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Beatrice Wairimu aka “Neemoh”

October 03, 2018

THE LIFE OF A YOUNG KENYAN DIABETIC LADY

Am 24 years old... I was diagnosed with diabetes on 29th April 2013. This is a date that most my diabetic friends would say they commemorate it like a #birthday. I remember the first thing I did when the doctor told me I was diabetic was to cry for almost an hour, why? Not because I really knew what diabetes was in real sense but that it took my mum when I was just 8 years old and eight years later my Grandma passed of diabetes. So I knew I was dying, I really cried…. I remember at that point the doctor encouraging me and giving me options of foods to take, follow medication and all will be well….I don’t really think I listened carefully. I was busy figuring my death day. Definitely I did go into denial for some time…My Dad was sad and he didn’t know what to do or how to encourage me since he had no experience on it as mum diagnosis was a late one…

So one day I don’t know what came of me and I found myself going back to the same hospital to start clinic… I was put under insulin and Glucomet 500grms. This is where it really sank I had diabetes and challenges began as I realized it was not all about taking meds and proper diet. Being the youngest in the clinic was really stigmatizing since almost everyone was the age of my dad and some old enough to be my grandparents so you could see it in their eyes how they looked at me the way they talked to me as if am carrying what they are not carrying…

In short I quit the clinic after two months, abandoned my meds and diet secretly without Dad knowing. In 2014 as I was scrolling through Facebook I saw a Diabetes group (DMRC) and liked it. I used ti visit the page every day to get updates on diabetes. So one day they post they are introducing a WhatsApp group and I in-boxed my number. This was my turning point. I met people who I would say they are “my type”. I learnt a lot and realized I was not fighting this “monster” alone. I remember I did’t even know which type I am I used to say “Yangu ni ile ya kuanguka”. Lol.. I went back to using the first prescription I was given and Diet but didn’t find the courage to go back to clinic. I have learnt a lot in the group and discovered new terminologies like ‘hba1c’which were foreign to me. Up to date I have not found the courage to go back to clinic, am still on the first prescription at my diagnosis. But I know I should...And I will.

During this period I would say these are some of the challenges I have faced as a young diabetic girl:  At my diagnosis I was 20 years. At this age you are either in campus, Completed a Diploma or hustling. You can imagine a teenager not being able to enjoy their Pizza without having to worry about numbers… Sugar numbers of course… Your friends invite you for outs but you decline coz you know you will suffer in silence coz I have never attended a party that had cucumber and tomatoes as salad options…haha…It meant all things you can indulge or deem as fun as a teenager were ripped off. So diabetes seemed like a punishment and that is why some times I gave up and said Team YOLO and forgot I am are diabetic so as i can have a taste of fun…  At times you feel you are a burden to the family as they treat you differently. When you visit relatives. “Is this food okay?” You mean we hujidunga kila siku? Ooh,my! Trust me this makes you sad, angry and fed up with diabetes at times especially when no one else has it in the entire family.

Another challenge is on finance. As a young girl you want to spend your pocket money to get that crop top and some matching earrings, but as a diabetic you remember there are more important things in mind “Do I have enough insulin?” “How many days are the needles going to take me?” “Can the remaining cash cater my healthy snacks every three hours?” Diabetes forces you to be an adult automatically. Even as you start with hustling, the wages are not enough to manage you well-meaning some checkups you have to put aside knowing well they are equally important. It makes you expensive in a way which has even become difficult in the dating world. Someone gets afraid of you getting hypos and dying on their watch, especially being with someone whom Diabetes is totally a new Vocabulary to them.  Weight!Weight!Weight!...Am one person whose genes make me add weight by jut passing outside a fries Joint. So you can imagine losing weight with Insulin. Sometimes I have had to manipulate Insulin dose in an attempt to lose weight and or avoiding it.

At times trying those funny diets that promise you to burn fat fast you literally see the fat melting in your body .Lol.!! These funny diets make you hypo so you end up taking whatever you were avoiding: cake, juice etc…. So you can see how kgs are lost..haha. I meant gained more... It’s just crazy.  When it comes to work it isn’t easy either. I remember my first week of internship I used to carry lunch and go back with it home. I was too shy to eat at work. Imagine taking greens and ugali in a new company you are in, you are young you should be seen with fries and juice, hahaha…The food you taking makes you look old. It was tough, so I would go downstairs and get a soda and a cake like a normal girl in internship….Those were very tough 3 months….I remember I divorced my glucometer coz I knew those numbers were high than what I was being paid….Hehehe  DATING. There is a reason why it is in CAPS lock… I would write a book when it comes to dating and my lady diabetic friends would attest to that….I remember A guy asking me “Umetoa wapi diabetes na venye we mdogo?” Waaah, lemmi say I didn’t answer because i definitely knew I would be rude. Three days later the guy comes apologizing saying he Googled and saw it’s a condition you can live with provided I follow the Docs advice...Blah blah blah.

In short he went to Google how to break up with a girl because we died a natural death from there. Good riddance. Girls be calling their baes to ask money for pizza and here you are asking for funds because you are broke and your insulin is no more. It’s tough. How do you tell a guy as a diabetic lady you are supposed to start getting kids earlier when you are young and strong to handle the complications…? Young girl, are you implying I marry you? It’s something to really thank God about when you get a good guy when you are diabetic. This is a strong man I would say because bad moods is our second name as diabetics. One moment you smile the other one you are totally awkward. (Hypos/Hypers) Parting Shot: I would write a lot of challenges but I don’t want you to get bored fast, I know Kenyans with impatience si kupenda kwetu. “ Na hii story ni ndefu aje?” Despite all the challenges that I face as a young girl I thank God for the gift of life and giving me a second chance by knowing my diagnosis early. God Provides. And I continue trusting Him that all will be well and it has been so far. It’s a journey.

I also thank my #diabadass buddies to name but a few: Priscila Nyawira, Angelica Munga, Rufus King`ori and Donald Tinie .These guys are my pillars some having diabetes from childhood. They are always a reminder of me not fighting this monster as a young person alone. We are still pursuing our dreams despite our bodies being unique having hope that one day we will emerge victorious. After all “We have diabetes but diabetes does not have us” It is my prayer that one day I will get married and I will have healthy babies. I would encourage all the young people to get their sugars tested “ Hii kitu si ya wazee peke, tukanyangie kisuraki. “ It’s manageable with the right attitude and with the correct company. DONT JUST GIVE UP!!!

what is your story? You don't have to be diabetic to share your story. You could be living with someone who is managing diabetes

Read 11 times Last modified on Wednesday, 03 October 2018 15:57
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