Heredity gave me my genetics; its highs, its lows. My birth weight was the first signal that diabetes might await. How I deal with it in my adult life may perhaps save me from my mother's fate.
My own mother disregarded her diagnosis and medical advice. Eventually she lost a leg to gangrene. Hubby and I took her into our home and cared for her. We would do it again. The lesson of her neglecting herself has not been lost to me.
Let me begin with my beginning - ten pound baby girl born October 24, 1942. Family tree loaded with diabetes, both Type I and II. Paternal grandfather, father and his two sibling sisters all diagnosed with Type II. One
male cousin dies in the 1940's Type I complications as a child. Maternal grandfather, mother, uncle, and half-uncle all diagnosed with Type II. Odds are likely one day I too will be diagnosed with the disease.
Monitoring and periodic blood testing begins in teen years. At 24, the birth of my daughter, another ten pound baby, has doctors recommend blood testing twice yearly. They education me on symptoms: frequent
urination, unusual thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, extreme fatigue and irritability, frequent infections, blurred vision, cuts/bruises that are slow to heal, tingling/numbness in the hands/feet, and recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections. They also admonish me to watch my weight.
The pounds go on one at a time over the years. The 135 pound young woman of 1965 morphs into a 250 pound middle aged woman. Scheduled for surgery, she goes for routine tests and a checkup. Her family physician immediately cancels surgery, a hysterectomy, because sugar is excessively high and councils her on diabetic testing, care, medication, and diet.
That was ten years ago. Step by step I start making changes to my life. I monitor my eating habits and try to lose weight. Each attempt ultimately meets with failure. Pounds off return as pounds on plus. One medication becomes two then three.
One day about two years ago, I decide I have to take control of my own life. But, how? First step, I join a diet group to start the ball rolling and lose twenty-five pounds. Still I am obese. Simultaneously I research bariatric surgery and have a consultation with a specialist.
In time I come to decide that the LapBand is right for me. I have my surgery May, 2009. I learn to adapt my eating habits. No longer am I ravenously hungry. My doctor cuts the dosage of my meds. I now take
only one not three diabetic medications and nothing for high blood pressure. My sleep apnea is gone. My blood tests usually record 100ish, almost normal. The lady who wore fat lady size 24 XX clothes is down to size 14 LARGE and weighs 174 with a BMI of 28. Officially she is within the recommended 25-30 range and officially no longer obese.
I want to shed a few more pounds. I know that Lap-Band surgery can be reversed. I also know that most people who lose weight gain it back so I plan to leave mine in and have my doctor decide my health options as he
monitors it regularly. I look and feel different - better I think. My smaller bulk makes it much easier on my body now. I am healthier and feel better.
I have stressed to my children about the strong history of diabetes on my side of the family. I wish I could tell them about their paternal side but it is unavailable to us.