When asking BK to share her story, we already knew it would be a compelling one. A story about a woman who has made it her life’s journey to help children and adults living with diabetes with the compassion and understanding of this disease that her younger self needed and deserved. Diagnosed with Type1 Diabetes (T1D) in Ethiopia, her experience is one that led her to being one of the top diabetes educators in the DMV. Educating from a place of personal experience and professional understanding benefits the families she educates greatly. BK, thank you for sharing your journey with us. What an honor it truly is to share your words with our followers.
-The BSI collective
A little about me:
My name is Beakal Eshete. I go by BK. I was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I moved to the US about 15 years ago and I currently live in the DMV. I am a registered nurse and a certified diabetes educator!
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 14 years old (about 20 years ago). I was initially misdiagnosed as “too young to have diabetes”. He didn’t call it any type. Although my blood sugar was over 500 at the time I went to see the doctor at our local clinic , l was given instructions to change my diet and exercise and I was sent home. At the time , nobody we knew had diabetes so my parents followed the doctors recommendations and reinforced the diet and exercise rules strictly. I was told to avoid almost all carbs and exercise daily. This went on for about 8 weeks. The symptoms continued severely and I lost so much weight that my family had to buy me new clothes. It then came to a point , I could barely move my body, I felt so sick. I ended up going to see another doctor who officially diagnosed me with type 1 diabetes and he started insulin right away. He told me how lucky I was for not being even sicker than I was given I didn’t start insulin for 8 week. Luckily I wasn’t in DKA. I still remember the shock on my mom’s face when she found out I would need insulin injections for the rest of my life. For me , I was just glad someone found out what was wrong with me so I didn’t mind anything I needed to do to get out of that misery I was in.
Life with diabetes as a minority:
I have been lucky to have the knowledge I have about diabetes as I have been trained as a nurse and also a certified Diabetes educator. It has provided me an opportunity to stay up to date in the Diabetes world and advocate for myself whenever necessary. I also have been lucky finding doctors that allow me to make my own decisions for my care. Working in healthcare myself, however , I do see the disparities and I do understand the impact it has on one’s outcomes. I wish to see more People that look like me get the attention, care and access they need. I believe everyone should be EQUALLY presented with the best and current treatments available in diabetes. Diabetes technology isn’t a “prize” one has to win but a tool that will help the PWD. We do need to advocate more for ourselves and our loved ones. We also need to take ownership
in our care and educate ourselves so that we are best informed to make the best decision for us.
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