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Winning the good fight against diabetes

March 23, 2009|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

MARLOWE, W.Va. - During my first Dining with Diabetes class last week, a simple question was asked of us: What does living with diabetes mean to you?

For me? I hate being a diabetic.

That was the simple reason why I ended up on a rainy Monday night at the Marlowe Ruritan taking a four-week class sponsored by the West Virginia University Extension office.

I had resisted being a diabetic too long and it was time to learn to live with it. The truth is if I don't, I could die.

The first class was lead by Pam Guesford, certified diabetes educator at WVU-East in Martinsburg, W.Va. She talked about the things we need to know about living with diabetes. The next classes will be led by Sue Flanagan, a WVU Extension agent, who will share cooking tips and recipes.

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Living with a chronic disease takes over every aspect of your life: eating, exercising, checking your blood sugar, knowing your blood pressure numbers, making sure to look at your feet for blisters, getting your eyes checked ... the list goes on.

When I was officially diagnosed as diabetic three years ago, I was hoping for Calgon - a tub of Calgon - not to whisk me away but drown me.

For someone like me, who despite my plump size was always active, I felt like one more person telling me I was fat.

Being diagnosed for the first time is overwhelming. You're basically being told that the way you've lived your life is wrong. And there is no magic pill to cure you.

I tried to approach it with an upbeat attitude. I lost weight. I was trying to eat more healthful meals. And with my doctor I was trying to figure out the right medications.

Try as I must, I still felt diabetes was winning.

During the first Dining with Diabetes class, they take your A1c, which is a test that shows your average blood sugar over the last six to eight monthsand your blood pressure because diabetes can lead to hypertension. I was more afraid of my A1c number because more than six months ago it was topping 10.5. That's not good because it's recommended that your target number be no more than 7. That evening? It was 6.7. I nearly did a happy dance.

For the first time in a long time, I felt I was winning the fight. Over the next four weeks on Tuesday mornings, I'll be blogging about my classes and the insight I hope to learn.

Today, read more about the tests and my feelings about diabetes at www.herald-mail.com/blogs/schelle/

and log on again Tuesday for an update. Here's to me winning my fight against diabetes.

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