Sunday, September 28, 2008

There's Nothing Diabetesalicious About Another Family Member Getting Diagnosed

"It's not true that life is one damn thing after another; it is one damn thing over and over."
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 - 1950)
I’m really angry at Diabetes right now. Not my diabetes, just diabetes in general.

I’ve accepted mine, I have issues and it’s annoying at times, but I find the humor and live my life. I barely remember my life sans diabetes. It is what it is, and it’s a part of me.
But my mother, that’s another story entirely. Is it not enough that 4 members of my immediate family are or were type 1’s, plus 2 Aunts, a nephew a cousin, and a great grandmother. Now type 2 decides that perhaps my mom hasn’t dealt with enough diabetes in her life, and has decided that she should be forced to join the club.

My tiny little 119 lb 4’11 mother who is one the strongest women I know, has recently been diagnosed with t2. I’M PISSED. She was diagnosed a few weeks ago and has just gotten around to sharing this information with my sister. She hasn’t told me yet because she knows that this past month, and this upcoming week are crazy for me regarding work and life. Knowing her, she wants to wait until things are calmer before she'll causally mention it in passing and crack a joke. This is the same woman who 12-hours into visiting my brother in California, broke her hip in his living room. She dragged herself out of the living room, through dining room and kitchen, where she propped herself up against the stove and took a breath. Then she pulled herself up to the oven range and managed to turn off the tea kettle. She sat with her back against the stove & patiently sat on the floor and waited for my brother to get back from his run. When he walked in the door, she comely but firmly told him to call the 911 because she was pretty certain she'd broken her hip. Two days later she was the Queen of the physical therapy room.
I knew this diagnoses would happen, I knew this for a very long time and I’d even said it out loud.
I’ve accompanied my mom to many Dr’s appoints over the years. When her GP told her she was “pre diabetic” and had neuropathy in her feet a couple of years ago, I knew it then, that very moment, even if the Doctor didn’t.

My mom’s this strong woman, little in size but strong in spirit who’s had her share of health problems over the years. Pace Maker/ Defibulator; broken hip, Cardio Version, and most recently, a torn meniscus that she can’t get operated on due to her hearts “unique” rhythm. She’s bounced back from almost of her issues, and her social life is busier than mine. Her knee hurts every day, but she just ices it, takes tylenol and goes about her day.
Her fasting b.s is about 35 points higher than it should be; the Dr. wants to start her on Glucofauge. So now, it’s official, she’s a diabetic.

God, ENOUGH ALREADY DIABETES. LEAVE MY FAMILY ALONE. I don’t care that you and I work as a team, but can't you just leave them out of it!

Marge, (mom) is making the best of it because my mother always sees the glass half full.
No matter what obstacles come her way, she’s always been able to pick herself up by her bootstraps and continued on her course. It’s one of the things that I’ve always admired about her. My sister said she refused to order dessert at dinner last night. She didn’t take a handful of lifesavers, let alone one when they left the restaurant either. Normally, my mother grabs a handful. She has a bit of a sweet tooth.

Her love of chocolate is legendary, and she’s cutting it all out - COLD TURKEY.
This is the same woman who 25 years ago not only decided to quit smoking cold turkey, but also decided that she was going to loose 30 lbs at the same time. Why? Because she wanted to be healthy and fit for her daughter's wedding 3 months down the road. She did it, and people could not believe that she could lose weight and quit the cancer sticks at the simultaneously.

Me, I will see the glass half full because I am my mothers daughter. I will be positive and proactive in her healthcare, and will crack jokes about diabetes and nutrasweet every chance I get – LATER. Today, I have tears in my eyes when I think about it. She’s my mom, my light, the one who believes in me and amazingly thinks that I can do anything. The one who loves me unconditionally no matter what. I want to protect her.

I want her to be here on this earth for as long as possible because I’m selfish. I don’t think I could handle being an orphan in my late 30’s. I’m just not ready for that.

To quote a family saying regarding diabetes, “IT’S IN THE GENES.” And as of today, there’s nothing I can do to change that.


Minnesota Nice said...

There are over 30 T1's in my extended family. My paternal g'ma had 8 brothers and sisters, and the generation of the grandhildren of these siblings has the D, myself included.
It is so very different to read about the complications of db vs seeing it right in front of your face - lives unraveling a thread at a time.
I could always tell by the tone of my mother's voice when something bad had happened to one "of us".
I seem to have adopted the attitude that I can deal with my own db just fine - what comes in the future, comes. But it is so flippin' hard to see it in other people - people that you are bonded to by blood. I hate it. I really really hate it.

meanderings said...

Well, that stinks.
I am truly sorry about your mom's diagnosis.
You obviously inherited some of her strengths.
Let her know she's in our prayers.

Gail said...

So sorry to hear!! I cannot imagine how you must feel, I am the ONLY one in all the relatives I have.

Lea said...

Kelly, your mom sounds like an awesome lady! I'm sorry to hear of the diagnosis. Your love and support will get her through it all.

Scott S said...

This is an instance of too much of a bad thing for a single family, and you SHOULD be pi$$ed about it, and it is entirely appropriate to let the world know it, too! However, the reality is that your Mom is probably far better prepared to deal with it than a majority of patients are. After all, she raised a number of kids with diabetes and knows intimately what's involved in managing it from memory!

Author Deb Butterfield once wrote something which I think is particularly relevant:

By showing the world only the happy face, and not the tragic disease beneath, we are endorsing the prevailing philosophy of tolerating, rather than curing, diabetes. For policy makers, philanthropists, employers, and the public to feel compelled to cure diabetes they need to understand that diabetes is: costly for society and that those costs are rising, pervasive and the incidence is accelerating, soul-destroying and there is still no cure, and, above all, that diabetes is curable! In order for this disease to be cured, there needs to be a fundamental shift in the way diabetes is viewed. We need to close the gap between the perception of diabetes as a controllable condition and the reality that it is one of the world's oldest, deadliest, and most pervasive diseases.

k2 said...

Minnesota Nice -
WOW - 30 members of your extended family with the big D, INSANE.
I know the "tone" your talking about. Every parent of child with diabetes has that tone. I just am angry that she had to deal with it know herself. I feel she deals with it enough in her life s it is.
Thanks for the kind words!

Colleen -
She's much stronger than I am, but she'd taught me well and I will do the best I can.

Gail -
YEP. "It's in the genes!" Much like our humor, our hazelish eyes, our carnal love of chocolate, and our love of the ocean.

She is TOTALLY AWESOME! And is obviously dealing with it much better than I am. She will be fine.
I on t he other hand, need to get more of a grip!

Scott -
Your absolutely right, she's prepared and doing what she needs to. Lucky for her , her weight is under control, she could actually stand to gain 5 lbs, but she won't.

Thank you for forwarding Deb Butterfield's quote, I couldn't agree more!

Anonymous said...

I'm a type 1 and my dad was recently diagnosed as type 2. I had a lot of the same feelings your described. I knew that I could handle my diabetes, but why my dad???

Thanks for the post!

Lora said...

That just sucks. If you need to shout and scream and get it all out even a little more, feel free. That's what we're here for. Take care and breathe.

k2 said...

Kristin -
I hear ya! When we are little, our parents protect us. When we are fully grown, we want to protect them.

Lora -
Breathe,what's that?
dBlogville is a wonderful place to practice primal scream therapy!!

Cara said...

Oh, Kelly, I'm so sorry. I diabetes effects any diabetic's family in every way, but it's so much worse to see it happen when you KNOW the effect it's going to have on your family member.
I understand your anger. I would be angry also.
My thoughts are with you and your mom. With a daughter like you, I have no doubt she will tackle diabetes with a force and take charge.

k2 said...

Thanks for the kid thoughts!
My mom is tackling D head on, I think I'm the one who is having 'iss-ues."

k2 said...

Cara -
I meant to say "kind" thoughts...thanks for the kind thoughts!

Scott K. Johnson said...

K2 - that sucks. I'm sorry to hear it and want you to know I'm thinking of you and your family.

k2 said...

Thanks so much Scotty J!
Actually, mom is doing great - I'm the one who needs to chill out.