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"I Saw 4 Doctors in 4 Years Before I Was Finally Diagnosed With Autoimmune Diabetes"

Image Source: Mila Clarke

At 26 years old, Mila Clarke's body started to feel like it was falling apart. "I had been feeling really awful all the time," she tells POPSUGAR. "I was really lethargic. And no matter how much sleep I would get, I was just exhausted all the time." Mila also found herself constantly thirsty and would wake up most nights drenched in sweat.

"I kind of thought for a while that it was just anxiety from my job," she says. Mila had been working at a nonprofit, and routinely logged 50- to 60-hour weeks. "I did digital communication, so I always had to be online, and my phone was always buzzing. I just thought needed a vacation or I needed to take some time and step away."

The symptoms had persisted for nearly three months when an annual physical revealed that her blood sugar levels were extremely high: 323 mg/dL, more than double what the CDC considers the normal range of less than 140 mg/dL, and an indicator of diabetes. Her doctors told her she had type 2 diabetes, a condition that occurs when the body can't manage its blood sugar levels, leading to chronically high blood glucose.

"I felt a lot of shame. I felt like it was my fault. I felt like I neglected my health and I was being lazy."

"My mom had gestational diabetes. And then she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, when I was around 10 years old," Mila says. But even though she "grew up with diabetes in my household, watching my mom prick her fingers and take medication," the family never talked much about the condition, she says. "Even when I would ask her when I was younger, 'What are you doing? Why are you pricking your finger?' she was kind of like, don't worry about it, no big deal," Mila says.

But 15 years later, Mila's diagnosis did feel like a big deal. "I felt a lot of shame. I felt like it was my fault. I felt like I neglected my health, and I was being lazy," she says.

The way her healthcare practitioner spoke to her about the diagnosis reaffirmed those feelings. Her provider didn't just say, "You have diabetes and this is what it means," Mila says. Instead, the diagnosis was framed as, "You're 26. You're young. This shouldn't be something that's on your radar. Type 2 diabetes is something that can have effects on your whole body, you could lose limbs, you could lose your eyesight - like all of these really scary things," she recalls. She was also told that she was essentially "ruining her body" and that she "wouldn't be able to live a very long life" if she continued down the path she was on.

"That was a terrifying moment for me because I was like, I don't feel like I did anything wrong. At the time, I was eating very well like eating almost all of my meals at home, I was exercising, going for walks with my dogs," Mila says.

But there was this emphasis from her provider that she would need to apply much more effort and care to her body. She felt like they were "assuming that I was in that position because I didn't take care of myself, when in reality, my body was like dealing with something that like I was not equipped to handle," she says.

All of sudden, Mila says, her mom's resistance to talking about her diabetes made much more sense. "I was like, I bet this is how she felt. And that's why she didn't want to talk about it."

Over the next year, Mila tried several oral medications to tackle her diabetes, but none of them worked.

After being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, Mila's doctor recommended oral medications to help manage her blood sugar levels. She would come back every few months to assess her progress, but unfortunately, there was never any progress to report. "Over and over and over - I think we went through this cycle for a year. My blood sugars barely improved," Mila says. And she was made to feel like it was her fault, like her doctor didn't believe she was doing enough.

"I never felt listened to," Mila says. "I felt like the blame was always reflected back on me, rather than trying to adjust the treatment to work for me."

Finally, she fired her doctor. "I went to another doctor, and she was more empathetic. But I still didn't feel totally believed that I was doing the right things, and that I was trying as hard as I could. So I ended up going to another primary care doctor." This time, she specifically sought out a Black female doctor who made her feel more seen.

But another year passed with little to no progress - meaning she was approaching four years postdiagnosis, and she'd seen no improvements in her condition. Mila was exhausted, and told her doctor, "I want to give up. I don't know what else to do at this point." In response, her doctor recommended an endocrinologist.

Upon seeing an endocrinologist, Mila discovered that she had been misdiagnosed.

"I told him everything that I was doing and how frustrated I was that I wasn't improving," Mila says. And he immediately knew what was wrong. A major red flag for the endocrinologist was Mila's age. It isn't often that adults over 30 are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, he pointed out - and it's also rare for oral medications not to bringing down blood sugar. "He looked at me and asked me, 'Well, have you ever heard of LADA, latent autoimmune diabetes in adults?'" She hadn't.

LADA is a slow-progressing form of autoimmune diabetes, per the Mayo Clinic. It's often considered a subtype of type 1 diabetes and occurs because your pancreas stops producing adequate insulin. Mila had never been tested for autoimmune diabetes antibodies up to this point, only for her A1C and blood sugar levels. But when given the antibodies test, Mila tested positive for type 1 antibodies and was officially diagnosed as having LADA.

"So from that day, he was like, 'Your entire treatment is going to change, and we're going to focus less on oral medications and going to get you on insulin, because you need it. Your body's not functioning properly and not producing enough insulin for you to be able to regulate your blood sugars,'" Mila says.

Her endocrinologist also explained that Mila would be on insulin for the foreseeable future, a reality that was incredibly difficult for her to accept. When she was living as a type 2 diabetic, she'd always been told that there was hope of reversing the condition and that she could mange it with diet and exercise. "Then fast-forward to being re-diagnosed and being told 'no, this is going to be a part of your life forever,'" Mila says. "That was a really hard transition to make."

But she's learned to use social media as an outlet of self-care and expression.

Mila launched her platform (@thehangrywoman) the week she was diagnosed with diabetes. She didn't know anybody her age with the condition and was desperately seeking community.

She also wanted to offer up a platform where other people could come to find a more holistic representation of diabetes. She hoped to create a space that didn't focus on elimination, but rather the enhancement of your life, since in her experience, diabetics are often told what they can't have, rather than what they can.

When it comes to food in particular, Mila says, it's been so important to represent joy. "One of my first specialist appointments after I got diagnosed was with a dietitian, and I sat in her office and she asked me what I like to eat. And I was like, 'Well, I love like rice, beans, plantains, and I love Jamaican food.' And she was like, 'OK, well, you can't eat any of that.'" Mila says. She remembers sitting there in disbelief. "And I was just like, 'Wait, what? Those are my cultural foods.'" To be told that she couldn't eat them was discouraging, but also stoked a fire in Mila to find substitutes and unique ways to incorporate them into her diet.

One of her favorite diabetic friendly creations is her recipe for gizzada cookie bars, which she shared with the Washington Post. It's a spinoff of a dessert that she used to make with her mom, who passed away last year. "I was so proud of that because I got to one, tell a really cool story about times that I had with my mom, but two, I got to share, nationally, a diabetes-friendly dessert that people could actually enjoy at their table."

Her biggest takeaway about diabetes?

"It's nothing to be ashamed of," Mila says. And despite what some people may think, people with diabetes are not inherently lazy or automatically at fault for the condition, she adds. "When you end up being diagnosed with diabetes, you realize that you are literally keeping yourself alive."

In reality, she says, "I think people who do have diabetes are some of the strongest ever and some of the most fierce advocates for our own health. Because we have to be."

Each year in the US, an estimated 12 million adults who receive outpatient care are misdiagnosed, and oftentimes, those patients fall within a minority identity, including women, nonwhite Americans, and those within the LGBTQ+ community. That's why we created Finally, Diagnosed: a monthly series dedicated to highlighting the stories of those who've been overlooked by their doctors and forced to take their health into their own hands in order to get the care they deserve.


Gigi Hadid Shares Her "Very Mom Morning Routine," and It Includes Daily Pancakes

Gigi Hadid has a self-reportedly "very mom morning routine." The supermodel and her 2-year-old daughter, Khai, are inseparable, even sharing the same breakfast.

Hadid's day starts between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m - or she'll wake up whenever her daughter wakes up - she told WSJ. Magazine for its My Monday Morning series. Her breakfast is also determined by her little one. "I eat whatever Khai's having. I make her pancakes and sausages every day." She continued, "For Christmas, she asked me what I was going to ask Santa for and so I said I wanted a new pancake pan. I ordered myself, via Santa, this cool pancake pan-each little circle pancake is a different animal, so she can have lion pancakes or llama pancakes. It's really fun."

The 27-year-old says she gets most of her exercise from running around after her toddler. "We walk a lot. We do yoga together. With lifting her and running around all day and going to the park, I get moving," she shared.

This isn't the first time Hadid has opened up about motherhood. In September 2022, she shared more of her experiences with Khai on "Sunday Today With Willie Geist." "I think she's a genius. But I think that's what everyone says about their kid," Hadid acknowledged. "The more that she talks, and understands, and remembers, it just gets more and more fun. And she's a blessing."

The model shares Khai with ex-boyfriend Zayn Malik and up until recently kept her out of the spotlight except for the occasional Instagram post. "The rumors are true: my best friend, purpose, muse, greatest pride & joy! I feel so lucky and inspired bein your mama, my Khai !!" she wrote in a caption. "An old soul full of sunshine, you light up everyone's days! Thank you dSS! thank you d thank you d"


Patrick Clancy's Heart-Wrenching Statement Asks For Forgiveness For His Wife

Content warning: This post contains mentions of suicide, postpartum psychosis and depression, and harm to children.

Conversations on social media about Massachusetts mother Lindsay Clancy continue to swirl as new information is released. The 32-year-old nurse was mother to 5-year-old Cora, 3-year-old Dawson, and 8-month-old Callan. Last week, she allegedly attempted suicide by jumping out of a window in her home while her three children were found unconscious with obvious signs of trauma, CBS News reported.

Cora and Dawson Clancy were pronounced dead later that day, and after being flown to Boston Children's Hospital with traumatic injuries, Callan was pronounced dead three days later. Lindsay remains hospitalized and in police custody. She currently faces two counts of murder and three counts each of strangulation and assault and battery with a deadly weapon. But following Callan's death on Friday, her charges are expected to be upgraded. If convicted of first-degree murder, she will face an automatic life sentence in Massachusetts.

Rita Musgrove, the kids' great-grandmother, told NBC Boston that she spoke with Lindsay last week and nothing seemed amiss. Lindsay's husband, Patrick Clancy, also started a GoFundMe page, where he shared his thoughts about the situation, explaining that Lindsay was not the same person as the one who allegedly committed those acts. "She's recently been portrayed largely by people who have never met her and never knew who the real Lindsay was," he wrote. "Our marriage was wonderful and diametrically grew stronger as her condition rapidly worsened."

Authorities have not commented on whether any mental illness may have played a role in the homicides or if Lindsay had any mental health history, but sources told the WBZ-TV I-Team postpartum psychosis was a possible cause, per CBS News.

In a previous story for POPSUGAR, Mary Kimmel, MD, medical director of the Perinatal Psychiatry Inpatient Unit at UNC Hospitals - Chapel Hill, described postpartum psychosis to patients as "the most severe form of postpartum depression." It's often associated with tragic events like infanticide and suicide, though these only occur in four percent and five percent of cases of postpartum psychosis, respectively. Symptoms of postpartum psychosis can include strange beliefs, hallucinations, paranoia, and rapid mood swings, according to Postpartum Support International. While the condition is temporary, it should be treated as an emergency because there is always the risk of danger due to the delusional thinking and irrational judgment.

Patrick's statement is a reminder that postpartum psychosis is a very complex mental health condition and those who've struggled with it deserve sympathy. He urged the community to forgive Lindsay on his GoFundMe page. "I want to ask all of you that you find it deep within yourselves to forgive Lindsay, as I have," he wrote. "The real Lindsay was generously loving and caring towards everyone - me, our kids, family, friends, and her patients. The very fibers of her soul are loving. All I wish for her now is that she can somehow find peace."

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide ideation, postpartum psychosis, or depression, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has resources available, including a helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6424). You can also dial 988, the nation's suicide and crisis hotline.


This Is How Long You Can Expect to Bleed After Giving Birth, According to 2 Doctors

Considering the fact that there were over 3.5 million babies born in the US in 2021, you'd think that we'd be better about educating people about the postpartum period. But while we've made some strides, the truth is many people are still woefully undereducated about what's normal in the days and weeks after giving birth - including how long postpartum bleeding lasts.

Postpartum bleeding is also known as lochia, and although it's considered typical, it's not talked about enough. (Case in point: Chrissy Teigen was surprised to find she needed to wear a diaper to deal with postpartum bleeding even after having a C-section.) Bleeding after giving birth doesn't typically cause complications, nor is it a sign of something amiss. It's the body expelling the extra blood and tissue that it needed for the baby.

But even knowing it happens, you might be left with some additional questions. How long do you bleed after giving birth, for example? Are there postpartum bleeding stages? Is there anything you can do to stop postpartum bleeding faster? We asked experts everything there is to know about lochia.

What Is Lochia?

Lochia is also called postpartum bleeding, but it consists of more than blood. The vaginal discharge that happens after giving birth typically also includes mucus, uterine tissue, and essentially any other materials in your uterus from pregnancy. "New moms can expect the blood to be bright red and thick because of the tissue right after giving birth," says Iffath Hoskins, MD, clinical associate professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone Medical Center. "But as time goes on, it should change to a brown or orange shade."

Is it Normal to Bleed After Birth?

Regardless of whether you had a vaginal delivery or C-section, postpartum bleeding is normal. Similar to your period, the bleeding is the shedding and restoration of your uterine lining. The heavier bleeding will typically last for about 10 to 14 days, according to Dr Hoskins. During this time, pads will be your friend - expect to go through several thick pads per day, and don't use tampons until your healthcare provider gives you the OK, as they can introduce bacteria that could lead to infection.

Lochia can get messy, so wearing some crummy clothes that you don't mind getting dirty is a good idea. The blood isn't cause for alarm, but if something feels "off," Dr. Hoskins urges you to contact a doctor. "No one ever died from being embarrassed about an unnecessary phone call, but sepsis is a known killer of mothers," she says. Symptoms such as a localized pain in the perineum, fever, pus, foul-smelling odor, excessive clotting (think golf-ball size), or soaking a pad every hour are all urgent signs to call your doctor.

What Are the Postpartum Bleeding Stages?

There are three stages of postpartum bleeding, according to Cleveland Clinic:

  • Lochia rubra. The first stage typically lasts up to four days post-birth. The flow may feel like a heavy period with mild cramping. Expect to see dark- or bright-red blood and small clots.
  • Lochia serosa. The second stage is a more moderate flow from days four to 12. The discharge is a pinkish-brown color and more watery in texture. There's less clotting and bloodiness in general.
  • Lochia alba. The final stage is signaled by light flow or spotting. At this point there shouldn't be any clots and little to no blood. Instead you can expect yellowish-white discharge until roughly the six-week mark.

How Long Do You Bleed After Giving Birth?

Altogether, the three stages of lochia can last up to six weeks. That said, it's normal to see spotting for up to eight weeks post-childbirth, adds Heather Rupe, MD, DO, ob-gyn at The Womens Group of Franklin.

How to Stop Postpartum Bleeding Faster

Research shows breastfeeding accelerates healing because your body produces the hormone oxytocin while you nurse which stimulates uterine contractions and reduces bleeding. But there's nothing you need to do to "treat" lochia. Instead, during the first six weeks post-childbirth, try to get as much rest as possible (though it's fine to take some light walks, if you'd like), and let your body recover.

- Additional reporting by Melanie Whyte


Even Marie Kondo's House Can't Stand Up to the Chaos of 3 Kids

It's finally happened. The queen of clean, Marie Kondo, has "kind of given up" tidying up after her three children. The author of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" says she initially felt she had a reputation to uphold. But now at 38, she's realized that perfectly folded laundry and color-coded organization isn't always attainable.

"Up until now, I was a professional tidier, so I did my best to keep my home tidy at all times," she said at a recent event, the Washington Post reported. "I have kind of given up on that in a good way for me. Now I realize what is important to me is enjoying spending time with my children at home."

The organizing consultant went on to explain that after having her third child, she found it more and more challenging to maintain a tidy home all the time. "My home is messy, but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time at this stage of my life," she said.

One thing's for sure: this news has certainly "sparked joy" for those who have a hard time staying on top of tidying. "Marie Kondo has a messy home and I'm 1000% here for it," writer Elahe Izadi tweeted. Another Twitter user wrote, "Y'all don't know how much I needed this today! The mess kids make is no joke. The mess all over my house feels validated lol." And while it's nice to know even the experts have a hard time keeping things tidy, Kondo's transparency is a great example of how we evolve and change over time - especially with a growing family.

The bestselling author shared her new philosophy in her more recent book, "Marie Kondo's Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life" ($20), which came out in November 2022. It focuses on the Japanese concept of "kurashi," which her website defines as "way of life" or "the ideal way of spending our time." Essentially, instead of hyperanalyzing which objects in our home "spark joy," she instead asks us to declutter our calendars and consider how we spend our time.

"The true purpose of tidying is not to cut down on your possessions or declutter your space," Kondo writes on her site. "The ultimate goal is to spark joy every day and lead a joyful life." So let's make 2023 the year of messy, lived-in, happy homes.


Claire Foy Is "Quite Proud" of Her 7-Year-Old's Unexpected Netflix Prank

"I'm quite proud of how she managed to find it and do that."

When asked by Norton if her daughter, who she shares with ex-husband Stephen Campbell Moore, had seen any of her work, Foy replied, "No, I haven't done anything child-friendly." On whether her daughter has at least seen her picture on TV, Foy was quick to detail the 7-year-old's technological expertise: "She has discovered that you can have my face as an [avatar] on Netflix," Foy said, referring to the streamer's option to pick a character from "The Crown" for a profile icon.

"I didn't know that she'd done this. She'd gone to bed and I turned [Netflix] on and there's my face, but she called it 'Nincompoop.'" The audience immediately burst into laughter, Foy included. Still in disbelief, she continued, "I don't think she's ever called anyone a nincompoop but she spelled it perfectly - and it's just my face."

While Foy was originally caught off guard by her daughter's prank, she had a good laugh over the memory alongside Norton and fellow guests Sarah Michelle Gellar, Rob Beckett, and M. Night Shyamalan. "I can't go anywhere near it, but I also can't delete it because I'm quite proud of how she managed to find it and do that," she added.

Foy recently had a mini "The Crown" reunion at the Critics' Choice Awards on Jan. 15, reconnecting with her costar Matt Smith, who played Prince Philip to her Queen Elizabeth II.

Above, watch Foy's full retelling of her daughter's savvy prank.