January 27, 2016

My Diabetes Story

Monday, November 6th, 1998.

That was the day I was diagnosed with Diabetes, as a 7-year-old girl.

The past few days before that, my mother was noticing me losing weight and turning yellow.

The day before, we had gone to a birthday party (where I ate LOTS  of food and cake!)

By that Monday morning, I was feeling throat and stomach pains. My mother took me to the doctor, which only prescribed an antibiotic and cough syrup. Seriously.

Seven hours later, after throwing up everything I ate and crying from pain, my mom and the neighbor carried me to the hospital. THAT doctor was furious at the first one! My blood glucose had risen to 1000. A little higher, and I would’ve been in a coma. I was rushed to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles for intensive care. After a week, I was released from the hospital, and the next five months would be torture for my mother and sisters. I don’t remember anything from that time period, but apparently, I wouldn’t want to take my shots.

Twice a day, we would all cry and scream.

Twice a day, my younger sister had to talk sense into me so that we wouldn’t be taken away from our parents.

My mother became obsessed with taking care of me, especially after our social worker told her “If you give her too much insulin, you kill her; if you don’t give it to her, she can end up in the hospital.” The worst words a parent would want to hear, that their child’s life depends on them. Then, an even more traumatic event happened. A year after being diagnosed, I went into diabetic shock. My usual snack before bed was a cup of milk and four salt crackers, but that night, I only ate an orange. By 3 am, my body reacted with gut-wrenching screams, bloodshot eyes, and rapid uncontrollable body movements. My glucose had reached 0. My mother instantly injected me with Glucagon, which took about 7 minutes to start calming me down. Thankfully, that was the last time I went to the hospital for intensive care, but the emotional trauma stayed.

During the next couple of years of elementary school, my mother joined the school to train the nurses, provide exercise sessions to my class, be there when I needed her, and make changes in the school. THAT is the dedication my mother has towards keeping me alive.

She is my inspiration in strength, love, and persistence.

Now, I am 24 years old, healthy and happy. I am an artist and entrepreneur working towards BIG ideas for my future. One of my ideas -to launch EcoFashion label, Veltimera- already failed when I first launched it, but I believe in it and have not given up.  After following various mentors, they have taught me that every successful person went through failures and hardships before achieving their dreams.  Now, I’m focusing Veltimera (http://www.veltimera.com/) on building an animal rescue and sponsoring animals from other rescues, through stylish apparel sales.

Two other projects I’m working on are an online fashion school community (Fashion Academy & Networkhttp://fashionacademynet.com/), and a sustainable swimwear line (Piece of SASS) with my best friend.

Like Marie Forleo says “Everything is figureoutable,” so I research and study and practice and most definitely never give up.

Diabetes is not an obstacle. Yeah, it might get annoying sometimes, and the needles still hurt, but it does not get in the way of my goals.

Even when I first became vegan in 2012, and I was having lots of low blood glucose, I just remained calm and adjusted. In fact, I feel like now it has gotten easier to control my Diabetes with this vegan lifestyle. I no longer eat to survive but to enjoy the different flavors and spices. Since I look forward to meals, I pay more attention to what I eat and how I calculate the carbohydrates.

If you have any questions for me, you can totally connect with me on Instagram @theinspiredvegan or @diabeticwithstyle! I’m always looking forward to meeting new people!

I would like to end this post by thanking my AMAZING mother for everything she does and teaches me, and hope to inspire you with this quote:

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” -Maya Angelou