Diabetes affects more than 21 million people in United States today. Diabetes is a unique disease in that people diagnosed with it must be responsible for the majority of their own care. It's a tremendous undertaking when first starting out. But it can become easier over time.
This is the first in a series of interviews of people facing the extraordinary challenge of living with diabetes.
Meet Marcia, a woman I've recently met. Marcia is a whirling tornado of a woman who just happens to have diabetes, too. I don't believe she lets it get in the way. Here is her story, as told to me.
What do you do for a living? I am a 25-year veteran high school special education teacher. I see those ads for parents about getting services for their child at school and think, "What about the teacher?" I have a 504 plan too.
What are your passions? Republican politics, teacher and student rights, square dancing, Master Gardener, Girl Scouts, church music, MAC computers.
How long have you had diabetes? Since 1993.
What type of diabetes do you have? Type 2.
What medications do you take to manage it? Metformin-Glyburide combo pill two, twice per day, and Byetta 10 mcg.
What tricks do you have up your sleeve for managing your diabetes? Be a good Girl Scout and ALWAYS be prepared. Never let Plan A be all you have. Have B, C, and D too, as back-up.
What is nearest and dearest to your heart? Children with special needs.
What is your philosophy on life? "Phil 4:13. 'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.' "
What keeps you going when you're down? The knowledge that I can find the answer or solution to any situation. My high school principal, who was later my grad advisor, had a sign posted in his office: "A smart fellow doesn't know all the answers, just where to find them." (GOOGLE would be on that sign now)
What makes you stand out in a crowd? Lots. I've always driven a truck, have never needed a microphone to get people to hear me, not timid, good at directing people, dependable and resourceful in times of emergency, know how to take charge, and then let go as needed. I am a very resourceful person and discovered early in life that I could find multi-solutions to about any situation. My current job has a lot of problem solving, which uses that talent/skill. My white hair receives attention--earned it the old fashioned way. It used to be red.
What would you tell someone who was newly diagnosed with diabetes? Knowledge is POWER. Learn all you can as a way of helping yourself. Do not depend on others--it is your life.
Real Life With Diabetes is a regular feature at the beginning of every month. If you, or someone you know, has diabetes and also a positive outlook on life, and would like to be featured in our next interview, please email me, Deb Manzella - your guide at firstname.lastname@example.org