I Ain't Having It!

A Valentine for my diabetes.

kalimah bio By Kalimah Johnson

June 2011 — February is my favorite month of the year! I know in Michigan it is quite cold, blustery, and lacking in warmth and sunshine, but that's not what I appreciate about this month. February is the month of love and sweets, red and velvet, black and proud, heart health and wellness. There are so many topics I could cover!

In 2010, I discussed how to love your diabetes status; the year before, I wrote about Black History Month and notable folks who were dealing with the disease; but this year, I would like to talk about my family, my heritage, agape love, and commitment to change. I believe that the aforementioned are keys to diabetes management and well-being.

I have shared quite a bit about my personal life with you during the course of writing for dLife. I have mentioned my mother and aunts, and my grandmother, who all succumbed to type 2 diabetes complications. There is, however, one family member I have not told you about, and I would like to tell you how important she is to my management of type 2 diabetes.

My oldest sister Valerie is a Valentine in and of herself! She has shown me unconditional love and positive regard throughout my life. Now don't get me wrong. While growing up we had our battles, sibling rivalry, and disagreements. We fussed and fought about clothes, personal products, and mama's attention. It was when I called her and told her that I was the first of our siblings to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes that she was right there in my corner.

As a pharmacist for over 20 years, she has a wealth of information and knowledge about cutting edge research and diabetes medications. So of course she offered to give me my first flu shot, brought pamphlets to my home describing what the disease is, made copies of her workout regime and meal plans, and wrapped her arms around me and held me tight while I cried in her bosom. She promised me that things would get better, made me promise her that I would be proactive about my health, and she continues to inform me about diabetes management in today's world.

Valerie was diagnosed with the disease eight years later. Now we support each other. Thanks to her, I have a doctor's appointment in a couple of weeks and I am going to ask about this new drug, Victoza, she has been having great results with.

Having type 2 diabetes is in my blood. It's ancestral, inherent in my heredity. It runs deep through my family as far back as I can trace. It is that stamp that attempts to mark us for dead before the age of 60.


I am not going to tolerate any negative attitudes, thoughts, or behaviors, which support the demise of this disease. I am going to show my type 2 diagnosis some agape love. Agape love, according to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is "…more than romantic or aesthetic love. Agape is more than friendship. Agape is creative, understanding, redemptive good will for all men. It is an overflowing love that seeks nothing in return. Theologians would say that this is the love of God operating in the human heart. When one rises to love on this level, he loves every man. He rises to the point of loving the person who does the evil deed while hating the deed that the person does. I believe that this is the kind of love that can carry us through this period of transition."

So whilst I have the breath in my body, I will embrace this disease with an agape love. I will embrace my transition into better health and lower numbers, and I will show a love that is unbreakable, unshakeable, and without fear.

With my family's support, my sister's love, and with my understanding of this disease and my history, I will win. I will conquer it and I will manage to live beyond 60 years of age. I am claiming victory. I am making a commitment this Black History Month, Valentine's Day, and wintry season to love myself, manage my disease, and celebrate my heritage.

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.

Last Modified Date: June 10, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Brenda Bell
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