The Routine of Things

Getting back to the routine and back on track.

kalimah bioBy Kalimah Johnson

December 2009 — So while the routine of life is going on, so is my type 2 diabetes. Since last month, I have moved from the condo I own into a huge apartment I'm renting. Now, I know that has the stench of foreclosure, but that's not the case at all, thank God. Actually, I have moved from my home, which I have shared with my customers for the past 12 years to create a separate living space for just that: living. Thus far it has been one of the best things I have done for me and my partner. This move was about increasing our safety, surrounding ourselves with beauty and preparing to utilize our old space for an existing business. Sounds exciting, right? Well, it has been a wonderful change, but stressful at best.

I was told less than 30 days ago that I would lose my day job due to lack of funding. 15 days ago, I was told that they figured out a way to keep me on as a part-time employee because they would rather have me half of the time than not at all. Good news, but not so quick--I actually like working full time and I love my job as a social worker helping victims of domestic and sexual violence. I have also hired two new employees at my home-based business and I am in the process of training and policy development, while still looking for full-time employment in social work. I have my sights on starting my own sexual assault agency that will restructure how interventions, education and prevention can impact a change in attitudes and increase awareness of sexual assault and rape in the city of Detroit. The routine consists of about 12 hours (or more) of work a day, 4-6 hours of sleep, drinking way too much coffee and I was told by one of my hair clients that I am starting to gain weight…again.

Hold on, wait. I need to get off this destructive path, and I need positive change now! It is time for a priority check and a reality check, before my mind, body and spirit check out on me! I dare not to even share with you the number of times I have tested my blood sugar. I can hardly remember the last time I saw my primary care physician for a routine check-up to have any blood work done. Weight Watchers can wait on it; I have been too tired to get up early enough to go.

Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself to be the diva that I am and to manage my type 2 diabetes. I run around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to accomplish the many goals I set for myself, but over and over again I have failed at putting my health first. I must also admit that when I was in the routine of writing this dLife article every month (instead of bi-monthly) it kept me honest, as I knew I would have to be accountable through my writings the ways I care for myself.

So what am I going to do? How can I get my life back on track and back into the routine of integrative comprehensive diabetic care and balance it with all of the things I am trying to do for life fulfillment? If I am not healthy what can I accomplish? How will I be able to benefit from all of my good works if I am too sick to enjoy it? Where does family fit into all of this?

My mother died from complications of type 2 diabetes at the age 53 and it broke my heart. I am still heartbroken…I remember the meter readings of 700, the heart disease, the amputations, and ultimately the heart failure that killed her.

I also remember yesterday, waking up at 7am, working at an underfunded agency to solve an overlooked and underestimated problem for 8 hours, and then going to my salon to style hair until 11pm.

And yesterday, like so many days before, I forgot to test, forgot to take my morning meds, and forgot to exercise. I forgot to drink enough water and I forgot my twin nieces' 5th birthday last Wednesday.

My 41st birthday is coming up and I hope I don't forget that...

What I remember most about yesterday: I was blessed with a brief visit (at the salon) from my oldest sister and her girls. I kissed them and hugged them (between clients) and loved on them as an aunt with no children of her own will. I saw my mother in their eyes, the grandmother they never met due to her all-too-early death. The thought of dying like my mother scares the hell out of me and if I don't get it together now I stand the chance of breaking my nieces' hearts. I refuse to let it happen that way…again. I won't become the third generation of early deaths in which unmanaged diabetes has been the culprit.

I think I will begin with writing a private journal to record how I struggle with the disease. Some of my thoughts may make it into my writings for dLife, but primarily I will use this journal as a healing exercise and personal journey for me.

This weekend I will set a routine for myself and try to stick with it. Nothing too rigid, but the routine will include testing at least once a day, taking daily walks on the beautiful grounds where we live and finding a better time to attend my Weight Watchers meetings.

Getting back on track and creating a routine for myself with my partner, my nieces, my life goals and my mother's memory in mind will get me started and hopefully help me…

Get It Together, 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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