Those of us fortunate enough to be Americans have so many things to be grateful for this month, and we will celebrate that gratitude in four weeks. In fact, those of us who have diabetes have a whole month to be thankful for it.
Yesterday, President Obama proclaimed November 2013 to be National Diabetes Month. While this Presidential Proclamation seeks to raise the awareness of everyone about the prevention and management of diabetes, the President didn’t say why the month when we celebrate Thanksgiving is the same month that we recognize diabetes.
But I know that the link between Thanksgiving and diabetes is a strong and positive one. Knowing that we have diabetes can be good for us.
You may think that I’m crazy, but some of us are thankful that we have diabetes. I wish all of us could share this feeling.
Mary Ann wrote me a few months ago that when a doctor told her that she had diabetes, she didn’t know anything about it. At first she felt shock, fear, anger, and grief. Then, she realized that she “had to be the one to take control of it” and went on a low-carb diet, which helped her both to lose weight and to reduce her blood sugar.
“I am actually grateful for the diabetes diagnosis!” she told me. “It inspired me to take control of my health.”
Mary Ann’s journey from a diabetes diagnosis to good health parallels my own trip. I don’t remember the disturbing emotions that she felt when she learned of her diagnosis, but in my case that happened almost 20 years ago, and I guess I could have forgotten. But I know that at that time I had an A1C level of 14.4, weighed more than 300 pounds, and lacked energy.
Today, I tested my A1C level as I do every month and found that it is 5.4. I weighed myself as I do every morning and found that I now weigh 155.6 pounds. I have more energy than I had 20, 30, or 40 years ago.
HealthCentral published an earlier version of this article.