I just got around to searching (or rather Googling) for information about being an African American who has been diagnosed with diabetes. The results were terrifying! It was a bunch of statistics on how many African Americans have it, die from it, or get limbs removed because of it. What I found is exactly why I haven’t searched for information in the past 5 weeks, since my diagnosis.
I am still wrestling with the words “I am diabetic” because it just doesn’t fit me. I’m young. I’m smart. I’m black. I’m a woman. I’m a daughter. I’m a member of a church. I am a professional. I am a lot of things, but am I really suppose to add, “I am a diabetic” to the list??
This blog is my outlet. To express my highs and lows about being recently diagnosed with diabetes and what I am learning along the way.
So, I have answered why blog? and the why now? On to the why race is important?
When I entered the ER and they told me that I was diabetic one of the first things that came to mind is…”I have a black person’s disease.” Not in a I’m not black type of way, more like…now I’m another statistic. Frankly, the way people talk about diabetes and HIV/AIDS nowadays, it makes you think that white and other races of people don’t get them. One of the first emotions I felt among confusion was shame. Shame to admit that I’m black and that I have diabetes. And add my over 200lbs weight to that, I could have crawled into a corner and melted away. So, there I am in the ER feeling ashamed for being PHAT and black.
Secondly, during my six days in the hospital, I cannot tell you how many times nurses assumed that I had been diabetic for a while or that I already knew how to “handle my diabetes.” Naturally, I felt like it was because of my dark skin. Yes, I am sensitive about race and that’s America’s fault not mine.
And finally, I want to contribute at least one searchable entry onto the web about being an African American diagnosed with diabetes that is more than startling statistics about the 3.7 million of us who have the disease, the fact that we are 1.8 times more likely to get the disease than white people, or the large amount of sistas and brothas who have had their limbs amputated.
So, welcome to my journey of prayerfully becoming an ex-diabetic.