Project Ramona: My Blessing
2/27/2012 10:49:00 AM
I never thought Type 2 Diabetes could be a blessing, but it is. Several years ago I had the eye-opening honor of interviewing a woman named Kristy Adams-Ebel. She was the founder of a breast cancer support group called Carolina Breast Friends. She'd been nominated for WLNK's "Link Leading Lady" program. Not long after we talked breast cancer took her life, but her words will live with me forever. She told me that breast cancer was a "blessing!" Her illness had brought unforgettable people into her life and had given her an appreciation for life that she never had before. I was simply blown away by her attitude. How could something so devastating be a blessing?
I'm beginning to understand the blessing in my diabetes. Without it I probably wouldn't have confronted the sexual abuse I suffered as a child. I've been dieting then gaining weight since I was a kid. The superficial goal of looking better just wasn't enough. There were issues hidden in the fat. Several people have called me "brave" for sharing my gastric bypass journey. The truth is, the diabetes scared me and I knew I needed help to get the disease and my obesity under control. That's why I reached out to the folks at Catawba Valley Medical Center. Their comprehensive approach required a psychological evaluation before I could get the green light to have the procedure. I chose a counselor recommended by the surgical weight management program. I landed in a place where a professional could help me deal with my food issues. It turns out the counselor had weight loss surgery several years ago
My whole family has been blessed. Diabetes is a link that reminds us of the DNA we share. Since my surgery my aunts, uncles and cousins are having more conversations about health. I have two cousins who are planning to attend seminars. Before I got serious about conquering diabetes I enabled most of my mom's unhealthy food choices. Now she's shopping, cooking and eating healthier.
I've received dozens of messages from people who were sexually abused as children. I've heard from diabetics and folks with 100+ pounds to shed. They've thanked me for going public with my story. Some are grateful to learn about gastric bypass surgery from someone who has been there. Others say feelings about their bodies have finally been validated. Many of those messages have brought me to tears. That's why I'm thankful for the folks who have helped me to tell my story. Glenn Burkins at www.qcitymetro.com, Karen Garloch at "The Charlotte Observer" and even WCNC have given me the opportunity to share my journey through their mediums. I have a part-time gig working with the competition over at Fox Charlotte yet Colleen Odegaard from "Charlotte Today" and Sonya Gantt, who has a new show, broke all kinds of TV rules by reaching out to me.
On Wednesday you'll see me share tears with Sonya. She came to my house to talk to my mom and me. Each journalist has taken a different approach. Glenn focused on diabetes in the African American community, Karen's angle was starting a new life. Colleen focused on why I chose surgery. Sonya? You'll have to watch that one for yourself on Wednesday. I haven't seen the finished interview yet, but I'm hoping that somewhere in it, someone will find a blessing.