I Got Over My Shame and Got My Weight, Diabetes, and Life Under Control

Carole O'Donnell, 48, of Philadelphia, was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and then type 2 diabetes in 1995. Until recently her life was a "roller coaster" of medications, weight gain, and shame. Today, however, the social worker and mother says life is better than ever. O'Donnell tells us in her own words how she got her diabetes, her weight, and her lifestyle under control.

Carole found a diabetes support group that helped her cope with the disease.
When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. It was pretty stressful: I had to inject insulin three times a day, make sure it was refrigerated, and always have something to eat at the right time.

But I was pregnant and I had to do a good job keeping my blood sugar under control for both my baby and me. I knew that for most women, gestational diabetes goes away after you give birth.

That didn't happen in my case. After my daughter was born, the doctors tested me again and I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

I was pretty shocked by the diagnosis. I was 35 years old and active—I used to bike race—and I was at a good weight when I got pregnant. I'm 5'9" and I weighed 195 pounds then. That sounds like a lot, but I never looked my weight. My legs were muscular from years of bike-racing, although I did have a belly because of my lousy eating.

My mother had type 2 diabetes and my sister was diagnosed four years ago. Even though my mother had diabetes, I didn't know much about the disease. She never talked about it. She used her glucose meter all the time, but she never explained any of it to me. She was very private about her daily care, which is why I didn't know anything about the disease when I was diagnosed.

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As told to: Nancy Gottesman
Last Updated: April 11, 2008

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