Andrew Harmon



A Memoir of Diabetes

by Marlene DeVose


It was the sunniest day of the year; I remember it well. The sun’s spikes, the laughs of the normal adolescents outside enjoying the sun, my frequent visits to the mirror, and my infrequent smiles I gave the thirteen-year-old girl who stared into it. As I lifted my arm to clean my face that had sadness splattered all over it, I heard mother yell, “Come on, Marlene!” The sweat of my brow was my only association with the sun that day. The girl in my mirror did not allow me to enjoy the beauty of the sun or life, especially in the years following my visit with Dr. Zivies. Acanthosis Nigricans. It was the name of my condition at the time and type 2 diabetes was what Dr. Zivies said Acanthosis Nigricans would escalate into. I was given no explanation for how Acanthosis Nigricans and diabetes were related, but I knew what to do to avoid them both. Progressively make minute changes.

By the grace of time and maturation, I learned that the food I put into my mouth daily influenced the pigmentations on my skin and the morbidly obese body that this diseased skin covered. I knew that I would have to free my throat from the tanginess of my purple soda, and to free my taste buds from the softness of my coconut cream cakes. I knew that if happiness and health were to be achieved, I’d have to free my body from the very food that was inflating it, controlling it, killing it, and making me despise it. So I sat on my bed that day after my doctor’s appointment with a plate of fried chicken wings on my lap. My conscious mind whispered, “Remember, child, that you are pre-diabetic.” Then I promised my conscious mind that this would be my last bit of fried food I’d ever eat. But little did I know, this was the first error in my thinking during my journey to self-healing. So, instead of destroying the monster that was defeating me, I decided to hold him captive and set him free only occasionally like on holidays and special events. But he must always return to his cave.  This is how I gained my deepest respect for food. So, I sat in my bedroom eating the chicken wings that were reddened by the ketchup and made salty and sweet by the ketchup as well. I sat and wondered how I would look with my new body, if I would look like the other normal-sized thirteen-year-old girls outside in the sun, if the shorts I wore to play basketball in would become too big and fall off.

Ah, yes! Basketball. I was indeed an active child, faithful to my sport and was never lazy to say the least. I ran, shot, ran, retrieved, ran, and shot again for hours a couple times a week. My heart beat like the sound of the basketball pounding on the ground. I sweated…and I sweated…and I sweated.  And the sweat made my shirt stick to my hanging belly and made my shorts stick to my voluminous thighs.  I surpassed the preliminary recommendation of thirty minutes of exercise a day by a long shot, but if my vigorous physical activity was enough to save me from type 2 diabetes, I would have never had that conversation with Dr. Zivies, I would not have been as close as I was to developing the disease, and I would not have been bound by the low self-esteem of the girl in my mirror. I would have loved her, claimed her, and taken her in as my own. Physical activity was not enough to save me.

 So, my summation will be in the form of a plea to you, my dear friends, to know that the best treatment for type 2 diabetes is the prevention of type 2 diabetes. All foods must share your one body, but those foods that promise you sustainability and goal achievement must…they MUST dominate. This, my friends, is disease prevention. Vitamins of the vegetable and protein of the legume demand attention from the body, but our minds require the tastefulness of the sweet tart. Find your happy medium, but know which foods have your best interest at heart. When I found my happy medium at age thirteen, I managed to lose 60 pounds in 8 months, 22 more pounds over the years, and eventually 100 pounds total. I became completely void of disease! But that is the least of my accomplishments. My greatest endeavor, thus far, has been learning how to continuously build upon my relationship with food that initially helped me prevent type 2 diabetes. This means embracing an ever evolving world of nutriment.  I want to warn you that embracing it is a road not easily traveled; I can proclaim this because of my experiences with it since my youth. Relationship-building with food has proposed great emotional and psychological impairment as well as healing and triumphs. These impairments were so engraved within me, yet hidden from the public eye. So that is why in 2013, nine years after my visit to Dr. Zivies and my first encounter with type 2 diabetes, I decided to start writing a creative nonfiction book to share the account of how type 2 diabetes played a small, yet intricate, role in the development of other psychological and behavioral conditions throughout my human experience.

Contact Information:
Marlene DeVose, B.S. in Kinesiology
Book Publication Year: 2016


Home Away From Homeee  |  Hot or Not   |   Money Minutes   |   Path Lighting   |   Get Up & Move  |  And The Award Goes To
Real Estate   |   Legal   |   Gadgets   |   Cars   |   Education   |   Relationships  |   Philadelphia's Best Kept
Subscribe   |   Advertise   |   Contact