Grateful for Diabetes

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.

Diabetes rocks!

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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  • Reply Ana December 2, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Sadly, there are some that live right, do right and still develop diabetes.
    In my humble opinion, you should rather say you are grateful that there are people who can guide and help you….because not every diabetic abuses their body. Genetics can deal you a cruel hand and EVERYONE should be taking care of their bodies…no one should get a disease to motivate them.

  • Reply Mary Ann December 2, 2013 at 5:37 am


    It’s been one year since I was diagnosed and many months since I wrote you. I’m a much healthier person now than I was last year and for the 20 or so years before that and it is all due to getting that frightening T2 diagnosis. I have lost 75 lbs., my blood glucose levels are near normal, all without medication. My A1C is still 5.0 and I still follow the very low carb ketogenic way of eating. It’s not difficult at all and I rarely feel hunger or deprivation or that I am missing out on anything. I have learned to cook in new ways and explore new foods and concepts. My husband decided to forego the extra potato or other carbs I provided for him since he saw that I didn’t need or want it and also lost 40 lbs this part year. He says he feels healthier than he’s been in years. He walks (almost runs) 4-5 miles every day. This is an area I have to improve on. I walk occasionally but need to make it a priority. I still have 20-25 lbs to lose. Weight loss has really slowed down the last few months regardless of how low I keep my carbs or exercise. Hoping it is just my body adjusting to how much I have lost and naturally just slower since I am getting closer to the goal. But I will never go back to the SAD way of eating.

    And yes, I am still grateful for the diagnosis. I want to live as long as I can in a healthy way, be the best grandma, and have an active and engaging life. I’m 58 years old and haven’t looked or felt this good in almost 20 years. I am also grateful to you and your website for providing me the much needed information and reinforcement of what I determined to be the best course of action for me.

    Your insight, depth of knowledge, and positive feedback to those that contact you is amazing and inspirational. I am so grateful to finding your website last year when I was seeking education on my diagnosis that my doctor and diabetes educator could/would not provide.

    Thank you, David!

    • Reply David Mendosa December 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      Dear Mary Ann,

      It is YOUR story that is inspiring. Thank you for sharing it with us.



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