Diabetes, a family thing!

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 21. I was trying to gain full independence in my life-- so when I faced diabetes for the first time, I wanted to handle it independently. My parents were supportive, but given that I never lived with them since my diagnosis, there knowledge of diabetes was somewhat limited.

I was shocked to receive a email from my dad quite recently with the subject “More like you…” telling me of his diagnosis with diabetes. At the age of 50, the assumption is that it’s type 2. He was put on Metformin, told to eat healthy, and check his blood sugar twice a day.

He rose to the occasion in fine form and has been learning incredibly quickly about how to take care of himself. And learning a bit more about the lifestyle that his daughter (me) took on five years ago.

But the worrier in me is still worried. His insulin production is apparently still normal, but I’m worried that he is a LADA who all doctors will assume is type 2. He is seeing a good endo (same as me)-- and she said that it is too early to know if he is type 1??? But that they will keep an eye out… For a LADA, shouldn’t the antibody tests reveal something immediately?

I have heard many parents who wished that they could take on their children’s diabetes. Looking at my dad, at the beginning of this long struggle, I wish that I could have taken on his…

Kristin, my dad, age 89, has had T2 for about 10 years and recently had to go on shots. It’s been a huge adjustment for him and he has been terribly depressed. My mother, a card-carrying member of the diabetes police, clueless division, tells him he’s not following his meal plan, etc etc. Then she turns around the next day and calls me for advice because he’s sitting for hours staring with his head in his hands. I do the best I can, but I don’t live near them; thank God they live in a retirement community with full medical facilities, and my brother who is a RN and PA lives nearby.
One of the interesting upshots of this whole situation has been my mother admitting to me that she had no idea how difficult it must have been for me in 1967 when I was dx’d at 13. I have always been angry that the person who told me I had diabetes was the receptionist at Children’s Hospital in Washington DC, and not my parents or my doctor. I am trying to get the courage to blog about that day, many details are as fresh in my mind as 41 years ago, but it’s too painful.
I enjoy seeing your picture when I sign on, with your smiling upturned face, and wanted to tell you that I think you are amazing - you offer a kind word to many of our neediest friends here at TU. It helps me a lot when I read your comments to others - I’m in a rough patch right now with the D, which seems like a monster trying hard to crush me, and taking satanic pleasure while he’s doing it. Thank God for you, and Manny, and all the others who really GET IT.

I bet your dad will end up a LADA - but if the endo is watching out for it, she should catch it in time. Yes the tests would probably show he was producing the antibodies - you might ask why he hasn’t been given them.

Your dad was just diagnosed - so was my 35 year old daughter - talk about feeling quilty (and I have 4 other children - hope she is the only one who gets it - she is the oldest)
My family has a long history of LADA type diabetes (long before it was recognized) - my great aunt got it at 30 (was one of the first people in Illinois to use insulin), my mom got it at age 40 (the first pills were just on the market so they tried those but she was soon on insulin). I got it at age 29 and my uncle (my mom’s brother - over 6 feet tall - very thin - walked 2-4 miles per day) got it at age 60 - he too ended up on insulin after a few years though he was of course diagnosed as a type 2. None of us were overweight when diagnosed (I gained weight on the pump - the joy of being able to eat more foods & still keep good control)