This is the first time Rea has shared her story or experience living with type 1 diabetes with a platform. Having known her personally since 2010, I am honored she chose this one to share her truth. A truth that many brown mothers living with diabetes can relate to. Caring for little humans while having a chronic disease comes with great responsibility, but she gets it done like so many others. We hope that with this blog more mothers will share their stories as well and our community will begin to grow with both relatable experiences and resources. Rea, not only are you a hero within your own household, but we too see your cape. Thank you for sharing your story with the Brown Skin & Insulin Collective.
-Shaina Hatchell BSN, RN, CDCES| CEO - The Brown Skin & Insulin Collective
A little about me:
My name is Rea Curtis. I live in New Castle, DE by way of Wilmington, DE and I am a bomb mom of two very active, majorette dancing daughters! I am a child of the king, I love every shade of green, and music makes my heart flutter!
I was 14 years old, attending A. I. DuPont Middle school, needing a sports physical to play basketball and run track. During my doctors appointment for my sports physical, they tested the sugar in my urine which at the time was over 300. A few minutes later I was told I had type 1 juvenile diabetes and fear immediately took over me. I called my grandmother Betty in tears crying, telling her I was going to die because a few months prior my only cousin with diabetes died at the tender age of 21 from this very disease. Of course my grandmother told me that I was not going to die, that I would be just fine, and that God had his hand on my life.
Life with diabetes as a minority:
At this point in my life I’ve lived longer with diabetes than without it. I’m still very private about my diabetic journey and only share it with those I trust. I still do my best to avoid and stay away from unsolicited advice from the know it alls that know nothing at all about diabetes.
As I’m getting older my diet has changed drastically, especially since having my daughter at 26. For a very long time I would just eat whatever and take insulin to cover my unhealthy diet. I went years not caring and it wasn’t until having children that I really felt I had something to live for. I actually thought for a long time that I wasn’t able to have children because I was a diabetic, so now being blessed to have children I don’t take this responsibility lightly and I know the least I can do is maintain a healthy diet and manage my diabetes so that I can be here to watch them grow and flourish in life.
My diabetic journey is very much so a progressing one. I still struggle from time to time with checking my sugars 4 times a day and carb counting perfectly. It is an uphill battle but a battle none the less!
I think the worse part of being diabetic for me is when I’m full and my sugar is low. Eating even the smallest of things gives me an attitude when I am not hungry.
While I know that most people don’t have to check their sugars, take insulin, and so on to survive, I’ve been doing it so long that it’s my norm and in my mind I’m just as “regular” or “normal” as everyone else. I’ve learned to maneuver so well that my diabetic process doesn’t significantly take away from any other moment of life.
What I want you to know:
A diabetes diagnosis isn’t the end of the world and you can live a very long and productive life even after a diagnosis. Prioritizing your life is key. That’ll help you make the best decisions even something as small as food and drink choices. My advice is chose life every time! There is no such thing as “diabetes in a cup” or “diabetes on a plate”. PLEASE educate yourselves before making such vague and uneducated statements. I’ve unfollowed a few people on social media and have had to tell people in person that such statements are incorrect, uneducated, and quite frankly offensive to those of us who are walking out this diabetic journey.