D-Story: Leola

Wellness with a Wow

D-Story: Leola

Diagnosis to DivaDivabetic’s October Diabetes Roundtable podcast special guest diva, Leola from Grand Rapids, MI says, “ I am living proof that diabetes can be managed. It’s not a death sentence, diabetes can be managed. Control your diabetes; don’t let your diabetes control you.”

Leola, living with type 1 diabetes, learned firsthand the dangerous of poorly managed diabetes when she was first diagnosed. “Thanksgiving Day 2008 changed my life forever. I thought that I was suffering from an extended sinus infection that would not go away. I had lost roughly thirty pounds in less than 2 weeks. I decided to go to the hospital emergency room that night hoping for an IV or some medicine that would help me gain some energy.” Leola continues, “to my dismay, after testing, the doctor told me that I had diabetes with an extremely high blood sugar readings. I was shocked. I spent 6 days in the hospital (including 3 in intensive care). It was a very depressing time for me, but it gave me a lot of time to think about how I would handle the diagnosis. I knew that I wanted to continue to live life as I was (working, living independently, etc), so that meant that I had to be responsible for my well being. “

Leola’s feeling a lot more ‘divalicious’ today then she was at the time of her diagnosis. ”I have embraced having the disease and was determined to beat it. When I was properly diagnosed as a person living with type 1 diabetes (initially thought to be type 2 because I was overweight and 39 years old), that removed my hope of living without insulin. However, I am still determined to continue with the quality of life I had prior to my diagnosis. I have learned to successfully manage my diabetes. I have however gained the lost weight back and continue to struggle with weight loss.”

She credits her healthcare team and her support group: More Than Numbers in Grand Rapids (the brainchild of Leola’s good friend Rachel O’Callaghan) for her healthy mind, body and soul. “We are group of adults with type 1 and type 2, sometimes it’s just amazing what support can do to lift your spirits. We are like a family. We meet once a month, sometimes for educational presentations and other times just to vent with those that understand us. She adds, “if any divas are interested in peeping in on the group -join us on facebook – More Than Numbers Diabetes Support Grand Rapids.”

So what famous famous diva does Leola admire the most?

Star Jones — As a plus size African American woman, I always thought that she was very intelligent and had a flair for fashion. She was someone that I admired and saw as a role model during my younger years. In more recent years, I have watched her career and love how she deals with adversity and still manages to rise above,” says Leola. (We’re guessing Leola’s not a fan of either Rosie O’Donnell or Anderson Cooper!)

What keeps her motivated?

I’m in love with my independence; that alone motivates me to stay healthy. Prayer goes a long way with getting over the bumps associated with diabetes. Find the healthcare team that caters to your needs. Educate yourself; I spend loads of time reading and attending diabetes seminars.My diabetes life has been a blessing in disguise. It has caused me to pay better attention to my health. I have meet interesting people along my journey. I have been afforded an opportunity to do a few things that I enjoy as a result. I am a patient advocate for a program that allows me to travel and share my experiences.”

TUNE IN: Diabetes Roundtable Goes PINK! Mr. Divabetic salutes Breast Cancer Survivors living with diabetes with the Charlie’s Angels of Outreach, makeup artist Kiauna Hunt and Mama Rose Marie. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/divatalkradio1/2012/10/09/diabetes-roundtable-inspired-by-nicki-minaj

Divabetic Makeover Your DiabetesREGISTER NOW: Don’t miss our largest free diabetes outreach event of the year, Divabetic – Makeover Your Diabetes, promoting a diva attitude for living well with diabetes. Our goal is to make every woman feel more beautiful inside and out through the help of a team of certified diabetes educators, registered dietitians, and beauty and fashion experts.

Saturday, October 13, 2012, 11 AM – 4 PM

Jefferson Alumni Hall , First Floor Eakins Lounge 10th and Locust Streets

Philadelphia, PA 19107


Register: 1-800-JEFF-NOW

Look who’s on the red tomato carpet with Mr. Divabetic at Plus Night Out -NYC

Meet Mr. Divabetic on his quest to glamorize good health at Divabetic – Makeover Your Diabetes outreach event in Philadelphia, PA, the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Expo in Pittsburgh, PA and the Taking Control Of Your Diabetes Conferences & Health Fairs in San Diego, CA and Austin, TX.

For sponsorship opportunities and upcoming outreach event details visit: www.divabetic.org and Divabetic’s Facebook’s Group and Fan pages.

Download Leola’s Story


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