Reassessing My Journey

Taking stock of my life when the numbers don't work.

kalimah bio By Kalimah Johnson

August 2011 — The last time we checked in, I was geared up to visit an endocrinologist to inquire about a new drug that I thought would help me manage my type 2 diabetes in a more effective way. During the visit I found out that my A1C has soared from 6.5 to 9.6 within six months, and my blood pressure has peaked to a smaller degree as well.

I have no excuses.

Am I embarrassed? Yes. Am I tired? Yes. Am I disgusted with myself? Yes. Am I afraid? Absolutely. Am I ready to give up? Certainly not!

I think I can just about pinpoint exactly what went wrong. My capacity to manage my life, balance my time, and manage my stress is the culprit. In addition to that, I have picked up some nasty habits like eating right before I go to bed, and chomping down on way too many carbohydrates throughout the day to avoid (in my own mind) sugar level drops while I am in class lecturing. It is quite embarrassing to drop during class time and having to stop for an unexpected break to gobble some sugary snack before I can compose myself again; it creates way too much drama for me. So, I eat four to six more carbohydrates during the day than I should.

In terms of managing my life, I have been able to exercise faithfully. I get on the elliptical machine three to four times a week, and can complete about two or three miles in a 30-40 minute timeframe. I have not included strength training yet, but I plan on doing so in the near future. I have noticed that this exercise has not been enough to help me lose weight, so I must go back to concentrating on my diet.

I'm back on Weight Watchers, but I have decided to use the online community, which will require some discipline and reminders from loved ones to manage. Luckily my family is always on board for helping me manage my type 2 diabetes. I need to get back into a routine of meal planning and cooking to be successful at losing more weight, which will help with my blood sugar numbers. I am going to put forth my best effort yet again. I am so glad that we all have the option to forgive ourselves and start over. Every time the sun rises we have yet another day to try again.

As far as my time goes, I sometimes think I should let some things go, but I won't. To give you some insight into what it is that I have been doing, this is what my life looks like: I am a full-time, tenure track professor at a four-year liberal arts college; I own and operate a natural hair care salon on the weekends; I am the founder and board president of a non-profit organization; I am a wife, an aunt, a sister, and a friend to a host of dynamic people; and lastly, but certainly not the least, I am a performance poet and writer for dLife. In addition to these responsibilities, my goal is to continue my PhD studies starting this summer!

I love each and every one of my endeavors and responsibilities, and I have no intention to let anything go. Instead, I must find a better way to manage them all. My plan is to make decisions about some of these tasks very soon. I know with all this being said, my health must come first or I can't do any of the things I have mentioned here. The non-negotiable would include writing for dLife, because it keeps me honest and focused on my type 2 diabetes, and my professorship, because it pays for my health insurance and my friends and family. Therefore, the PhD, the salon, and the non-profit are my focus for change. I will keep you updated!

My stress level is ridiculous. I believe in my heart of hearts that this is why my sugar is out of control. I need not explain this, as the paragraphs aforementioned above justifies my level of stress. However, I tend to believe that it is good stress because I am not doing anything that I am not passionate about. I love all of the projects I am currently involved in, and they love me back by being lucrative, fun, and fulfilling in terms of my life purpose.

Working out helps a great deal with my stress; this is why I started exercising in the first place back in November. As if my schedule was not busy enough, I think I am going to add a yoga class once I am done with finals. The good news is that I will not be teaching full-time in the summer. I am planning to go to Africa in the late summer and will keep my current salon schedule so that I have some free time during the week. I am also going to once again schedule time to test in the mornings so that my doctor can help me better manage my blood sugar readings.

The next time I check in with you, my goal is to have a lower A1C, be 10 pounds lighter, and have lower blood pressure. I realize that the only way that I can do this is to seriously consider managing my life, my time, and lowering my stress, and by putting my health before anything else.

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 is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Brenda Bell
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...
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