How it all started…
Welcome to Diabetes While Black!
Diabetes has always been a part of my world.
One of the first things I was able to read by myself was the card my mom carried in her wallet. “I AM NOT DRUNK” it screamed in big red letters. “I AM A DIABETIC!” I knew where to find the candy in her purse to stick in her mouth if she ever passed out from low blood sugar. Sometimes I would sneak in her purse and eat the candy. Don’t judge me.
Some of my earliest memories are of fetching my mom’s insulin from the refrigerator and watching her fill the needle to inject herself with insulin. Every single day. My sister Patricia had diabetes. My first cousins had diabetes. I thought that it was NORMAL to have so many people around me shooting up insulin.
For me, it was never a question of whether I would become a diabetic–the question was WHEN? So when my physician told me that my blood glucose had reached the “pre-diabetic” stage, I decided that I was not going to wait around for the inevitable. I was going to be proactive and fight this disease off as long as I could.
The first thing I learned was:
Compared to the general population, African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes: 13.2% of all African Americans aged 20 years or older have diagnosed diabetes. African Americans are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes as non Hispanic whites. – American Diabetes Association (ADA).
Now that’s what I call an uplifting message! Okay, it is what it is, but what can we do about it? The ADA champions awareness, but once you are aware that you have pre-diabetes or diabetes what action can you take to prevent, address, reverse or otherwise preserve and improve your health?
One would think that the internet would be overflowing with information about how the most heavily impacted ethnic group can address its diabetes. NOPE.
Google or search the internet for diabetes and blacks. Or diabetes and black people. Or diabetes and African Americans. Or diabetes and Negroes if you want to go there. The only thing you will find are depressing articles about how diabetes severely and disproportionately impacts the African American community. But if you are looking for advice, guidance or ideas about how black folks can deal with this scourge on our community—Type 2 Diabetes–it isn’t there. Until now.
Diabetes While Black is a blog dedicated to sharing some of my experiments—oops, I meant experiences — with fighting off the evil disease, ailment and condition. You know what I mean: THE SUGAR. This blog will look at ways to manage things we have control over–what we eat, how we fix it, when we eat it, moving our bodies, finding help and advice. Hopefully, we will build a community of black folks dedicated to becoming educated about the disease, sharing information on healthy living and supporting each other in our efforts to be healthier and happier.
When your doctor says “You have diabetes” and hands you that little paper with the prescription on it, that’s not the end of the conversation. Its just the beginning. I’m glad that you are joining me on this journey, because it is possible to live a great life with Diabetes While Black.