Faces of LADA
Name: Rebecca Gill
Rebecca's Story: "I was diagnosed with diabetes while pregnant with my second child. My father, also a diabetic (type 2), was dying at the time in another state. Due to my complications, I could not visit him prior to his passing. The original gestational diagnosis arrived after a trip to the ER. While it seemed devastating, I managed to give myself that first shot and learned how to count carbs. With the efforts of my OB and the hospital endocrinologist, my diabetes was controlled and I gave birth to a healthy boy.
Immediately after the birth of my son, all signs of diabetes disappeared. The medical team was so surprised at the turn around, they contemplated documenting my case for publication. Six weeks later it was apparent something was wrong and my OB sent me to an endocrinologist who properly diagnosed me as a LADA. While the timing of my diagnosis was not ideal, my situation was manageable. I simply had to take one look at my new son or his older sister to move forward. One shot and one carb count at a time.
The diagnosis has changed my life. I've tried to look at it in a positive way and utilize the disease for everything I can. I eat healthier, take better care of my overall health, and I am much more thankful for life and everything it brings. I know I could have been dealt worse, and although it is annoying, being a LADA is manageable. Seeing life in a new way, I quit my job and opened my own consulting firm so I could have the opportunity to be home with my children more and take better control of my health. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made and I know I would not have made it had LADA not made me more of a fighter. My company is successful, I love what I do, and my oldest daughter wants to grow up and work with me once done with college.
When I hear one of my children inform a friend or an adult of my disease, I am often overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. My children see a strong mother, a fighter, and someone who took life into her own hands while managing a less than ideal situation. Their comments and the pride in their faces make LADA less of a burden and more of an accomplishment.
Confused about the disorder and seeking answers, I started a Facebook group a few years ago for those who also have LADA. The group has taken a life of its own and the community is strong and active. The dialogue is raw and unfiltered. Through Facebook and the posts of my group I view myself as the lucky one. So many people on our Facebook page talk about how they went misdiagnosed for years and now have complications from it. It is heartbreaking. I didn't think of myself as lucky at the time, but I do now.
LADA is controllable and manageable. It did not break me. It just made me stronger and more thankful for everything around me."
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There are two reasons it took me as long as it did to "come out" publicly with diabetes (and hypertension). One was denial: in my mind, I was too young to have type 2 diabetes — a condition I only knew in people over the age of 55 — and the other was fear of public shaming. Turn back the clock several years before my own diagnosis. Our workplace was a bit more stratified, with two editors above me. The elder of the two was somewhat overweight and, like many...