Living With a Diabetic

My wife had a total colonectomy on March 1, 2010 having her large intestines and colon removed. Her doctor told us after the surgery that he had discovered she was diabetic.

She had no idea how much diabetes would change her life. She has found out how fast blood sugar numbers can change, either upward or downward.

At first she had more problem with low blood sugar numbers which made her very weak. Now the numbers are running higher into the 300’s and 400’s. She took Metformin at first along with insulin shots but found out it made her nauseous and that she was allergic to the Metformin. Then the doctor started her on a newer and much more expensive drug Onglyza. I was surprised she was taking only a 5MG dose, which doesn’t seem like enough to help.

She was taken off the insulin shots for a while, but later her blood sugar numbers escalated so much, insulin shots were prescribed again and she was giving herself insulin shots several times a day. She is still taking the Onglyza plus the insulin shots.

Originally she was classified as a Type II diabetic, but is now very close to being a Type I diabetic. I will never forget the first time she gave herself a shot. She was terrified and didn’t think she could do it, but was alright with it after the first shot. Not that it is something she looks forward to, but she knows it has to be done to live a somewhat normal life.

The most frustrating thing about diabetes is the way blood sugar numbers go up and down, depending on what foods are eaten, how much exercise is being done and how much stress a person is under at the time.

My wife has a long history of diabetes in her family but didn’t know till she was 43 that she was diagnosed with the disease.

I have a nephew that has had diabetes from an early age and have often thought of how someone so young can cope with the stress of having the disease for the rest of their life.

You would think after all these years, there would be an alternative to insulin shots, but as far as I know there are no oral medicines on the horizon that can lower blood sugar numbers faster than insulin shots.

People without diabetes can go to a restaurant and eat what they want, not even worrying about their food choices, but diabetics have to consider the consequences of eating foods that will raise their blood sugar numbers  precipitously

Diabetics can’t just jump in the car and drive somewhere, without first stopping to bring their diabetes meter,  medicine or some candy to alleviate the situation if their numbers should suddenly fall or rise.

In the last couple of years, one of my brothers was diagnosed with diabetes in his late 60’s. So none of us have any guarantee we will live our entire life without diabetes.

Diabetes is a life changing disease, that requires following the doctor’s orders closely. Diabetics have to be careful about walking around barefoot, as a nurse working with diabetics told us at a diabetes clinic I attended with my wife, that it is important to keep the feet from anything that may infect them and walking barefooted was extremely dangerous.

My wife likes to swim, but I worry about her feet becoming infected while in the swimming pool at the local health center.

So next time you hear a family member or friend has been diagnosed with diabetes, you will know their life will never be the same again.

Some well-known people like Mary Tyler Moore have diabetes. She showed you can live with diabetes and still be successful.

While watching the Indy 500 race recently, there was a driver named Charlie Kimball that has diabetes. They were watching his blood sugar numbers during the race. Since his numbers run on the high side and would get higher during the stress of the race, he had a plan of action if an insulin shot was needed.

When he had to make a pit stop the same pit crew member that changed one of the tires, would give him an insulin shot in the thigh with a diabetic pen and he would continue the race. The worst thing about the situation is that the  pit crew member had only given a shot to an orange before, so he would have been giving a shot in the middle of the race for the very first time.

Thankfully, he didn’t need a shot during the race, but every time he does race, he has to not only contend with the other cars in the race, but also has to contend with a terrible disease.

Diabetes is a terrible disease, but it can be controlled by medicine whether oral medicine or insulin shots. There may be a cure for diabetes someday, but until then, stop and think what the diabetic you know is going through, trying to live a normal life.


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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