Hold on to your hats for this diabetes discovery while attending my first American Diabetes Association 82nd Scientific Sessions conference in New Orleans, LA.
Day three of the sweaty journey involved a room refresh and I had the pleasure of meeting Javon, who was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes – we think.
While I was working on my diaTribe conference recap article, she asked why I was in town.
I quickly shared that I live with diabetes and was in NOLA to cover the conference from a patient perspective. She paused – looked me dead in the face – and reluctantly shared she also has diabetes. It was almost like a confession. She finally had an open ear and quickly shared her father passed from diabetes complications and her husband is in bad shape – amputations, skin problems, heart disease, etc. It absolutely broke my heart.
I inquired as to her diabetes diagnosis and she wasn’t sure as to if it was Type 1 or 2. Mind blown! All of the healthcare disparity red flags were waving. I wanted to ask SO many questions, but my trepidation to do so was not being able to give her easy action steps to resolve the current situation. We discussed her diagnosis in more detail.
- She lost 45 pounds in two months.
- She knew something was wrong and visited a medical clinic. During that visit they diagnosed her with diabetes, but did NOT provide her with any literature or medical advice other than a prescription.
- She was prescribed insulin and then switched to oral medications that her body did NOT agree with.
My chin was on the ground as she shared the details. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
I kindly drilled her with questions – diet, exercise, how long had she not been taking Metformin, how was she feeling, does she test her blood sugar, etc. Javon went on to share that she eats healthy and has a breakfast smoothie every morning. Upon further investigation, the smoothie was healthy with tons of fresh fruit, but it was loaded with carbs and with no insulin on board it was making her tired. I couldn’t help but think she is on the verge of DKA.
She had so many questions. I did my best to give her diabetes 101 considering she was given a “diabetes” diagnosis without any educational materials or resources from her medical team.. I hope to have planted a seed as I encouraged her to ask specific questions and do take action ASAP.
As she exited my hotel room, I gave her my card and personal cell number. I made her promise to call should she need anything. I think about our conversation often and am doing everything I can to help educate the masses. EVERYONE deservers to live their best life and knowing how to manage your diabetes is vital.