It’s Diabetes Blog Week Day 5.

Today’s Topic: More than diabetes, express yourself and other parts of who you are.

This topic reminded me of something that happened recently. I was invited to participate in an event as one of the main speakers. They listed an array of accolades for the other speaker, but for me it only stated my name and “Diabetic Patient.” That was it. Nothing more. When I read that I was taken way aback. I think my neck rolled twice  like …

Immediately I was thinking, “What? I am so much more than a ‘Diabetic Patient'” I wouldn’t ever want to be reduced to that. I don’t think ANYONE would and frankly no one should. We are PEOPLE LIVING WITH DIABETES.

I am a Diabetes Advocate: I make time to work for free to educate others online and offline about diabetes. My advocacy is fueled by a passion for change and a desire to make the world a little bit better, understanding that we are only here for a short time.

I am a wife: I am a supporting partner to my husband as we try to be an example of love to our daughter.

I am a new mother: I am running on fumes, but running and loving. I am trying to figure out what motherhood means for me and praying that I get more things right than wrong.

I am a 5k enthusiast: I thoroughly enjoy participating in 5k races. I completed my first 5k in 2013 and since then I have crossed the finish line nearly 20 times. Twice while pregnant. This year, I made a goal to complete 50 5ks. (Wish me luck. I haven’t set a deadline yet but I am excited about the goal).

I am a university professor: I have a PhD, 3 other college degrees, and a mountain of student loan debt to prove it. I knew at 18 years old that I wanted to be a professor and to live that dream each day is amazing.

I am a published poet and spoken word artist: I have been writing poetry since the age of 12 and gave my first collection of poems (typed on a typewriter) to Maya Angelou in person at 13. One of my biggest accomplishments is opening up for Nikki Giovanni (one of my favorite poets) a few months after self-publishing “I Spilled the Secrets: A collection of poems.” While I don’t write as frequently as I use to, it’s still a significant part of who I am. Got something coming out in a few weeks, so be on the lookout.

I am a member of the best Sorority in the World: Almost 20 years ago I became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated and I am a chartered member of the first chapter established in the Middle East.

I am a Fulbright Scholar: The U.S. Fulbright program is one of the most prestigious awards researchers, teachers, and scholars. For the 2013-2014 academic year, I was a cultural ambassador living abroad. Once a Fulbright scholar, always a Fulbright scholar.

I am a survivor: of so many things I couldn’t begin to list them all. Here’s one, I survived a natural disaster-a tornado destroyed my home in less than a minute (61 days after I was diagnosed with diabetes).

I am a Headwrapologist: I teach headwrapping classes. I wear them often and my collection of scarfs and fabric is outrageous (but I still keep adding to the collection. Keep me and addiction in prayer, please).

I am a yoga lover: No master. Don’t even know the names of more but two poses, but I am often found in a yoga class at some point throughout the year. Currently attending Mommy and Me yoga with my daughter.

I am a world traveler: well I have only been to 21 countries (I guess that means my passport if legal now), but I hope to travel to all seven continents one day. I am in love with exploring new places, experiencing new things, tasting exotic foods, and meeting new people.

I am so much more than a “Diabetic Patient” and honestly I believe everyone with diabetes is more than the sum of their chronic illness. In the words of Patti LaBelle…we have diabetes, diabetes doesn’t have us.

I am Diagnosed but NOT Defeated!