that bad? It doesn’t make me have diabetes any less. It just means that the complications are kept at bay. I may be different in multiple ways, but I have and will always have diabetes. Just because of that, I’m one of 25 million others in the United States.

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Filed under Complications, Diabetes, Health, Hospitals, Latinos, Personal, Stories

‘Diabetic’ and what it means to me

According to Webster’s Dictionary:

di·a·bet·ic– adjective \ˌdī-ə-ˈbe-tik\

: affected with diabetes

: caused by diabetes

: suitable for people with diabetes

IMAG2827_1_1And because of this, I have a bone to pick. See, diabetic is an adjective as stated above, however when people say that I’m a “diabetic” it goes a lot deeper and almost feels offensive. Does that make sense? The feeling offensive part, I mean.

For a lot of people, they look at diabetes as a handicap, a disability, something that makes you abnormal. Sure, my pancreas is broken, like Kelly Kunik said on her Facebook status recently, but it doesn’t mean I am. When you say that I’m “diabetic” you’re telling me that that’s all I am.

“You’re a diabetic. You can’t have that.”

Correction: I’m a person with diabetes and I can have whatever I want. Is it good for me? Probably not. But “normal” people shouldn’t be eating it either, regardless of a working pancreas.

Along with that, I cannot stand the last definition “suitable for people with diabetes.” Listen, Webster, there are a lot of things that are suitable for me and of which I am suitable for. Don’t go limiting what I can have and what I can’t. This goes a long way in our daily lives as people who live with diabetes. There’s diabetic cookbooks (really? You mean HEALTHY cookbooks?) and diabetic candy (just say sugar-free because hey, it’s better for your teeth) and diabetic socks ( I mean, anyone can wear those right? What if my mom, who’s not a person with diabetes, thinks they’re warm. Can she not wear them?). I can go on and on and on about this. Don’t go limiting my way of life because you want to market and make money off of me.

The only time I’ve ever found “diabetic” suitable is when someone talks about a “diabetic educator.” I mean, you can also say that we have “diabetic conversations” via #DSMA on Wednesdays. What else? Diabetic comas, diabetic anxiety, diabetic dilemmas, diabetic problems. I mean, the list goes on and on because I use it as an ADJECTIVE not a NOUN people! I’m a Diabetic Grammar Nazi! (I actually like that one.)

Quite honestly, about 15 years ago when my doctors told me I was not normal was the day I said I was. Listen, I have abnormally high BLOOD SUGAR. I, on the other hand, am not abnormal. See the difference?

I would rather be abnormal anyway and all diabetes aside, I still am in other ways. In addition to all of this, I’m a rebel for dismissing anything at the store with “Diabetic” in the title. Why? Because I wasn’t going to limit myself to something that said it was for me. It’s not for me. I know what’s good for me and I can manage to eat things out of a regular “Mexican Cookbook” or “30 Easy Recipe” cookbook. Are you going to tell me to eat less salt? Substitute fake Splenda and Equal for regular granulated sugar? Use Greek yogurt instead of vegetable oil (which is amazing in cakes, by the way)? I’m already five steps ahead of you.

My favorite is when you go to the stores and hear someone say, “This looks good!” Then the other person responds, “It says diet. It’s for diabetics not for you.” Listen, señora, you might want to take the diet one anyway. The biggest difference might be less carbohydrates, less sugar and better for your body– but you know, since you’re normal, have the regular kind instead.

Look, people with diabetes (PWDs) live like everyone should live. We eat in moderation (many of us), we limit our sugar intake (ok, sometimes) and we exercise to get the blood sugars down so we can eat more delicious foods. If you need help in making better nutritional decisions for yourself, see a nutritionist and if you have diabetes, see a diabetic educator so you can learn how to count your carbs.

For the rest of us, leave us alone. You just WISH you had the same will power and discipline we do. If that’s abnormal, so be it.

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Filed under Culture, Diabetes, Food, Health, Stories

From ‘What Do I Do?’ to ‘How Do I Handle?’

Don’t know if you’ve ever had to deal with the initial pity party. You know, when you say, “I have diabetes,” and then the person says, “Oh, I’m so sorry!” When they proceed to ask the details that go as deep as “How long have you had it?” and you say, “Oh for about 21 years now,” they suddenly change their mind about you.

Look, I’ve been around it all my life, have had to deal with shots and not being able to eat certain things. I’ve had high blood sugars and low blood sugars, have cried because of low blood sugar, have drank like a camel because of high blood sugar and I’m just fine. I don’t need your pity party or the fact that you’re sorry for me.

I got a question, though, one time about coping. How did I cope? I don’t know if I ever fully felt a burden enough to cope. I just did because that’s what I was told and then learned how to do. There was a certain age where I learned more and was educated about my diabetes but along with that I feel that I’m still trying to figure out how to handle this thing I have. This issue that I live with.

I’ve been using the pump for about three years, and it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve had more problems with it. Whether it’s bent cannulas or dead spots on my own body that no longer absorb insulin, there are problems and with that, figuring out how to manage, cope and grow with it. To say the least, it’s a pain in the ass.

But there’s nothing like getting blamed for the mishaps. A bent cannula and all of a sudden you get asked, why didn’t you know? Maybe YOU did something wrong. How much good is that thing if you don’t even know if it’s working?

Trust me! Don’t you think I listen to those thoughts in my head every day and I’m trying to figure out the same thing plus trying to figure out how to get myself to feel like a normal person?!

There are times when it’s a burden and there are times when everything is OK and sometimes it feels like it will be a never-ending roller coaster of a life that you just have to ride sometimes. It’s a pain in the major butt, to tell you the truth.

Someone else asked if I used humor in my blogs. I don’t know if I use humor, per say, but I know that blogging gets me feeling like I’m thinking things out and it keeps me sane. Do I laugh, sure. But I also feel like the truth is harsh and ugly. I try not to think about how I feel but rather, I feel my logic take over and what I know about my body to help me fix whatever problem I have. People run to doctors too often whereas I feel that the doctors have taught me things in order to take care of myself. I’ve paid attention.

Having diabetes is an ever-changing and growing process and I learn every time my body goes through a tumultuous episode. It happens to all of us.

But when we’re literally knocked down, you must have the mental power to bring yourself back up and keep going. You really have no other choice.

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Filed under Diabetes, Health, History, Insulin, Personal, Stories

My Tangent: The Chaos That Is Diabetes

2013-06-22 11.50.29I haven’t been here in a while, I know. I’ve been too busy writing in other blogs and editorial mediums for this little blog of mine. But alas! I am here and I’m ready to tell a couple of stories about diabetes and my travels to Mexico, lindo y querido.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been back from Mexico City and Guerrero, two places that I hold very dear to my heart. I’ve written about my travels and how I felt from a cultural standpoint, but I didn’t really discuss the health issues that I saw and that have emerged since I’ve gotten back.

In recent news, a study emerged from the UN stating that over 32 percent of Mexicans are obese and 70 percent are overweight. I can’t say that I didn’t see this. I did. Very much. Because of this weight problem, almost the same that we see here in the United States, we see a sharp increase in Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. The two go hand in hand.

Articles talking about this issue have stated over and over again that it’s due to malnutrition that Mexicans are overweight. Though this may be true in smaller towns and rural areas, where people eat the cheapest option (mostly chips, candy and pop), in Mexico City it’s not so much malnutrition as a sedentary lifestyle where people are sitting more behind desks than they are harvesting their crops in the field.

Experts and journalists can claim a lot of different issues, but the truth is, when you visit Mexico it’s hard to tell the difference between Mexican communities on this side of the border and actual neighborhoods in Mexico City. There are Burger Kings, Starbucks, McDonald’s and KFCs down there now. And since people look to American “restaurants” as a luxury, they start eating it. Granted, the food down there is healthier than what you find up here. Even the fast food.

Though, we have to think about the violence and turbulence in the country as a whole and how that may even be preventing people from being healthy. It must be taken into consideration, especially when the issue of malnutrition and poverty is at hand.

My Tía Irene making quesadillas.

My Tía Irene making quesadillas.

When I was down there for the week, I ate four times a day until I was ready to pop. Each time I ate, I took the exact amount of insulin and four hours later, my blood sugar dropped as it should and it was time to eat again. Oh, the freshness! My tía would go into town in the morning to buy food for breakfast. It was a daily trip to take to make fresh food that would go bad in two days. Can you imagine that?

The difference between here and there is that their naturally grown food is coming from seed that’s not necessarily genetically manufactured and not grown in bulk. Since growing natural food here is a business, how do you know there is any nutrition left in the lettuce, spinach and corn that we’re eating? If Mexicans stuck to natural foods, they would be a lot healthier. Me, I can live on fruit!

The other issue is corn. Maize is the livelihood of Mexicans. You can make anything with corn and it’s almost in every dish. It’s heavy and has carbs and a lot of the time the food made with corn is fried. What do you get? Larger waistlines and bad teeth.

It’s all about balance and what Mexican people are not learning is that balance. There were few people running around the park when I was out there. I would also bet money that violence has a lot to do with the reason why people are staying inside. Farmers are no longer needing to work because they are out of jobs. Why? NAFTA. OK, that’s an easy scapegoat, but in reality, farmers are out of jobs because countries like the United States are selling their corn much cheaper than the cost of living in Mexico. We grow in bulk, have everything manufactured and have capitalized on capitalization.

I sat there and thought about the chain of issues that are caused and how in the end, leads to fatter people and a growing epidemic in a country that doesn’t need it. There are many other political thoughts that go through my head when thinking about these issues, but nonetheless, I need to keep a focus.

El Naranjo, Gro., Mexico from a rooftop.

El Naranjo, Gro., Mexico from a rooftop.

A good family friend that we stayed with who is in her 70s was telling me about how she was diagnosed with Type 2 about 15 years ago, maybe more. She explained how she had to go to classes to learn about management and nutrition. Because she was scared to lose limbs and die, she took steady care of herself and didn’t need to be on any medication. Then she found out her daughter was moving out of the house without being married (obviously, a big NO NO) and her emotional distress elevated her blood sugar levels to the point that she had to return to medication.

She’s convinced her diabetes is stress and emotion related. Whatever it is, she’s doing well now. She goes to the doctor and manages herself with oral medication. The fear put her in her place in terms of education and treating herself well. She’s now at a point where she knows her body and knows what she can’t eat and what she can’t. Everything in moderation.

Her daughter was recently diagnosed with Type 2 as well and is at the same point she was: afraid. I said, I’ve been living with it for over 20 years and I’m fine. You just have to know your body. She also told me that her doctor said not to be afraid of insulin. I said, nope! Don’t be! I’ve been on it since I was diagnosed and I can still see! The myth there is that if you start on insulin, you’ll go blind. Every Type 1 knows that’s a lie.

I talked about this last night on DSMA en Vivo in Spanish with Mila Ferrer, my co-host. Listen to it if you speak Spanish. Other than that, I’m done with my rant and I’ll see you all next time I get inspired!

 

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Filed under Culture, Diabetes, Food, Health, Latinos, Stories

Untired Inspiration: Educational Creativity

Whether I’m watching the work of other talented Latinas or talking about work with talented Latinos, I feel like I’m always inspired. It doesn’t cease. My mind is always going, always working, always thinking about what to do to make the world a better place, how I can help make the community better, how I can be of service to those who think they don’t need my help.

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Mural in Pilsen, across the street from Dvorak Park | Pablo Serrano

I have the pleasure of living and interacting with some of the most talented people in Chicago that many might know but few get to encounter the way I encounter them on a weekly basis. I am a privileged artist among artists because of the people I speak to. Sometimes I might not get the work done that I need to get done. I might have to work on something, take a phone call and be aware of my time management, but I am also learning so much more than I can from keeping to myself and talking to my computer.

I find that building community and interacting with people who I find fascinating  who can teach me a thing or two about the place in which I live helps me to be healthier and fulfills my life with the wisdom to see just how I can be a positive impact and light for others. This is what makes me find more passion for what I do and how I work.

The two artists that I had the pleasure of speaking with today, along with the artists that I know within the community are very much that— community oriented. In addition, they teach and carry that inherent wisdom with them as they converse and exchange thoughts with people like me, who may not work the same way they do, but am creative (or so I’d like to think) anyway.

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Naco posting wheat paste | Pilsen

It’s hard to walk away from the conversations and the deep-rooted philosophies  feeling uninspired. It made me want to do something more. It made me want to do what I do better.

In the midst of that conversation, I had a call about a project that my company is working on. A diabetes initiative that talks to the community about being Type 2 diabetes from a culturally relevant standpoint. Nuances and bilingualism included. My phone call had strong validation for what we’re trying to do; the education we’re trying to bring to people who feel that diabetes is a death sentence or that there is nothing preventative that one can do about the dreadful disorder.

It might not have fallen inline with the visual art of these two extremely talented individuals  but it is a creative venture. Knowing that there is someone, a head of a foundation, a person with diabetes himself and who is offering his help in distribution and collaborative services, who is behind what we are trying to get going is inspiring in itself.

This call, coupled with local, community-based perspectives made my day, to say the least. I was validated on various fronts, moving different ideas forward and coming up with ways to initiate furthering the community’s reach above and beyond the city of Chicago; whether it’s through health initiatives, teaching people about culture or both.

Social, insightful and stimulating: if this isn’t good for me, I don’t know what is.

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Filed under Culture, Diabetes, Health, Latinos, Personal, Stories

At 28, I’m Ready To Bring It Back

Hi world at Kikisbetes.com!

It’s been a while since I’ve been here on my very own site with my very own insights and blogs. What a blessing. Yesterday I decided that I was going to revive the blog and it was a long time coming. Well, actually about a week and a half. I went down to Miami for the Hispanicize conference and met a ton of Latinos all doing the same thing; making it happen with their own insight, brands and storytelling.

Pump and I at Hispanicize

If you don’t already know, I’m a founding member of Pícaro Media, a content creation company for the Latino market. We’re pretty cool, if I may say so myself. Anyway, we went down to South Beach and I knew I was going to find one fellow diabetes blogger. As I sat in her panel discussion, I asked a question and was approached by several different people about having diabetes. I realized that since I have become a representative of myself and what I do, I would have to revive this blog. It’s a good thing, too. I have a lot to talk about.

I made it to 28 everyone! I know, plenty of you are saying that that’s so young, but it feels good to be another year older with more wisdom under my belt. Wisdom, friends, insights, experiences, the whole thing feels delectable.

So here come the diabetes stories I have. On my way down to Miami, I was harassed by the TSA again.  Not harassed, since I’m used to it, but instead of putting me through the metal detector, when I refuse the body scanner they automatically have to pat me down. That’s slightly ridiculous if you ask me. It happened going to and coming from and is a pain in the butt. There has to be a standardized way of handling us people with diabetes, I tell you. Because it’s becoming very unfair. Like I said before, I don’t ask for privacy because I want people to see what I go through so they learn and know how discriminatory it is.

Secondly, I was listening to Dr. Oz today as I was getting ready to leave my apartment and I heard him say, “This is what happens to diabetics.” It irked me. To have a “doctor” say that kind of sucked. This little pet peeve about words, I think, makes more sense coming from me as a journalist and a grammar Nazi. However, on the other hand, these words have an impact on the people of whom you are speaking. It’s like calling someone “disabled.” We are not defined by these words. We are merely subject to the limitations these issues have on our lives, but it doesn’t stop us from living. Properly, it is said “People with diabetes,” and “People with a disability.” Done and done.

I think that’s it for now. I just wanted to share a bit so that I can tell people I’m bringing this back to live for my 28th year of life. I feel good about it. It’s moving forward and so am I.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Filed under Diabetes, Doctors, Latinos, Stories