When I say that word, what do you picture?
Do you see the fat kid from fourth grade stuffing his face full of cake? Do you see an overweight woman struggling up and down steps or do you see an obese man with stomach hanging over his jeans?
When I hear the word, Diabetes, I see neither.
I see my mother.
My mother is not overweight. She was (contrary to what she will say as she has a habit of looking at her older pictures and pointing out the half-pound of fat some where I can’t see and rolling her eyes saying how ‘fat’ she used to be) a slim woman with long arm and leg bones. She was never too skinny either, my mother was always just right. She enjoyed her food, she enjoyed cooking the dishes her mother often made and was never ‘lazy’. In fact, I cannot remember a point in my life where my mother ever stopped doing something when I was a child–Dad and I used to call her The Lone Re-Arranger due to her perpetual fits of taking all the furniture in the living room and changing it about, by herself!
But Diabetes has changed all of this with a slow hand that I can only call cruel.
Diabetes has changed my mother. It is inevitable that it would, for it is a disease and in the case of Type 1 diabetes and most cases of Type 2, it cannot be cured. It can be controlled and reigned in with diet and exercise for some, for others, it runs rampant through the body causing havoc with every major organ: from kidneys, to eye sight to the heart. It takes a toll on the body after so many years.
My mother’s body is very tired of fighting this disease.
These past few months she has been in and out of the hospital, fighting. Her arteries have been weakened, her kidneys have shut down and her heart has suffered through a handful of major and minor heart attacks. For my mother, it is a never ending cycle now–they can treat her heart, but it bothers her kidneys, they can treat her kidneys but it bothers her heart–and mixed with all of this is the lurking Diabetes; the beginning of it all and the original cause of almost every major issue she’s had to date.
Despite all of this I am hopeful.
Despite the fact that my mother will now absolutely require kidney dialysis for the rest of her life to help her shutting down kidneys to flush out the toxins ours do everyday without fail–I believe that this is a disease we can find a cure for, a disease we can easily beat.
And while weight can be an issue with diabetes, it isn’t always so! Diabetes isn’t a “fat persons” disease. This isn’t a “fat kids” disease. It’s a Your Mother, Your Father, Your Son, Your Sister, Your Uncle, Your Aunt, Your Cousin, Your Friend, Your Grandmother and Your Grandfather disease. It’s a disease that is deceptive with its severity: it can start out as something so easily manageable we are often complacent to the damage this disease can do to a human being. It is no less of a disease than any other–it is still robbing us, slowly but surely, of those we love and adore.
This is my mother and Diabetes.
Please help my mother. Please help the thousands dealing with this disease. Please help us keep those we love. Consider donating to the American Diabetes Association, the Canadian Diabetes Association, or help in any way you can. A single dollar from you is one dollar closer to ending this disease–a single step closer for mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.
This is for my mother.