Is 40 an age to die? I wasn’t ready then, I am not ready now.
I grew up in a family that constantly battled diabetes. I lost two wonderful young cousins to complications of diabetes. It’s in our genes – aunts, uncles, cousins, even my mother, who passed last October with multi-organ failure, compromised by diabetes. I saw the pain, the suffering, the agony of this illness, suffered by the one with diabetes and those around them, much after the illness had taken them away into another world.
What was I thinking? Not looking after myself all those years, using food as my comforter, to deal with emotions that needed to be dealt with in a functional manner. I had become a victim to my own emotions. I was writing my own death warrant.
I still remember that grim July morning two years ago, waking up, feeling very poorly, vision blurred, totally uncomfortable with my entire being. It was a dark time in my life. Many things were not going right for me then. I felt tired all the time. I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I look back and wonder if some of the things were exaggerated in my mind, simply because of my condition. I was hugely overweight. I had hypertension. Added to that, doctor diagnosed me with severe diabetes, with not much time if I continued with my lifestyle.
That day I felt very alone. I knew that no matter how much support I had from family and friends, I had to battle this on my own. I had seen it in my own family. Everything feels small, insignificant, like watching a movie, until it happens to you. Then it becomes real.
The thing about reality is that you have to wake up each day to it. It doesn’t change, unless you desire to change it.
I had to make a choice. The choice was about committing to making lifestyle changes and enjoying whatever was left of life, versus continuing to have a lifestyle of social dysfunction and cutting it even shorter, in a tragic way.
I re-wired my thinking. I researched, read, discussed with those who were willing to speak on this subject. I created a plan for myself. I realised that perhaps losing the weight may help. I set out with a goal in mind, and realised it in 8 months. I shed nearly 30 kilos (over 4 stone). I started managing my food and food portions. I ate more vegetables, salads, fish. I stopped eating chicken, red meat. I learnt about good calories and bad calories. I reduced my drinking, and gave up on high fat food. Most importantly, I added exercise and started a gym routine. I walked everywhere. I started meditating and keeping myself happy. I surrounded myself with positive people.
A year later, I had managed to have my diabetes and all the other health issues under remission. Life was going to be good. Life had given me second chance.
This #diabetes awareness week is very special to me, as it brings back memories of my own health scare, my mum’s passing, my cousins whom I have lost and many of those who I see on the edge of it, but are in denial. If only #Ican help all those who don’t know where to start, I would be happier knowing that life gave me a second chance for a reason.
To all those who are suffering from this dreadful illness, I am sending you my love and good wishes. To those who can make a change now, do it please, and encourage your family and friends to monitor their sugar, get help in time and start re-wiring their thinking to have a healthy and happy life.
If you need any support, please feel free to comment here and message me.
“A Ticking Time Bomb”.
That was the blunt description given the mounting problem of Type 2 Diabetes within the South Asian Diaspora community in the United Kingdom a few years ago.
According to research, immigrants to the UK from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other nations from South Asia are six times more likely than the indigenous white population to develop Type 2 Diabetes.
Whilst current evidence is inconclusive as to why British Asians are more susceptible to the disorder, medical experts have pointed to the twin evils of a diet high in carbohydrates and saturated fatty acids (all those chapattis and rice dishes) as well as alarmingly low levels of physical activity, especially among older South Asian women, as two of the most significant contributory factors to a problem that is certain to put a huge burden on families and the community at large.
Alarmingly, there is widespread ignorance about Type 2 Diabetes within the community, according to medical experts, which threatens the lives of thousands.
Mumbai-born, North London-based marketing and advertising expert Raga D’silva among those ignorant masses.
Mother of twins, whose family had a history of Diabetes, was diagnosed with the disorder in 2012. The news brought about a radical change in Raga and has inspired her to help others with Diabetes and raise awareness. This is her story, in her own words.