I want to stop diabetes. I want to end the devastating and completely preventable loss of life and limb imposed by diabetes. I want to stop the family tragedies of loss from a disease that is insidious, unrelentingly crushing and demeaning. I want to stop diabetes because it is a journey that most go it alone, struggling with complication on top of complication with no cure at hand.
Diabetes took the life of my mother who struggled with a long history of high blood glucose coupled with unabated high blood pressure. Her kidneys gave out along with her heart- within 24 hours, 2 years ago. She was 82.
Her generation did not challenge their doctor, trained to believe their doctor knew best. As she accompanied me to national diabetes conferences she learned there was more to know about diabetes. She knew her current relationship with her doctor did not facilitate open conversation. She would not share any changes or problems unless it was unbearable. She did not want to be a bad patient and she feared her doctor would withdraw all attention if she appeared challenging.
Even when her ankles swelled the week of her death she did not draw attention to them at her doctor’s visit, though I asked her to.
Was it diabetes that kept her quiet? No, but her socialization kept her from reporting the symptoms of lactic acidosis.
Was it her time to go? Likely not.
Did diabetes take her away from us? Yes.