How Type 2 Diabetes Redefined My Life

Lori Lee used her type 2 diabetes diagnosis to find a new lease on life. Read her inspiring story. 

Amy Capetta
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Today, Lori Lee is healthy, confident and successful. Yet, ironically, she credits her achievements to the very words that sent her into a downward spiral seven years ago: “You have diabetes.”

Just 36 at the time, the single mother of three children (then ages 8, 13 and 15) learned the diagnosis after symptoms like dizziness, severe fatigue and a burning sensation in her feet landed her in the hospital. The news sent her reeling: “I was never more petrified in my entire life."

She started taking medication and headed back to her high-pressure job, but that wasn’t enough. Her blood sugar skyrocketed—hovering in the 400s—draining her energy and sapping her memory.

Lori continued gaining weight and neglecting her diabetes until the day she had a heart-to-heart phone conversation with her mother. “I was bawling my eyes out, telling my mother how sorry I felt for myself. And then she snapped, ‘Enough! This person is not my daughter—because my daughter is a fighter!’ ”

Those words were Lori’s wake-up call. She made an appointment with a new doctor, and after being put on insulin, she met with a nutritionist who explained the importance of a healthy diet.

One positive step led to another, ultimately leading Lori to tap into a passion: writing, something she had done over the years for enjoyment. “I wrote poetry and romance novels for fun,” she says, “but I had never thought about it as a career…until now.” The more she wrote, the more she felt her ailments “disappear.” Lori then found the courage to submit a manuscript for a children’s book to a publishing company—and it was accepted.

Today, Lori is an author of children’s books, including Bonnie the Honeybee and the Case of the Butterfly Blues. Her kids are thriving, and her health is better than it’s been in years. “I’m working with my doctor diligently. The diabetes is a constant battle, but I am down to insulin just once a day.” She’s also dropped a few dress sizes.

And Lori thanks her type 2 diabetes for her newfound happiness. “Without getting sick, I would never have this amazing life. I was supposed to be in a wheelchair by the time I was 40—but I’m almost 44 and as active as I can be. Life is a conscious choice and I choose to live a life of gratitude. Now each morning when I wake up, I can’t wait to see where my journey takes me!”

Rally your diabetes fighting spirit
To fire up your desire to keep your diabetes under control, try these tips: 

Start with a clean slate. Let go of feeling guilty for your “mistakes”—whether you ate too many sweets or let your gym membership lapse. Keep your mind on the present: Each day is a new day and a new chance to do the right thing for your health.

April 2013