As blindsided as I felt when I found out I had diabetes, it’s not particularly surprising. In addition to my years of poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle, the disease also runs in my family. It killed my father.
My dad, Tony, was diagnosed when I was a child. For the majority of his life living with the disease, he did not take care of himself properly: didn’t change his diet, didn’t quit smoking, didn’t monitor his glucose levels, sometimes didn’t even take his (extremely necessary in his case, since he wasn’t doing any lifestyle modification) insulin injections. I became all too good at recognizing the signs of diabetic shock (both low and high blood sugar). After one very scary emergency while he was driving with my brother and I on a busy road, I resigned myself that eventually, my dad would let this disease kill him. He passed away in June 2013 at age 55, from diabetes-related complications including kidney failure. His last two years were hardly quality, spending most of the time in and out of hospitals and hospice, from dialysis to daily drips. It was pretty horrible to witness, and I’m glad he is no longer limited by his failed body.
My mom, Donna, also has diabetes, though is currently more occupied with fighting off cancer (she is stronger and more inspirational than I could ever be).
So, considering my family history, I wasn’t surprised. But I am determined that it stops with me, Diabetes will truly be history, in my life and in my future.