What is it like living with Diabetes?

By: Johnishala Scarbrough 

Diabetes is an autoimmune deficiency. In a total of 37.3 million Americans, 1 in 10 people have diabetes. Did you know that there are people who may not know they have diabetes? 1 in 5 people do not realize they have diabetes.  

I was able to do an interview with someone who is currently living with diabetes, My mother Maria Scarbrough. Scarbrough was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2007. She was not diagnosed with it because of her eating habits or hereditary, she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes due to battling with Pancreatic Cancer. The only way for her to stay alive was to cut most of her pancreas and take out her spline. According to “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” the website states that “that more than 130 million adults are living with diabetes or prediabetes in the United States.” Prediabetes is when someone may be a borderline diabetic. This is when the blood sugar is higher than normal but not too high as to where you are a diabetic. 

Scarbrough told me that Diabetes has changed her life. “I cannot eat what I want. I am always testing my sugar every time I eat.” Said Scarbrough. People with type 2 diabetes always must test their sugar to see if their sugar levels are normal, low, or high. I asked Scarbrough if her blood sugar levels are good, and she told me they are inconsistent. There may be times when her sugar is low, high, or normal. She goes into depth on what she should do if her sugar is low. “I drink orange juice, sugary drinks, eat candy, put sugar on my tongue, or eat carbs.” Said Scarbrough. To know when her blood sugar is low her hand starts to shake. If your sugar is low the best thing to do is eat something that has sugar or drink something that has sugar. Eating or drinking something sugary will make your blood sugar levels go up. After telling me what to do when your blood sugar level is low, she told me what she does when her blood sugar is high. “When my blood sugar is high I either exercise, take my medicine, or pray to god.” Exercising when your blood sugar is high helps your body increase the sensitivity to insulin. Whenever she gets hot out of nowhere that is a hint that her blood sugar level is high. 

Most of my life I had to witness my mother struggle with diabetes. I have experienced the highs and the lows with my mom. It is like we are on a rollercoaster. I remember when I was little my mom was driving me to school when out of nowhere her hands started to shake. She had to immediately go to the closest convenient store she could go to. I remember being frantic, but I did not want her to notice that I was upset. While I was in the car, I kept watching her every move through the convenient store window. I remember her drinking half of a Mountain Dew bottle to stop the shakes. That is the first time I ever witnessed her experiencing low blood sugar levels. There was a situation that happened about a couple of months ago where I had to rush my mom to the hospital. We were watching television when she told me that she was having a tough time watching the television screen. Her vision was bothering her, she was only able to see half of everything she would look at. She immediately had to take her medicine. I had to take my mother to St. Mary’s Hospital. On the way there my heart kept pounding but I was calm. I never want to show myself being nervous or scared when my mom is struggling with her diabetes, simply because I do not want to cause her to worry. When we got to the hospital her vision started to clear up, her vision was acting up because her blood pressure was around 200, she nearly had a stroke because of high blood pressure. I was never so scared in my life as I was that day. 

If you are someone like my mom who has diabetes or like me who watches their loved one dealing with diabetes here are some ways to help control diabetes. According to WebMD like I have stated before, exercising is an effective way to control your diabetes. A balanced diet is another good way to help maintain your diabetes. Changing your eating habits to eating healthier such as eating more healthy foods and reducing carb intake. Another way is avoiding stress. The less stress the better. 

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