Before or after you read this, if you read this watch Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest directed by Michael Rapaport.
I am about the same age as rap music. A Tribe Called Quest was one of my favorite groups. During that time rap was weird and I loved it. I remember watching I Left My Wallet in the El Seguendo and Bonita Applebum on television in the 80s. And yes Q-Tip was one of my first crushes. I love poetry so rap artistry is a love for me. Music is my therapy. It’s one of my coping skills.
When I watched this documentary I was pissed at Q-Tip. He really didn’t do anything wrong. He just was not empathetic to Phife’s battle with Type 1 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is the rat you can’t get rid of in my family. I do believe I have a relative who had juvenile diabetes but I will have to research. I’ve been trying to write about several subjects and experiences but I am still in recovery from over 18 years of autoimmunity. Body and mind is recovering.
Yes Type 1 Diabetes is autoimmune. I do know the levels of severity are different as with any other chronic illness. So not only did Phife have to battle his pancreas not producing insulin properly creating a craving for sugar there are many other complications internally that are still unknown. The thymus gland is also involved, I’ve had mine removed. I do not know what other complications he had other than his kidney failure. Why was Phife awesome? I don’t know if you know any diabetics but if he’s anything like the Type 2s I know, if they don’t eat or get sugar you might want to duck.
Phife made his frustrations clear with his band member who pushed him too much during their reunion concerts. Q-Tip didn’t understand and Phife was upset. Q-Tip wanted him to exercise and eat better. I know his heart was in the right place but when you are autoimmune not only is your body self attacking there is a hormonal imbalance that can lead to all kinds of roadblocks to implement healthy changes. We won’t even talk about the medications that we take. Medications help but in many cases they have side effects that make it even more difficult.
I remember that his beautiful wife was a match for his kidney transplant. I saw his beautiful spirit when he expressed his gratitude for his wife. Of course if you saw Steel Magnolias(a true story about a woman with the same condition from Louisiana), even after having a kidney transplant Shelby died. I do not question God’s plan. A warrior is gone at 45. I am 40. Most autoimmune warriors face immortality at a young age. I have. Some of us talk about it. Some of us do not.
I was told once that the dead are forgotten. I’m sorry I don’t forget the dead. I cherish their memory and legacy because the I have personally lost very close loved ones to diabetes. I had the pleasure of meeting a diabetes researcher while at a local gym. Pennington Biomedical Research center in Baton Rouge is in danger of closing due to the Louisiana budget crisis.
My uncle is currently in the hospital and he may have kidney failure. He has a grandchild on the way and I’ve already lost 2 uncles many years ago to diabetic complications. Both were younger than I am now. Phife’s diabetes is not heriditary or so they think, much is still unknown. Both of my maternal grandparents had diabetes and all seven of their children contracted the illness and weight was not a factor. If both your parents have Type 2 diabetes then you will contract it. This is my opinion but there is documentation proving this, I remember arguing with my nutrition instructor about diabetes and weight.
It is time for the stigma to removed from illness especially autoimmunity. The other reason I have been in deep thought and preservation mode(it’s an acquired autoimmune skill I had to master to remain breathing) is the knowledge that one of my autoimmune warriors informed our community that all of her adult kids have Myasthenia gravis. I was diagnosed with Myasthenia gravis in July of 1998. I was being treated for Graves disease shortly after my twins were born in 1997.
Because so much is unknown still about autoimmune illness and because I have 2 rare autoimmune illnesses it is necessary to at least get them tested for Myasthenia gravis which is a multi level task where I live because at this time I am having to protect my children’s insurance. Yes they are trying to cut my college twins insurance. No worries here, God has given me the gift of restoration. My gratitude outweighs my anger. I utilize much more effective outlets for the frustrations of life now.
I pray for comfort, peace and stability to Malik Taylor’s loved ones. You do know fame does not mean riches especially in the music industry. I cannot imagine the financial impact Phife’s illness had on his life. I thank him for his honestly and transparency concerning his condition.
I was told by my business partner that I promote illness. That comment actually made me feel sorry for her because autoimmune illness is real and there is currently no cure and quality of life is decreasing and death among my community is increasing. Funny thing is I’ve heard worse from those closest to me and I’m a proud autoimmune warrior so if I hear that comment again I cannot be responsible for what comes out of my mouth. Sorry that’s just me-if you view my life experiences as insignificant you will either get an short education or my silence. I have had to learn to accept ignorance from the supposedly healthy.
I support health, awareness and prevention. We need cures not judgement. We need support not stress. I speak life, not death and I’m still here with my QUALITY OF LIFE being restored. Many of us survive invisibly and quietly but we live with minimal quality of life.
Some of us don’t even take breathing for granted so I pray someone understands my words as I have to write to let my mind heal from years of damage.
Thank you to the Funky Diabetic for fighting a good fight. As a Louisiana native we deal with death a little differently or at least I do. I rejoice that Phife is no longer in pain and up there on my side.
Cheers 2 U Malik Taylor-I am proof that your living was not in vain.
Although I have endured many things in the last 20 years with autoimmunity, unbelievably to many of my physicians shock, I have not had to endure diabetes. So as I always say, even a prayer or a smile of encouragement can mean the world to a chronically ill person.
#RipPhifeDawg #TheFunkyDiabetic #ATribeCalledQuest #CanIKickIt #YesYouCan #Dueceswild #HealthyHope #Gano #Chaga #Iaso