I Didn’t Beat Diabetes, I Fight with It


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Diagnosed Not Defeated, Phyllisa’s website. To learn more about Phyllisa’s work as a Global Diabetes Advocate, click here.

Yesterday, someone wrote to me the following sentence. “I want you to tell me how to beat diabetes, like you.”

This simple statement stopped me in my tracks because that’s not how I perceive it.

Yes, I’ve shed nearly 100 lbs. Yes, I have run over thirty 5k races. Yes, I eat healthier now and have more discipline around food than I use to have.

But, I haven’t beat diabetes.

I wake up every day and I fight with diabetes.

There are days when I win.

There are days when my blood sugar stays in a range that I am happy with it. There are days when diabetes isn’t a second thought. There are days when management is second nature and I don’t skip a step.

However, there are also days when I lose.

Days when I am so tired of fighting that I wave my white flag. Days when I am sick of pricking my fingertips and decide to take time off. Days when a hypo wipes me out and my productivity drops significantly.

These aren’t days that I win. These are days when diabetes, in fact, beats me.

We go back and forth, though.

I may not win every time, but I am here to fight.

I am here to not let diabetes steal all my joy. I am here to make sure that I live as healthy as I can. I am here to live as long as I can.

I haven’t beat diabetes so I can’t tell anyone else how to. I can, however, encourage you how to fight. I can support you getting back up when you get knocked down. And I can remind you that it’s important to constantly fight with diabetes and stay focused on winning the war, even if we lose a few battles.

WRITTEN BY Phyllisa Deroze, POSTED 02/20/19, UPDATED 12/12/22

Phyllisa Deroze is a global diabetes patient advocate and consultant from South Florida. She was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2011 during her first year as an American Literature professor. Due to the stigmas around type 2 diabetes, she began blogging about it under an alias. Now, years later, she strives to help others fight diabetes stigma and aims to close gaps of cultural incompetence in diabetes information. She blogs at DiagnosedNOTdefeated.com and is the founder of Black Diabetic Info. She has been featured in Diabetic Living, Diabetes Focus and Health Monitor magazines. She has published articles about type 2 diabetes for HealthCentral, Everyday Health and Health Union.