The time and gas that it takes to grocery shop outside the city, and being the one of very few black people shopping at the store (while there are many black people working at the store), can be intimidating and daunting. I have often times been mistaken as a person working at the store while I am shopping, in addition to being stared at, bumped into, and ignored at the deli counter. I have even felt completely invisible in this environment at times. These experiences have left me wanting to just go to the McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's, or Kentucky Fried Chicken on a daily basis for my nourishment. Which, by the way, are the restaurants that are plentiful in my neighborhood that I fondly refer to as "the hood."

At my local pharmacy every drug that I need for managing my type 2 diabetes is in short supply. At times, I have to call first to make sure they have what I need or I have to wait several days before it is available. I have yet to understand why this phenomenon exists, I just know that it is inconvenient at best.

I am living in an area that the middle class left a long time ago, and those of us earning a mid-level income (that have decided to stay), have to manage life and our health issues with barriers that have everything to do with racism, social justice, fair housing, and access to information. The challenges can be overwhelming. But I'm very thankful that I have the resources to manage my disease—resources such as healthcare, transportation, a gym in the apartment I live in, and a support network of friends that will keep my sugar numbers in check.

In the meantime, I have some encouraging news. Detroit has begun to explore urban farming in vacant lots across the city where organic fruits and vegetables are available to all citizens for free. Our mayor has decided to have community discussions about re-mapping the city of Detroit to address our transportation, vacant lots, and housing issues.

Last but certainly not least, I have found a peer support group for Detroiters managing type 2 diabetes, which is being held at a community center on the east side for all residents. The next meeting is Saturday, October 2, 2010, and my plan is to go and find out how we can support each other while managing our disease in an urban setting that lacks the basic needs of a thriving community, but has potential.

Got it sugar?


Read more of Kalimah Johnson's columns, Get it Together, Sugar, here.


dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.




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Last Modified Date: June 10, 2013

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