Meet the Advocates: Corinna's Journey With Diabetes
Our latest 'Meet the Advocates' series includes details about their diabetes diagnosis and management journey. Meet, Corinna!
When were you diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?
I was diagnosed in 2009 with an A1C above 13. It took me years to get to that point. Years of ignoring my health despite having symptoms like insatiable thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue. Years of poor eating habits and little exercise. Years of being busy with family and work — you know, life.
It was too easy to put other people’s needs ahead of my own health even though I had a lot of the classic risk factors: overweight, sedentary, family history of diabetes, Latina, middle-aged.
At the point of my diagnosis, I had decided to get an annual check up after missing them for several years. The results were shocking even though I didn’t really understand, at the time, how extreme my A1C reading was. It was a wake-up call for me and led me to make a lot of changes in order to take better care of myself.
How do you currently manage your type 2 diabetes?
Currently, I manage my type 2 diabetes with a combination of insulin, medication, diet, and exercise. Pretty much in that order.
I am an insulin-using person with type 2 diabetes. People think we don’t exist. In fact, twice as many people in the US with type 2 diabetes use insulin as people with type 1. There’s an assumption among some people that using insulin is a mark of failure. I disagree. Diabetes is ultimately a degenerative disease and insulin is an effective tool in managing diabetes, regardless of type.
How do you take care of yourself when you feel frustrated, burnt out, or down?
The biggest thing I do is I DON’T approach life with type 2 diabetes as a yes-or-no proposition. It’s not black-and-white or good-versus-bad. I approach life with diabetes as trying to strike a balance, with a more-of-this and less-of-that mindset.
This allows me to set flexible goals for myself. For example, I’d like to go out for a walk on the beach most days. But right now we’re under a stay at home order, the beaches and parks are closed. So I’m thinking about exercise in terms of moving more and sitting less. Instead of 40 minutes with sand between my toes, I keep track of the steps I take during the day and find ways to add a few more each day.
By thinking about life with diabetes in this way I feel more resilient. When things change I can respond in kind and not get stuck in some established routine or a single approach. There is more than one way I can do this. Most of the time I get to choose which one I use.
What is your favorite food?
Eggs are my favorite food. Why eggs? Because they’re so versatile and easy on my blood glucose levels.
Eggs make a quick and easy main. In fact, breakfast for dinner is my go-to when I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Scrambles packed with veggies and topped with cheese are popular in my house. But the absolute best is Huevos Rancheros. Pinto or black beans with salsa on top of a crispy corn tortilla topped with a fried egg. That’s yum on a plate.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your diabetes?