While diabetes can be a chronic illness that brings about devastating consequences and long term complications (like kidney failure, blindness and amputations), managed well, diabetes can become a cheerleader for success.

There’s no debating the issue, diabetes requires work to manage glucose levels. It requires a consistent routine so that we can function well during other demands placed on our lives.

No one manages diabetes for a living without other responsibilities.




Take a look at this list of famous people with diabetes:


  • Mary Tyler Moore

  • Halle Berry

  • Thomas Edison

  • Ernest Hemmingway

  • Elvis Presley

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber

  • BB King

  • Howard Hughes

  • Ray Croc (McDonalds founder)

  • Anwar Sadat

  • Mike Huckabee

  • Jackie Robinson

  • Billie Jean King 


What can you imagine about each of them? That they were all work hard at their craft? That in order to focus, they had to maintain near perfect blood sugars? Not only did Halle Berry have to control her blood sugar in order to jump into her Bond Girl role, but especially while pregnant and preparing for her most important role as Mommy.


The lessons learned from this list of people are 1) diabetes has to be a self managed routine that occurs without long periods of thought or a lot of concentrated effort.  For instance, if my blood sugar is ____,  then I will react like this. Reviewing records at the end of the day may suggest tweaks to the system over the long run. And 2) DIABETES DOES NOT PREVENT SUCCESS!


It is my belief that the regimen that diabetes requires encourages the same discipline in other areas of your life. For instance, at age 7, when my diabetes was diagnosed, like other people with diabetes, I had to learn to give myself an insulin shot, pay attention to how I felt, test my glucose levels, plan to marry exercise and meals, etc. But my dream as a young girl was not to become a well managed diabetic. Yes of course, I wanted grow into a healthy adult, however my dreams were to get good grades, make friends, become a cheerleader, attend a good college, enjoy my job, marry and have children.




With goals like most of us have, diabetes has to be something that we are aware of, however something that we manage in the background of our lives. This is why the regimen is so important. If we know what to do in most if not all circumstances, then all we have to do is test to find out what circumstance we’re in.




And so it is no surprise that people with diabetes work hard in other aspects of their lives to strive or perfection.  Can you imagine balancing Billie Jean King’s glucose levels while she’s in the middle of a tennis match; or during a day of practice for that matter? Similarly can you imagine the emotional ups and downs as well as the blood sugar ups and downs Howard Hughes endured.




What I urge is to listen to your body and note how it reacts to various stimuli such as exercise, food, emotions like fear, nervousness and anger to see how it impacts blood sugar. Not just generally—but find out how to what extent your body reacts. For instance, when you have an insulin reaction, do you need 1,2 or 3 glucose tablets to cure it? Is an apple before exercise snack enough to prevent hypoglycemia? When you lead a meeting or do public speaking, does your blood sugar drop from the jitters? When you become angry, what happens to your blood sugar?




Successful people with diabetes understand this and know what happens to their bodies in these, and other circumstances. Once you’ve mastered this approach, you can create regimens around music, sports, business, relationships and other aspects of your life.