Sixteen years ago, diabetes was just a word to me.

By:  Denise Thalman

The Effects of Diabetes on a Non-DiabeticThe Effects of Diabetes on a Non-Diabetic. I didn’t know anyone who had it, I didn’t know anything about it.  Now, one in five people that I know has it.  It is all around me.  Although, I don’t personally suffer from it, I suffer from its effects.  My Mother and Father in laws both have diabetes and it has taken their sight.  Losing the ability to drive, has been a terrible loss of freedom to them and me.  Let me explain.  I am the only child that is not gainfully employed, and live nearby, therefore, I have the opportunity to serve as chauffeur, as scribe, as accountant…  I do these things out of love, but it is not always easy nor convenient.

My Father in law has had diabetes for about 40 yrs.  He suffers as a brittle diabetic.  I still do not truly understand this disease, as it is so confusing to me.  I don’t think that he takes care of himself properly, and that may be why it confuses me so.  He has so many health issues.  We go to the Veterans hospital almost weekly, for everything from his eyes, feet, heart, and un-healing sores.  I get to spend a lot of quality time there.

My mother in law suffered a stroke about seven years ago.  This was a direct consequence of ignoring the counsel of her doctor to control her diabetes with medications and diet.    Diabetes is fairly silent for about ten years and is easy to ignore, and that is exactly what she did.  Unfortunately, she suffered a severe stroke and it took her sight.  After several eye surgeries, and thousands of dollars, she is still blind.  The stroke could have been so much worse, she could have been completely incapacitated.

Diabetes, unchecked, can be catastrophic, even deadly.  Letting it get out of control will not only have an effect on you, but on those around you.  It effects what, when, how and why you eat and feel.  It is not convenient or cheap.    The best way to handle diabetes is to not get it in the first place.  If you love those around you, and/or yourself, be aware of the symptoms and don’t get it in the first place.  Predisposed or not, be mindful of the warning signs, so you can manage it with diet, exercise and medications, and take care of yourself. Health is one of the  greatest gifts given to us.  We must do all we can to honor this gift and take care of our bodies the best we can.  If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for those you love, so you don’t become a burden on them.