My Life and Diabetes

I’ve lived around diabetes for as long as I can remember, which is basically back to third grade.  My great grandmother and  grandmother on my maternal side and my mother have all either lived with or are currently living with diabetes.  Ironically with my great grandmother (Granny) and grandmother it wasn’t  complications of diabetes that took their lives. 

My great grandmother did not do much to help her diabetes.  I remember as a child going to her home and she always had candy. Peppermint stars were her favorite.  My grandma on the other hand, tried her hardest to keep her diabetes controlled with diet and exercise. Thankfully, she never did take insulin injections. Toward the end of her life she suffered a great set back-- a below the knee amputation on the left side.  This is where things went downhill for her, it was a struggle for me to watch; as I was now an adult with my own children.  She no longer watched her diet as closely and her exercise only consisted of the occasional physical therapy. 

Around the time by grandma had her amputation my mother was diagnosed, she was about 48 years old.  My mother did a great job managing her diabetes with diet and exercise.  To this day she still only takes Metformin.  At the time of their diagnoses, they were all morbidly obese.  Grandma and great grandma never did lose the weight; while mom on the other hand has steadily lost weight.  I look to her as my guide; based on genetics it’s almost a positive that I too will develop diabetes.  This isn’t to say mom didn’t slip up some when my grandma passed away but she too learned from grandma and Granny. 

Every so often I check in on my mom, by asking her what her most recent A1C was and what her blood sugars are running daily.  When we eat out I do give her a hard time occasionally when she gets something starchy, sugar or greasy.  She usually laughs it off and tells me what her current blood sugar numbers are. We try new sugar free dessert recipes together.  Something even my husband doesn’t mind.  For his birthday every year my grandmother would make him a vanilla cake with chocolate icing and it was completely sugar free and so tasty. 

I’ve done as much research as I can on proper eating with diabetes; I’m bracing myself for my diagnosis with it.  So far I haven’t been diagnosed with pre-diabetes but that doesn’t mean I don’t watch what I eat.  I’ve learned that enjoying food doesn’t end when you have diabetes, just that moderation is key.  My mom has been a great role model in this way.  She has shown courage and determination.  While yes she may have slip ups, she always rebounds.

Presented by: Vanessa Brooks

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