Feature Friday ~ Yassmin
This week we will meet a beautiful soul from Palestine named Yassmin Al Shalabi. She is a person who has a positive light shining from within. As a diabetic and diabetic health coach, I had to ask her to share her story! I love how she keeps it real on social media and discusses the daily mental burden that we face as diabetics. Enjoy!
A work in progress. I honestly don’t know how to describe myself as I am constantly working on growing, everyday a new challenge, pushing myself outside my comfort zone. Becoming 30 years old in a few months, and there are a few things I’m certain of, I’m a Palestinian & so I am an overachiever (like all Palestinians, I’m no different), as I carry my country with me, I hold a responsibility of telling a story of 73 years of resistance & resilience against oppression , occupation and a liberation to come.
Very similar to my 25 years living with type one diabetes, yet diabetes can be kind at moments. Occupation is not.
Can you tell us what it is like being a diabetic health coach?
Its humbling to be part of someone else’s journey of diagnosis & acceptance. I very often find myself learning more than I am coaching. Each & every person living with diabetes is unique & they all add beautiful layers to my own journey living with diabetes.
I was diagnosed at 5 years old with type one diabetes, my mom noticed that I went to the bathroom more than my siblings & that I was losing weight. And so, she decided to test my urine with urine glucose testing strips, to her surprise, mine read very high and so we went to a doctor and the journey began.
There were not any room for misdiagnosis, at 5 years old, it was an obvious type one diabetes.
What were your initial thoughts after your diagnosis?
I don’t remember thoughts as much as feelings. I remember the first injection at the doctor’s office right after diagnosis in my thigh, and I remember my mom & dad driving back home, my mom crying & my dad trying to comfort both himself & her. It was a huge shift for the whole family dynamic. I felt safe in my dad’s words, I remember him clearly saying that everything will be alright and that there are many people who are healthy living with diabetes.
I did get a lot of gifts and was super spoiled after diagnosis to be completely honest, it was nice for a while.
Struggles and Stereotypes
I find inspiration in the strength of my people, whenever I wake up to news of people resisting in Palestine, I know in my heart that if they can live with occupation with such grace for 73 years, then I can too with diabetes.
It’s always the stereotype of diabetes where we live. The very uneducated population of the difference between type one & type two, and the assumption that I have diabetes because I ate too much sugar as a kid.
How does Yassmin thrive?
Thriving is being able to find the smallest thing to be grateful for despite having a diabetes. It’s not easy having diabetes, many on social media platform show only the “good” numbers & the “good” days, and that’s not my thing, I show the real thing, the hyper & hypo and I often get criticized for it, but who am I if I’m putting false pressure on young people with diabetes by being “perfect”? There is no such thing in diabetes & whatever else.
Thriving is being real, honest & raw.
What do you wish someone told you earlier about diabetes?
That’s it’s a daily diagnosis. After having diabetes for 25 years, some days it takes me by surprise that I have diabetes, that is I’ve never known what “normal” is. That the closest of people won’t understand the mental burden having diabetes puts on a person, most cancel your daily struggle by saying “but why are you crying, you’ve had it for 25 years, you should be okay,” it’s a daily diagnosis, it’s not something you get used to.
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