Diabetic Connect's Voices of Diabetes series gives members of the diabetes community the opportunity to share their personal challenges, insights, and life experiences with a larger audience. We hope these stories inspire and encourage you to find your own voice as a diabetes advocate. If you would like to share your story, contact us at editorial@alliancehealth.com. Visit the Voices of Diabetes page on Diabetic Connect for more in the series.

No one should face diabetes alone. A diabetes diagnosis can cause feelings of defeat and loneliness, but it’s important to know that you’re not alone. After being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, Pamela learned this lesson for herself. “Letting people into my life was the turning point for me,” she realized after opening up to those around her.

For some, the biggest challenge of living with a chronic illness like diabetes is the emotional aspect. “Living with diabetes has made me a much stronger person. Instead of food and my emotions controlling me and telling me when to eat and what to eat, or eating to stay numb to my feelings, I feel like I have taken back control over my life. And I feel like I am (in control) for the first time in years — maybe even ever.”

After being introduced to the low-carb style of eating, Pamela started looking for substitutes for some of her favorite foods. “I found low-carb wraps that I use for everything like pizzas and sandwiches. I’ve made friends with more veggies than I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.”

With diet changes, Pamela found it was easy to start making healthy choices each day. “We are eating out less than we used to. I have gone over a month with no fast food, pasta, rice, or bread,” she says. “I’m trying so many new recipes with so many different flavors and grocery shopping in a whole new way.”

No longer sticking to the inner aisles of the grocery store, Pamela has branched out and found that she now shops on the outside aisles where most of the healthy options are found. “Produce, meat, and dairy. I’ll grab coffee or a can of tomatoes. No box meals, no bakery,” she says. “This is such a huge change for me I never would have thought I could do this. No way.”

“Now I can see myself eating this way for the rest of my life. My partner is so happy with the changes I have made and she loves the way we are eating and how tasty the recipes are. Sometimes she helps me cook on the weekends and even does the grilling,” she says.

Counting carbs and watching what she eats has given Pamela control over her life and diabetes. “I’m staying off the scale and giving myself a chance to notice the changes in my body and if it feels like I have gained or lost weight,” she says. “I am only on the scale once a week; I go by ‘how do my clothes feel, my rings? How much am I moving?’ I stop eating before I am totally full, and I notice that I am also talking more about how I feel from the emotional side. So many positive changes are a part of my life now.”

Support is the backbone to diabetes management, and letting people help you can positively impact your health. “Finally, telling people I have diabetes was freeing and has helped a great deal. Reading and sharing on Diabetic Connect has helped a great deal as well. It is good to not be alone with this anymore,” she says. “I feel our minds are so powerful in how we live and how we feel. Trying to stay away from letting negative people or thoughts in your head can make a huge difference in your health. There will still be the ups and downs of living, but I feel I am in a much better place and will keep speaking up for myself rather than eat my feelings.”