Serena Valentine, was misdiagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in her twenties. This misdiagnosis is one of the many reasons she is a passionate advocate for health equity, eye health and diabetes education. In this episode we discuss Serena’s misdiagnosis, diabetes complications, healthcare disparities, food deserts and her advocacy efforts.
Last February I was sucker punched by my worst fear – retinopathy. This dark cloud has hovered over me for 30 years and I knew it would inevitably make it’s way to the surface. Ryan was actually with me at the appointment and I think we were both a little shocked when Dr. Smith of Classic Vision noticed numerous hemorrhages in my right eye. After having time to process the bad news, I gathered the courage to write about it in, Diabetic Retinopathy Is Finally On The Radar. When it was clear three months later my eyes were not getting better, he referred me to a specialist. After a series of additional tests at the Dean McGee Eye Institute, I was given the green light to live life and return in 12 months for a follow-up. Hemorrhages had been detected, but they could have been caused by other factors like stress, blood pressure in addition to diabetes.
The day had come and it was time to schedule my follow-up exam. Was retinopathy still on the radar? (more…)
I’m stoked to share my recent visit to the endocrinologist. In earlier years this dreaded trip brought on a week or so of anxiety… Would he know I lied about my blood sugar? Could he tell that I drank a wine cooler a few weeks ago? Will they have to take blood? He is the window into my diabetes life and I was terrified as to what he could reveal. That might sound silly, but having diabetes since age 8 adds a LOT of other layers to the growing up process.
I no longer stress about this biannual visit, in fact, I kind of enjoy it. I work hard every single day to feel good and my numbers hopefully reflect my actions.
The visit starts with a super sweet nurse who allows me to prick my own finger. YAY ME! Having someone else prick my finger seems to be WAY more painful (control issues?). (more…)
Since my diagnosis date 31 years ago, I’ve had this little dark cloud that follows me. Most days I forget it’s there or meditate to leave it behind, but it recently returned. In a recent post, Does Diabetes Limit Your Career Path, I mention a message we received from a lovely woman suffering from diabetic retinopathy (DR). Her message really hit home.
Three days after writing Does Diabetes Limit Your Career Path, Ryan and I had our eyes tested by Dr. Jacob T. Smith, of Classic Vision. We had a lengthy discussion and reviewed a few images of DR and other diabetes related complications found in the eye. Post discussion, I jump in the hot seat and images were taken of both of my eyes. Ryan grabbed his camera to film Dr. Smith’s comments, which started with something like, “Would you like me to sugar coat the situation?”
The DDG received a heartfelt message from a woman who has dominated diabetes for 60+ years. I wept while listening because SO much of her message hit home. She described her passion for art and successful career as an artist while battling diabetic retinopathy. Feeling defeated by a recent trip to the eye doctor, she couldn’t enjoy a single moment of her exhibition. Diabetes had robbed her of happiness and replaced it with a dark cloud. Could she still be an artist if/when she lost her eyesight?
I rarely talk about it, but I was fortunate to receive vocational rehabilitation to assist me with my tuition, books, etc. Even though I was thankful for the help, I was limited as to what I could study and art was on that list. (more…)