How Diabetes Changed My Life: Interview With Donald Van Billiard

I received a text from my best friend, Donald Van Billiard. He told me about how he was just diagnosed with Diabetes. I couldn’t believe it. My best friend? The one that would knock a doughnut out of my hand so I wouldn’t eat it? The one who always made sure that I was trying to be as healthy as possible was now the same person with a disease that isn’t easy to control. Yet, here he was, confiding in me about how his life had changed when he heard the doctor say those awful words “You have diabetes.” Keep reading for a personal interview about how diabetes can truly affect someone and change their life forever.

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The diagnosis came as a shock… as they so often do.

Up until now, DJ has always lived a normal life. With the exception of being sick here and there, he’s always steered pretty clear of being ill. But one day about three months ago, something just didn’t feel right. After speaking with his doctor and doing routine blood work, he found out he was being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

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“I was so shocked. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. What does this mean? How am I supposed to deal with this when I have no prior experience? I don’t even know anyone that has it”, said Donald.

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Adapting to a completely different lifestyle is extremely challenging, yet crucial.

After the initial diagnosis, DJ was given a pill and told to change his eating and exercise habits or he’d be struggling for the rest of his life.

“I knew that it was time to make a change. No more fooling around with my health. This is serious now. It was time to kick it into gear and take care of myself because I want to live my life to the fullest and never let anything hold me back, especially not a disease”. -Donald Van Billiard

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He had to cut out all breads, pastas, and sweets.

DJ decided to cut out all breads, pastas, and sweets. He sticks to a diet of fruits, vegetables, and a lot of protein. He also makes sure to drink 64 oz. of water a day to stay hydrated.

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The hardest part was having to change his whole life around in a matter of one day.

“[The hardest part was] changing my whole life around in a matter of a day. By the next day, I already told myself I would never let this define me and I would work my ass off to make sure that I do what I need to do for myself”.- Donald Van Billard

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What is the positive outcome of all this, if you can even name one?

“[The best part was] learning about myself and my strengths and weaknesses. Diabetes encouraged me to get in better shape and be more self aware of my choices”. – Donald Van Billard

What advice would you give anyone who finds themselves in the same unfortunate position as you?

“Listen to your doctors, change your habits ASAP, try to turn your life around before it’s too late, and always think before you make a mistake and compromise your health again.” -Donald Van Billiard

I never want to see my best friend going through something that is detrimental to his health again and I could never imagine my life without my number one. While his advice might not work for everyone, DJ’s story is a true testament to his strength, courage, and teaches me and others to take care of ourselves before it’s too late.

Featured image source: favim.com, thisismybipolarlife.wordpress.com